Race Report: Ricciardo wins in China

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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

Mercedes entered Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday a bit befuddled with their ability to get the heat cycle correct in their tires and the ability of the Ferrari’s to run well in both warm and cool temperatures. Lewis Hamilton found it odd that the Ferrari’s seemed able to have the pace they do on three very different circuits and temperatures.

Sebastian Vettel, on pole, and Kimi Raikkonen held the front row ahead of the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo on row three and ready to pounce on any Ferrari or Mercedes who managed a poor start or difficult race.

If strategy played a role in Sebastian Vettel’s win in Australia, it didn’t return the favor to Mercedes in Bahrain but it showed up in spades for them in China. What looked to be a cruise to a win, Ferrari got caught out by a quick-thinking Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas took the lead with an undercut.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

Valtteri was leading the race on lap 21 after undercutting Vettel’s Ferrari and this left the red team using Kimi Raikkonen, who was leading having not pit yet, as a blocker to back Bottas up into Vettel’s clutches.

Kimi was squeezed by his teammate at the start, lost a few spaces and was running out of sequence in the lead. He managed to bring his race back towards the front after fate continued to deliver strategy surprises but this time, for Red Bull.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

Ferrari looked set to win, then Mercedes seemed to pull a strategy move to deny Ferrari the honors but in the end it was Red Bull who had their Australian-style Safety Car strategy play completely into their hands just as Ferrari had down under.

Stacking their cars twice for pit stops for soft tires during the Safety Car, Daniel Ricciardo pulled off a series terrific passes to pass all the front runners for the lead and the win.

Win

A huge win for Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo. After suffering a turbo failure just ahead of qualifying, Ricciardo nearly didn’t make qualifying but incredibly hard work from the team, two double-stacked stops and a win was a payoff to not only Ricciardo but the entire team.

A win, once again, for Nico Hulkenberg who finished 6th instead of his customary 7th place and had the race been slightly more pedestrian, Nico may have been my driver of the race given the amount of passing he did for the entire race. A terrific race for the German.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso gets a “Win” for dragging McLaren into 7th place. A win for Kevin Magnussen in his Haas F1 car and once he got around his alternate strategy teammate, Romain Grosjean, he set about finishing in 10th and in the points.

Not sure if it is a win but Carlos Sainz getting into the points in 9th is a move in the right direction for the Spaniard. It is a win for Marcus Ericsson who beat his much-hailed teammate, Charles Leclerc again as the Frenchman spun and struggled for most of the race.

Fail

A fail for Ferrari who left Vettel out to long allowing Bottas and Mercedes to undercut their leader. On their backfoot, Ferrari then set about using Kimi as a blocker and that’s on top of Sebastian squeezing him at the start causing him to lose places early. The chaotic nature of the race actually saw Raikkonen recover to the podium.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

A fail for Mercedes and Ferrari for not diving quickly into the pits during the Safety Car choosing track position over fresh tires. It’s easy to see the failure in the call but Ferrari were going to mirror Bottas and as Mercedes didn’t pit, Vettel didn’t either. In hindsight, the fresh Soft tires were just too much and retaining track position over fresh tires wasn’t the right call.

A fail Romain Grosjean who finished 17th and out of the points while looking dramatically slower than his teammate.

WTH

A WTH for Max Verstappen who took out the championship leader in a diving attempt to pass him instead of letting his grippier tires bring the race to him. Ricciardo showed that Red Bull’s strategy would only work with a few key passes so Max had to make a run at it but that wasn’t the place or time for the attempt. For his part, he got a 10s penalty that will drop him from 4th to 5th.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

A WTH for Pierre Gasly who clouted his teammate, Brendon Hartley, and then complained about it on the radio sounding a bit of a jerk about it.

Finally a WTH for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. I am not sure what issues Lewis was having but he looked uncomfortable in the car all weekend and couldn’t mount an attack on anyone. Lewis said they are just underperforming right now but Bottas, by contrast, seemed to suggest that the Mercedes had more pace and ability to fight for the win than what Lewis could coax from his car.

Results:

 

PosDriverCarLapsGap
1Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault561h35m36.380s
2Valtteri BottasMercedes568.894s
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari569.637s
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes5616.985s
5Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault5620.436s
6Nico HulkenbergRenault5621.052s
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Renault5630.639s
8Sebastian VettelFerrari5635.286s
9Carlos SainzRenault5635.763s
10Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari5639.594s
11Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes5644.050s
12Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes5644.725s
13Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Renault5649.373s
14Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes5655.490s
15Sergey SirotkinWilliams/Mercedes5658.241s
16Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari561m02.604s
17Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari561m05.296s
18Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Honda561m06.330s
19Charles LeclercSauber/Ferrari561m22.575s
20Brendon HartleyToro Rosso/Honda51Gearbox

Driver’s Championship

PosDriverPoints
1Sebastian Vettel54
2Lewis Hamilton45
3Valtteri Bottas40
4Daniel Ricciardo37
5Kimi Raikkonen30
6Fernando Alonso22
7Nico Hulkenberg22
8Max Verstappen18
9Pierre Gasly12
10Kevin Magnussen11
11Stoffel Vandoorne6
12Carlos Sainz3
13Marcus Ericsson2
14Esteban Ocon1
15Sergio Perez0
16Charles Leclerc0
17Romain Grosjean0
18Lance Stroll0
19Sergey Sirotkin0
20Brendon Hartley0

Constructor’s Championship

PosConstructorPoints
1Mercedes85
2Ferrari84
3Red Bull/Renault55
4McLaren/Renault28
5Renault25
6Toro Rosso/Honda12
7Haas/Ferrari11
8Sauber/Ferrari2
9Force India/Mercedes1
10Williams/Mercedes0
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dude

You conveniently forgot that Lewis was driving with worn tires and he lost out again due to the safety car. He was one of the first to pit. Mercedes didn’t get their strategy right. Merc and Ferrari didn’t pay attention to Red Bull so they didn’t cover themselves. In contrast it was a good call by Red Bull.

jakobusvdl

Did he also conveniently forget that Bottas and Raikonnen were in the same boat?

Martin Hills / singletracksafari

Vettel and Bottas were already passing the pit entrance as the SC came out, but it was Merc who lost the race as they had time to pull Lewis in and didn’t. In the post race analysis you can clearly see SC lights on trackside as he comes towards the final corner. Really, the race was lost by Ferrari first (nutty strategy – Vettel built a gap to avoid the undercut easily, but they kept him out; go figure), then it was lost again by Merc as described, then it was lost again by Max driving like an idiot and… Read more »

sunny stivala

Ricciardo’s “clinched” victory in China can only be described as “brilliant”.
And three out of three for his team mate.

jakobusvdl

I’m assuming that race didn’t get 5 stars because you’re keeping half a star back for a race like that where Ferrari finish 1 -2 and clinch the WCC and WDC, otherwise that surely was a 5 star race. The race review podcast is going to set a new record for duration, there was so much incident, and ‘pass of the race’ will have to be replaced with ‘top 5 passes of the race’. I’m thinking of watching the race again to enjoy Ricciardo’s brilliant race and win, and to take in all the things I missed down the field… Read more »

sunny stivala

I was asking myself while watching Gasley punting his team mate “What the hell is Gsley trying to do there?”. FERRARI lost out on strategy this time. mercedes not on strategy. 5 was asked what annoyed him most, if it was team stretegy or 33 attack, he said it was strategy mistake that annoyed him the most. They left him out 2-3 laps too much. and when the safety car was called and they seen both 5 and 77 was past the pit entry they didnt call 7 in for softs of which he had left. that’s contrary to mercedes… Read more »

arrow044

So put on Mediums if 44 doesn’t have Softs.

MIE

So we have to wait for the Scottish Grand Prix, and a parade of the National Animal then?

jakobusvdl

I can see it now, F1 at Knockhill, Unicorn’s, pipebands, Jackie Stewart doing the podium interviews with Irn Bru ‘shoey’s’. 5 stars – nae borra!

MIE

Go for an old school road course, the North Coast 500.

Bottles of Bucky on the podium.

sunny stivala

JYS will only except an invitation to attend if he is helicoptered down right on the presentation platform.

jakobusvdl

So dancing lions wasn’t quite good enough ;-)

subcritical71

Another good race.

I simply can’t believe Mercedes and Ferrari were both caught napping at the safety car. Although Toto seemed to elude that only in hindsight would they have changed the strategy I don’t now how they came to that conclusion. I was in utter dismay that both Ferrari and Mercedes decided to stay out. The field isn’t strung out as much as it used to be!

Anyway, it was great to see Red Bull win with Daniel.

sunny stivala

SUB. At the safety car only 44 and 7 could have been called in but 44 had no softs left, as to 77 as well as 5, when the safety car was out they were just past the pit entry.

subcritical71

I would think the harder the tire the better on the Mercedes, but I’m not sure that would have been the case for the Ferrari. 44 gained 2 seconds a lap after the first pit stop. 7 gained the 2 seconds only after the SC, probably due to strategy considerations.

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sunny stivala

No doubt that in China the harder the tyre the better for Mercedes.

arrow044

Sunny Stivala just got exposed :). Come on Sunny! Why the fake news.

sunny stivala

who wants to go racing on used tyres?.

subcritical71

Depends on if they are newer than what you already have on.

sunny stivala

they are always newer than what is being raced when their need will be called. but as I said, who wants to race on used tyres unless his chose of tyres forced that on himself.

MIE

What were those complaints again after Australia, about how F1 is boring and there is no overtaking.

I do like the competitiveness this season and hope it continues for the rest of the year.

Verstappen must be grateful that Gasly also had a poor race, or he could be looking at demotion…

MIE

He is driving like he is under pressure, yet he is the one with the contract.
Ricciardo on the other hand is backing up his claim made last week, that in Bottas’ position in Bahrain, he would have gone for the win. At this rate he could end up with his choice of seat for next year. That will however be a difficult choice given the teams’ performance so far this season.

sunny stivala

Maybe that was why the SKY brit boy club leader went all out to destroy Bottas.

MIE

I don’t know, I don’t get Sky.

I don’t see how Ricciardo replacing Bottas would help the only Britton on the grid?

sunny stivala

Not getting SKY you saving money.
Niether me can see Ricciardo replacing Bottas helping the only brit boy on the grid any better then Bottas.

MIE

So what was your comment about? It makes no sense.

sunny stivala

it was about the SKY brit boy club leader going all out to destroy Bottas because he didn’t manage to overtake number 5. go trace and read what he said it might then make some sense.

Martin Hills

What the heck are you on about dude? “Sky Brit Boy club leader”? You clearly don’t know much about either Lewis’ public perception here in the UK (he isn’t well liked at all) OR his relationship with Sky (he pretty much won’t talk to them).

Sky is a worldwide broadcaster, and I’ve only just recently gone across to their package ahead of Channel 4 losing rights next year. Frankly I’ve been staggered by how little uk-focus the content has….

MIE

It would be possible if you refered to people by their names instead of childish insults. Who do you mean from the Sky team: Croft; Kravitz;Hill; Herbert; Davidson ; Brundle; de Resta, or someone else?

sunny stivala

it was number six in your list that went all out to destroy BOTTAS for his missed overtake on number five. but how you qualify a quoted fact as childish and an insult when you don’t follow British SKY?. As to the one above you Who seems to have given you the push to come back to me, I will refrain from answer him being so new to SKY.

MIE

Where have you quoted “sky brit boy club leader” from. That is the childish insult I was refering to.

sunny stivala

Why do you classify a factit as a childish insult, isn’t number six on your list British F1 SKY leader, and isn’t British F1 SKY the number one brit boy fan club?. but then on the other hand you wouldn’t know not having or following SKY.

MIE

Why not call Martin Brundle by his name, that is unambiguos, instead of making up school playground style insults that make you sound child like.

I also note that you cannot bring yourself to type Lewis Hamilton, or Red Bull, but also insist on giving them nicknames which are hardly complimentary.

Your points could be made much clearer if you used peoples and teams given names, then those reading wouldn’t have to guess what you are trying to say.

jakobusvdl

I think Verstappen set out to blow Ricciardo away this season, to establish his No1 status, and he’s just trying too hard.
Epic Fail Max!

sunny stivala

Who cares whom he set out to blow, For the sake of us old geezers he must keep his MAXTHREESIXTY antics up as it is most entertaining, three out of three was not bad at all.

Fred

I don’t want to wish anything bad on anyone, but as long as MB struggles, the racing is better.

Andreas

“A fail for Mercedes and Ferrari for not diving quickly into the pits during the Safety Car choosing track position over fresh tires. It’s easy to see the failure in the call but Ferrari were going to mirror Bottas and as Mercedes didn’t pit, Vettel didn’t either.” I had to go back and take a look at it, and as has already been pointed out, the only cars Ferrari and Merc could potentially have brought in at that time was Kimi and Lewis. Had the call come 5 seconds earlier, Bottas and Vettel might at least have had a chance… Read more »

sunny stivala

Agree that had the safety car call come 5-10 seconds earlier am sure both 5 and 77 would have been pulled in.

arrow044

It wasn’t a matter of hindsight. If I can see it with my own two eyes from just a live TV feed, there is no excuse for Merc to miss that safety car pit opportunity. I agree VET and BOT missed it because they were already passed pit entrance when the Safety Car was called. No excuse for not pitting Hamilton. As for Kimi well, he was getting screwed from the beginning. He’s been a lap dog for how long now? He could speak up or just keep taking it. We all know the Ferrari brain trust on only focused… Read more »

arrow044

What a race! Only 9 pts to Vettel. Slowly chipping away at. Races like these reveal so much about the F1 fanbase. Impossible to miss the hypocracy. Ferrari didn’t win so there is a slight meloncoly feeling in the air. Not the euphoria when Ferrari was taking victories. Can’t help but notice the double standards on Max. Last week his aggression was OK because he was banging wheels with HAM, so who cares. This weekend it’s VET and the pitchforks are out lol! I also love how people like to socialize Hamilton’s good days and privatize the bad ones. What… Read more »

MIE

The driver is the one who decides whether to pit or not (he is the one holding the steering wheel). Admittedly it would be better to do it in agreement with the team, but he needs to take an equal share of the responsibility. I think both Hamilton and the team are still suffering from a poor safety car pit call at Monaco a few years ago, which cost him the win. The team have favoured track position since. If Hamilton had stopped, and both Red Bull’s continued, there would be the same outrage from the same quarters complaining that… Read more »

sunny stivala

“The driver is the one who decides whether to pit or not”.
It is impossible for a driver to re-calculate everything in his “small” racing mind to work-out the best strategy from his driving seat. tough decisions regarding race-running team cars are made at the pit wall.

MIE

Vettel stated after the race that when he saw the safety car light he wanted to pit, but he had just passed the pit in cone, and couldn’t make the pit without spinning.

Apparently some drivers have greater thought capacity than you give them credit for.

arrow044

No you’re right, HAM just isn’t that cerebral. I just don’t know how he’s managed to win so many races and championships with such low mental capacity. I just can’t wrap my head around it. How could a guy so thick be so successful? Must surely be that party mode. I mean how else does he come out ahead of superior intellects like Vettel, Alonso, Button, Rosberg, Massa, and Kimi?

sunny stivala

by having the best car

MIE

I never said Hamilton had a low mental capacity, or that he was thick. Those are your words. I did say that I thought that both he and the team were reluctant to come in for tyres following a safety car pitstop some years ago in Monaco which resulted in him losing the lead. It also appears that Hamilton and Bottas have sufficiently different driving styles that a car that suits one, does not suit the other. As at the start of last season, the current Mercedes would seem to suit Bottas more than Hamilton. With Hamilton being on balance… Read more »

sunny stivala

I have no doubt that 5 would have dived in, I am sure that a safety car call was part of their strategy, that was part of why his team and himself spend 2-3 laps to much out before his pit stop.

arrow044

Like I’ve said, when it comes to Hamilton, socialize the wins and privatize the poor performances. Believe it or not, you sitting in front of your TV have a better global picture of a race than a driver in the cockpit. You’re able to see the Torro Rosso collision, carbon shards all of over the track and connect the dots. Drivers can’t see that. Pretty sure the Red Bulls were called in. Max and RIC didn’t just show up in the pits unannounced. Musical chairs usually ensues when that happens. Its comical and tragic at the same time as mechanics… Read more »

MIE

Believe it or not, some of those commenting have raced, and understand the distorted view of events from the driving seat.

arrow044

I give up. My brain trust just instructed me to “box box box.”

sunny stivala

Number 44 had no softs left to change too. FERRARI also missed the opportunity to pit number 7. but their team mates were just past the pit entry when safety car was called.

arrow044

Did he have Mediums left?

Andreas

All in all, a great race! I agree with the 4.5 star rating (effectively a 5, but with some room left for something even better). Seeing Ricciardo go from being 30 seconds away from not qualifying to the top step of the podium is a Cinderella story in itself. It could be argued that the timing of the safety car is what set him up for the win, but you have to be there to benefit. And he had to not only catch up to the leaders, but also get past them. That pass on Bottas is easily one of… Read more »

sunny stivala

couldn’t have put it or explained it better.

Fabio

And it wasn’t just a case of passing the mid field. He clinically passed Kimi, Lewis, Seb and Vallteri. He probably would have passed Max if he needed to.

Andrea

Congrats to the smiling assassin! Nice to see him back up on the podium. I went to bed as soon as the race finished so I didn’t see the podium ceremony, I just hope he has put the shoe bit to rest, yuck!

sunny stivala

OK, lets round this page hits to even number. The FERRARI latest qualifying “party mode” got some section of the media minds worried indeed, a third paddle on the back of the number five steering wheel was promptly spotted even so number five himself made efforts to hide it when removing his steering wheel after qualifying. On one of the very first race reports by a very respected F1 commenter involved in the speculation/hypotheses for pole position race between friend his mind was triggered into overdrive which produced this latest theory:- “ engine gasses flows to the underside of the… Read more »

subcritical71

Some turbo system have a bypass valve (also called a dump valve or blow-off valve) which could be activated to reduce the pressure buildup on the compressed air side. This pop-off is the noise you normally hear when you go from an aggressive throttle position to a closed throttle position when there is too much air for the engine needs. I don’t see anything in the rules preventing that on an F1 car.

sunny stivala

All modern and not so modern turbochargers have a BOV or BPV. the older once BOV and the modern once a BPV. it was possible on road cars with the older turbochargers fitted with a BOV to hear the blowing-off and venting air to atmosphere. but not possible to hear with modern turbochargers fitted with BPV valve which recirculates blown off air back to engine air intake. the formula one turbocharger have a BOV as well as two waste-gates. the FIA rules does not permit exhaust blowing of wings or diffuser to drive aerodynamic performance. and the rules specifying the… Read more »

subcritical71

How did you change from ” Also not explained was, how does the engine cylinders handle the extra forced pressure and volume involved by an electrically spinning turbo when off-throttle?” to whatever you said in your last paragraph… cats, kittens?!.

sunny stivala

sub. I changed nothing “from” and “to”, I was telling the latest speculation this commentator pushed out and the questions I asked him. talking to you I was telling you that these speculators in a speculation race between themselves are acting like a cat in a hurry that produce blind kittens, eg= doing more harm to the sports then good by their frenzied race to speculate, more so being in a position to influence the minds of the sports fans that follows them. he was speculating about how FERRARI number 5 is exhaust blowing the rear wing, something which is… Read more »

subcritical71

Holy shit dude… wow!