After a qualifying session dominated by Ferrari, it seemed that the red cars could also be the main contenders to win the race. When the lights went out, Sebastian Vettel properly defended his Pole and squeezed his team mate a little bit. Valtteri Bottas passed Kimi Räikkönen on the first corner for second place.
It was Max Verstappen who did the greatest start among the top team. The Dutchman gained two places by passing Lewis Hamilton and Räikkönen. Behind those five drivers, Daniel Ricciardo Was sixth, followed by the Renaults and the Haas.
Brendon Hartley, who was in nineteenth place, was the first driver to stop, he did on lap 10. Several drivers from the mid-pack teams also pitted on the following laps, and some of them put the medium tyre to try to make it to the end with only one stop. Both Red Bulls stopped on lap 17 and switched to medium tyres, and so did Hamilton one lap later and Bottas on lap 19.
Vettel waited until lap 20 to pit, and this costed him the lead, which was now in Bottas’ hands. Mercedes had just done an undercut.
Due to this mistake, Räikkönen was left on track, on the lead. His goal now was to retain Bottas when he was caught by the Mercedes driver. When this happened, Bottas didn’t take long to overtake, but Vettel was really close. Räikkönen pitted at the end of the lap and returned to the track on sixth position.
On lap 30, both Toro Rosso collided, which caused Hartley to spin and Pierre Gasly to damage his front wing. The 2016 GP2 champion had tried a reckless move on his team mate which ended up with the collision. The debris on the car caused the deployment of the Safety Car.
As soon as the SC was announced, both Red Bulls pitted. The race order was Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Räikkönen and Ricciardo.
The race re-started on lap 36 with no major changes on top but great fights between the Haas, Renault, McLaren and Force India cars. Gasly was given a ten-second time penalty for the contact with his team mate.
One lap later, Ricciardo passed Räikkönen for fifth position. Verstappen tried to overtake Hamilton but the made small contact and the Dutchman and he had to leave the track to avoid a crash. This incident dropped him to fifth place, but Hamilton was now on Ricciardo’s sights, who did an incredible manoeuvre to earn third place.
Both Red Bull cars had much better tyres than Ferrari and Mercedes. Verstappen caught Hamilton again and he managed to finally pass him. At the same time, Ricciardo caught and passed Vettel.
On the next lap, Ricciardo was already putting the pressure on Bottas, and his team mate was doing so with Vettel. The Dutchman tried to overtake the championship leader on the same spot Ricciardo had passed Hamilton, but they collided. Verstappen got dropped to fifth place and Vettel to seventh.
A few moments later, Ricciardo finally made the move that would give him the win. Verstappen was given a ten-second penalty for the contact with Vettel, but he still overtook Hamilton again.
Meanwhile, Räikkönen was getting close to Bottas, who could also lose second place. Verstappen also joined that fight. Hartley retired with 4 laps to go.
Behind, Vettel had damage on his car and was being caught by Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard finally overtook the German on the penultimate lap.
The race ended with Ricciardo getting an epic win on a weekend that could have been disastrous when his engine failed on FP3. Bottas has finished in second place with Räikkönen on the final podium spot. Hamilton finished fourth as Verstappen’s penalty dropped him to P5. Nico Hülkenberg, Alonso, Vettel, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen were the points scorers.
Despite his problems today, Vettel still leads the championship with a 9-point gap to Hamilton. The next race will be held in two weeks, in the Baku Street Circuit in Azerbaijan.