Able to push hard to the finish, both Red Bull drivers set about catching those in front, but the Dutchman would take himself out of the equation by going off track after attempting an audacious move on Lewis Hamilton.
The Red Bull driver then sliced through the field before overtaking pace-setter Valtteri Bottas to record a remarkable victory.
And if anyone you know had predicted Daniel Ricciardo winning the Chinese Grand Prix after a weekend that saw him nearly miss qualifying due to a turbo failure in his Red Bull-Tag Heuer RB 14's Renault engine, then you know they are definitely pulling your leg!
In came Max Verstappen and Ricciardo, the only front-runners to do so. The team made a very quick decision to stop both cars under the safety auto and it was a winning decision.
Verstappen carried on, but picked up a ten-second penalty that dropped him to fifth.
Quote of the day: Daniel Ricciardo brilliantly summed up his racing philosophy on the podium, saying "sometimes you've just got to lick the stamp and send it".
While the early stages of the race were all about Sebastian Vettel versus Valtteri Bottas, a Safety Car just past the midway point of the grand prix upped the ante.
It was introduced so marshals could clear debris from the hairpin after a collision between Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Brendon Harley.
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The country has been shocked by images of distraught relatives and lines of trolleys carrying bodies in hospital hallways. The deaths occurred in several parts of the provinces of Jakarta and West Java, according to the National Police.
It was Bottas' win until Ricciardo - rightfully hailed as the master of late braking - stormed past the Finn in an inch ideal move on lap 46, in what will surely go down as one of the classic F1 drives.
"It's easy to say afterwards I should have waited, it probably would have been the best idea but unfortunately it happened".
As the Red Bulls charged, Hamilton pointed out to his team in the pits that they had been caught out by not stopping to change what was the slowest tyre which already had significant life on it.
Vettel seemed headed for the podium in third on lap 43 when Verstappen clipped him on turn 14, sending them both spinning and several places down the race order. Vettel was followed by Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen.
Behind him, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg drove a solid race for sixth, ahead of Alonso and an angry Vettel. The double-stack allowed Hamilton to move back up to third and Raikkonen to take fifth from Ricciardo, but as all of the other leaders stayed out, the Red Bulls looked in good shape for the restart. "I'm thankful for a couple of incidents that kept us kind of in the battle". Daniel's 28. He's got a lot of experience behind him. "It kind of felt like we deserved a victory, but not today".
"I could see him struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late into the corner and locked the rears a bit and hit him, so that was of course my fault", the 20-year-old said.
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.