It was a great day for Red Bull Racing after both of their drivers finished in the top five of the action-packed Chinese Grand Prix, with Daniel Ricciardo even surprising betting websites as he took the Shanghai title.
Red Bull, indeed, had a weekend to remember especially after a poor showing in Bahrain where Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen retired early to the disappointment of sports betting fans.
Pre-race betting odds had the usual suspects, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, as the clear favourites to win. However, Red Bull and Ricciardo displayed a great tactical masterstroke in the final 25 laps to clinch the title.
Valtteri Bottas was pulling away from the chasing pack midway through the race until a safety car period—introduced on Lap 31 to clear debris from the collision between Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Brendon Harley—gave Red Bull the opening.
The team took a gamble and instructed Ricciardo and Verstappen to dive into the pits to switch to fresh soft rubber tyres, which eventually gave their drivers the decisive pace advantage.
A hot-headed Verstappen went ahead of Ricciardo but blew his chance of victory after colliding with Vettel in an attempt to overtake Hamilton.
Ricciardo, in contrast, kept his composure and surpassed Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel before taking on Bottas for a sensational win.
Bottas eventually finished second while Raikkonen ended up third. Furthermore, Hamilton moved up to fourth after Max Verstappen was given a 10-second penalty for his move that led to his collision with Vettel.
Speaking of which, the German Ferrari ace fell to seventh after the accident and ended up eighth as McLaren’s Fernando Alonso took the position in the final two laps of the race.
The race result blew the championship wide open. Ricciardo moved up to fourth, seven points behind second-placed Hamilton and three below Bottas. Vettel, on the other hand, remained at the top, but his lead over Hamilton is down to just nine points.
On the constructor standings, the Silver Arrows (85 points) moved ahead of the Prancing Horse (84), while Red Bull (55) are a far-off 30 points behind of the leaders.
Next up is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where Ferrari will look to take advantage of the long straights to re-establish their lead.
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