Daniel Ricciardo won the Chinese GP after a spectacular charge in an epic race packed with controversy and overtakes galore.
Ricciardo surged from sixth to first in the space of 10 laps after Red Bull opportunistically pitted for fresh tyres behind a Safety Car.
Sebastian Vettel was relegated to just eighth after a collision with Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver was hit with a 10-second time penalty by the race stewards, promoting Lewis Hamilton to fourth and within nine points of championship leader Vettel.
Ricciardo sealed victory with an inches-to-spare pass on Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages.
The Finn then had to hold off compatriot Kimi Raikkonen for second place while Vettel ran off track as he was out-muscled by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
A race which had been slow-burning into a fascinating battle between Vettel and Bottas for victory was transformed into a barnstorming classic after a collision between the two Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley triggered a Safety Car.
At that stage, Bottas held a narrow lead over Vettel after undercutting the pole-sitting Ferrari at the first round of pit-stops.
But quick thinking by the Red Bull team suddenly upgraded their drivers into victory contenders as Verstappen and Ricciardo used the Safety Car window to take an opportunistic stop for fresh rubber while the Ferraris and Mercedes stayed out.
Verstappen had already been off track during an attempted move on Hamilton, successfully completed five laps later, before he tangled with Vettel as he fought for third.
Ricciardo had already surged past Hamilton and Vettel into second while Raikkonen, a distant sixth at the halfway stage after being kept on a prolonged first stop by Ferrari seemingly in an attempted bid to slow down Bottas, rounded Hamilton as the world champion took avoiding action of the spinning Red Bull and Ferrari.
Ricciardo’s winning move was typically daring, the Red Bull driver outbraking Bottas to seal what was surely the most memorable of his six victories in F1.
While it was all smiles from Ricciardo in the post-race press conference, the glum faces of Bottas and Raikkonen couldn’t have been more contrasting.
Bottas felt he had the victory in his grasp prior to the Safety Car and Raikkonen’s plunge to sixth after the first round of stops will prompt further awkward questions about his position in the team.
Hamilton was equally downbeat, out-qualified by Bottas on Saturday and out-raced by his team-mate a day later.
”We have a tough battle ahead of us,” Hamilton admitted to Sky Sports F1. “We’ve been underperforming and yesterday and today have been a disaster on my side. I need to try and rectify that and get myself back into normal performance back or otherwise more valuable points will be lost.
“I’m thankful for a couple of incidents that happened ahead kept us in the battle.”