Ricciardo and his teammate Verstappen did not make much progress at the start of the race, but with the safety vehicle after the collision between Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso and Brendon Hartley on lap 32 (from 56 laps), the race turned to Red Bull.
The Australian driver made use of the good fortune and wasted no time in passing first Hamilton, then Vettel and finally Bottas to take the race lead.
Verstappen pushed hard and managed to get ahead of Hamilton and Vettel but he couldn't catch Raikkonen, as the Ferrari went in search of compatriot Bottas.
Sebastian Vettel still leads the way despite picking up just four points for finishing eighth after a collision with Max Verstappen.
Verstappen was spotted after the race speaking with Vettel following their collision, and he said: "I could see him struggling with his tyres, I braked late, locked the rears and hit him".
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The result not only proves F1 racing is alive and well, it also shakes up the drivers' standings, with Vettel leading Hamilton by just nine points after three rounds and Bottas by 14.
Ricciardo has won the Chinese GP 2018 after a thrilling race to the chequered flag in the final minutes. "Ferrari [has had] tremendous pace here this weekend, particularly in qualifying".
Ricciardo was driving like a man possessed, braking nearly impossibly late to squeeze past Hamilton at the hairpin on lap 40. With both Ferrari and Mercedes ahead starting on the soft compound tire, Ricciardo is hopeful Red Bull will have an advantage off the line using the ultrasofts it used in Q2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) 30, 6. It was decisive, winning moves from the team.
With the exception of Verstappen and Ricciardo the leaders were looking for a one-stop race and Bottas now had track position over Vettel.
"Ferrari has had really good pace all weekend and I can't say honestly now that we're going to have their pace tomorrow but Mercedes definitely look within reach", he told reporters with nearly infectious positivity.
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Ricciardo extended his lead to 4s and set a new fastest lap of the race while at it.
Lewis Hamilton ended a somewhat quiet race in fourth for Mercedes after Verstappen's penalty, but was able to close the gap on Vettel at the top of the drivers' championship as the Ferrari driver dropped through the field in the final few laps.
"I saw him defend so I wanted to go shallower but I thought about pulling out..."
With no way for the marshals to clear the debris safely, the Safety Car was deployed on lap 31, offering strategy opportunity for anyone daring enough to take it.
Verstappen was handed a ten-second post-race time penalty but all eyes were on the charging Ricciardo.
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Vettel looked likely to finish seventh, but was overtaken by McLaren's Fernando Alonso on the penultimate lap to finish even further down the order. Renault's Nico Hülkenberg was in sixth, with his team-mate Carlos Sainz in ninth and Kevin Magnussen's Haas in tenth.
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