For the second round in succession, Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo thought he was headed for a tenth-place grand prix finish - and was able to pinpoint the other end of his race as the reason why.

Having already admitted that seventh was about all he could have expected from Chinese Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday, the Australian quickly found himself sinking further down the field after making a poor getaway. Ending the opening lap in an unfamiliar 17th place, and lucky to avoid the usual midfield skirmishing, he then set about trying to work his way back up the order - a task that proved more difficult that he might have thought as he encountered Sauber's Marcus Ericsson on no fewer than four occasions, enjoying a repeated dice with the Swede before eventually winning out with a move through the first three turns late in the race.

With few retirements in the race, and those to that point among cars that he would have expected to beat, Ricciardo's recovery appeared limited to tenth spot the same as he had achieved in Malaysia two weeks ago. However, when Max Verstappen's impressive run came to an end with engine problems within sight of the chequered flag, Ricciardo was promoted to ninth, doubling his meagre points tally for the afternoon.

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"We got into anti-stall on the start, which hasn't happened before," he revealed, "We have to look and see what happened [because] it's frustrating. That shaped the race as, in the traffic, we struggled to get by. At least some positives are that we learned a few areas where we need to improve and the smart guys in the team can find a solution. We underachieved today, but hopefully we find something in the next few days and have a better result in Bahrain."

Ricciardo also had a minor contretemps with RBR team-mate Daniil Kvyat, where the Russian appeared to ignore radio messages telling him to let Ricciardo - who was on better tyres - through. The Australian had to fight for position before finally getting by and, even then, Kvyat appeared intent on coming back at him...

"I had a little battle with Daniil, and I don't know if I was optimistic in trying to get past," Ricciardo said, "We were on different race strategies, but we'll sort it out in the debrief."