By lap 9/56 Bottas was 2.4s behind Vettel who had already set a fastest time of the race, Verstappen meanwhile had dropped down and was 7s further back from the lead.
By Lap 10, Vettel was struggling to shake Bottas who maintained a gap of less than three seconds between himself and the leader.
Chinese fans have taken to Hamilton in recent years - the Briton has five career wins in ShanghaiSeasoned F1 fans have seen an terrible lot over the years in the paddock.
His run had been against the odds from before qualifying.
Just over 24 hours after he was a reported two minutes shy of missing qualifying because of a turbo failure in final practice, Ricciardo raced his way to the victory in Shanghai. He rewarded them with a remarkable drive to claim the win.
Ricciardo finally had something to celebrate after he just missed a podium spot at home in Australia following a grid penalty, and had to retire in Bahrain due to mechanical problems.
In the constructors' championship, Vettel's miserable race sees Mercedes overtake Ferrari by just one point to tally 85 points to their Italian rival's 84 points. "Ferrari [has had] tremendous pace here this weekend, particularly in qualifying".
They did not lose too many places after their stop and it became clear they will be contenders for the win as the three cars ahead of them were on older and slower tires.
Verstappen also tried to overtake the Ferrari driver but hit him, pitching both into a spin, letting Hamilton and Raikkonen through.
Lap 1/56 - Sebastian Vettel starts well out of the grid, with Vaterri Bottas behind him. A pit stop usually costs a lengthily 27 seconds, which may discourage a two-stop, but switching from the softs to the ultra-softs early could provide a powerful undercut that would allow Mercedes to gain track position when Ferrari makes its planned single stop.
Lap 4/56 - Vettel has a two and a half second lead over Vaterri Bottas.
On Lap 46, he saw his chance and shot up the inside to lead the Grand Prix. However, the race was all about Ferrari's poor strategy to start with and Red Bull taking advantage of the safety auto to ensure they had the fastest vehicle in the final stages of the race.
Red Bull made the bold strategy call to pit both cars for softer tyres, setting up a scintillating passing show. Racing resumed on lap 36, with Hamilton up to third after the Red Bull stops.
Lap 39: Verstappen off track as he tries to pass Hamilton but comes back on track ahead of Raikkonen.
On lap 42 Verstappen completed a clean pass on Hamilton for fourth at Turn 6 before Ricciardo snatched second from Vettel on the long back straight.
Ricciardo was on a mission, he passed Vettel on lap 43 thanks to his soft tires. Verstappen later admitted it had been his fault.
The Australian started from the third row, but took advantage when the safety vehicle came out on the 31st lap to allow him to get fresh, soft tires when the other leaders were running on worn rubber and couldn't get in quickly to change. He held it to the flag for a superb, deserved race win, that once again highlighted why his overtaking skills are so highly rated.
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