Daniel Ricciardo has labelled his Chinese Grand Prix win as a “real reward” for the hard work done by his Red Bull mechanics following his engine troubles after qualifying. 

A suspected turbo failure on his Renault engine in FP3 left Red Bull on the back foot with just two hours to fix Ricciardo’s car in time for qualifying. The Australian was sent out with minutes remaining in Q1 but managed to qualify sixth on the grid in what Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described as a “miraculous” recovery. 

Red Bull made the most of a mid-race Safety Car to double-stack its drivers for fresh soft tyres compared to rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, with both teams opting to keep its drivers out as both favoured track position. Ricciardo then pulled off a spectacular charge to claim a remarkable win. 

“I dont know what it is but I don’t seem to win boring races,” Ricciardo said. “They are all pretty fun. That was unexpected. 24 hours ago I thought we were going to start last on the grid. Firstly thanks to the boys, I thanked them yesterday but this is the real reward for that work. The mechanics worked their buts off. 

“It was hectic,” he added. “I heard we had a Safety Car [when I was at] Turn 14 and got told we are going to double stack so come into the box. It happened very quickly and very decisive. They were winning moves so thanks a lot to everyone at Red Bull. Fat lip and all I got the win.”

Ricciardo took advantage of his fresh rubber to pull off a plethora of stunning overtakes on Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and race-leader Valtteri Bottas en route to victory. 

“Sometimes you’ve just got to lick the stamp and send it. I enjoyed it very much. Obviously we had the soft tyre so I knew we could get more out of it under braking than them. A lot of the time you get one chance to try so I made the most of the opportunity.”

Ricciardo dived down the inside of Bottas on the run to Turn 6 in what was arguably his most decisive and most spectacular manoeuvre of the race. Speaking about the pass, he said: “It was close. It was hard but fair. I saw him defend so I wanted to go shallower but then he came across again.

“I thought about pulling out - nah I’m just kidding but I knew there would always be enough room and the tyres had enough grip. Worst case I would have run wide and had the chance somewhere else.”

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