Daniel Ricciardo believes his Chinese Grand Prix victory proves he is ready to fight for a Formula 1 world championship title. 

The Red Bull driver made the most of a strategy gamble by his team to stop for fresh soft tyres during a mid-race Safety Car and charged through from sixth to claim a remarkable win in Shanghai

A series of sublime overtakes on Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and erstwhile race-leader Valtteri Bottas helped Ricciardo seal a memorable fightback. His sixth win in F1 moved Ricciardo up to fourth in the drivers’ standings and just 17 points off current championship leader Vettel. 

“I really feel like, I’ve said a few times, just give me the chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I will take it,” Ricciardo said. “I feel like I can capitalise on opportunities and I guess [China] was a good example even with a fat lip I am still pretty fast and pretty good on a Sunday.”

At one stage it looked like Ricciardo may have to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid, after a suspected turbo failure towards the end of FP3 left his Red Bull mechanics with a two-hour window to complete an engine change before qualifying.

Ricciardo made it out with just minutes remaining in Q1, before going on to qualify sixth. The Australian admitted he would not have been able to win had his team not pulled off what Red Bull team principal Christian Horner labelled as a “miraculous” recovery. 

“I feel like a lot of the time you feel I don’t want  to say obliged to thank the team but it’s the nice thing to do. I really sincerely mean it 100% with all my heart because without them [on Saturday] and without the strategy they wouldn’t have made it possible. 

“Two minutes later and we were starting the race from the back and I think it’s fair to say we wouldn’t have won from the back - so that helped us and then the strategy coming in under the safety car. I am sure the team feels as high as I do right now and I am super super thankful they helped me pull this off today.”

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