Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Red Bull engine change "miraculous" - Horner

Red Bull engine change

Ricciardo gained ground after pitting under the safety vehicle, switching to softs while the top runners stayed out with mediums.

Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel's ideal start to the year came to an end as he slipped to eighth, following a strategic blunder and a collision with Max Verstappen, for which the Dutchman was sanctioned.

Ferrari and Mercedes, who locked-out the first and second rows respectively, will both start the race on the more durable soft tyres, while both Red Bull's are committed to starting with the ultrasofts. The Aussie made his way through to P1 after taking out Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas.

He then picked of Vettel easily and then seized the lead from Bottas with a similarly bold move.

But the safety auto threw in a curve ball and Red Bull grabbed their chance. Mercedes mirrored Red Bull's strategy by fitting the Finn with a set of Mediums, having done the same with Hamilton a handful of laps earlier.

Ferrari's decision bit Vettel particularly badly, even if it was not his fault. A smooth stop was not enough to retain the advantage on-track, though, as Vettel peeled out of the pit lane just behind Bottas. The team opted to sacrifice Raikkonen's race to try and get back ahead, keeping Vettel's teammate out in a bid to back Bottas up. "Getting that engine dressed and onto the vehicle, it's just Herculean".

With Bottas and Vettel separated by around a second at the front, the battle for victory looked poised to rumble to the end of the race, only for a clash between the Toro Rosso drivers to turn the race on its head.

Syria: Corbyn accused Government of 'waiting for instructions' from Trump
In a subsequent tweet on Thursday, the United States president said an attack on Syria "could be very soon or not so soon at all". But Mr Corbyn said: "More bombing, more killing, more war will not save life".

But the race took a second dramatic twist when the safety auto was deployed following a coming-together between the Toro Rosso pair of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly on lap 31.

Verstappen was at this stage favourite to win, as the lead Red Bull driver, but he tried a move around the outside of Hamilton at the fast Turn Seven from too far back on lap 39 and ran off the road, letting Ricciardo past.

Verstappen feels that as Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport will not be able to use their so-called "Party mode" during the race, Red Bull should be closer to them on Sunday, and the Dutchman feels that with a clean start and good strategy calls he can challenge them for a podium.

The Australian than powered off into the distance to secure his first victory since last year's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Bottas second for the second successive race.

The collision at turn 14 saw Vettel cross the line down in eighth, allowing Hamilton, who finished fifth - which then became fourth following a 10-second penalty for Verstappen - to move to within nine points of the furious German.

Driver of the day No contest this - Ricciardo was stunning in the closing laps.

Like this: