Daniel Ricciardo surprised to take part in Chinese GP qualifying

Red Bull's Max Verstappen

While Ricciardo was clinical in mowing down the Ferraris and Mercedes in front of him, his younger teammate Max Verstappen showed less composure, attempting a risky move on Vettel which saw both drivers run off the track and the Dutchman ultimately receive a 10-second penalty.

Mercedes and Ferrari chose to leave their cars on medium-compound tyres that by then were about 10 laps old, but Red Bull made a decision to switch to fresh softs and that gave them a decisive pace advantage. Ferrari, which was leading the race at the time through Sebastian Vettel, was slower to react and lost the lead to Bottas. There was his move on Raikkonen which got his charge through the front group underway, the dive on Lewis Hamilton into Turn 14 was special as was when he breezed by Vettel into the same corner but his pass on Bottas into Turn 6 to take the lead was pure class and one worthy of victory.

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas appeared on course for an excellent victory over Vettel before the safety auto period after the Finn jumped the Ferrari during their pit stops.

It worked, but not effectively enough for Vettel to jump Bottas, and only after both had passed Raikkonen did Ferrari stop him for new tyres.

"But I would say that after winter testing we didn't expect to be here in race three with the issues in Bahrain and this morning already". They're all pretty fun.

Hamilton apologised to his team for losing places.

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In Mercedes' defence, Ferrari also chose not to pit, but both teams suffered as a result.

The German locked a wheel going into the hairpin on lap 43 and ran a little wide.

The stewards handed Verstappen a 10-second time penalty for the error.

Before the race Verstappen's team had reminded him not to get caught up in any incidents following a series of poor decisions in the first two races of the season.

Vettel looked likely to finish seventh, but was overtaken by McLaren's Fernando Alonso on the penultimate lap to finish even further down the order.

With Ricciardo now untouchable, Raikkonen began to pressure Bottas for second, but the younger Finn held on.

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Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton crossed the line fifth behind Verstappen but was promoted to fourth after the Dutchman's penalty was applied.

Driver of the day: Again, it's hard to go past Ricciardo. Ricciardo, however, made no mistake when handed the opportunity with a superb demonstration in overtaking.

"I'm happy to have got out in qualifying and I want to thank the mechanics for doing such a great job", said Ricciardo.

Vettel briefly challenged Hulkenberg after his crash with Verstappen dropped him to seventh, but the Renault had also pitted for new tyres behind the safety vehicle, leaving the Ferrari driver with a pace disadvantage he wasn't able to overcome.

Formula One continues with the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 29.

Mercedes are yet to win this year, the first time since the turbo hybrid era started in 2014 that they have been beaten for three races in a row.

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