Lap 11/56 - Brendon Hartley is the first on in the box, switching out his supersoft tires.
Hamilton apologised to his team for losing places. Vettel, Hamilton and Verstappen split by just over one second.
Valtteri Bottas appeared on course to claim his victory after a strategy error by Ferrari allowed the Mercedes auto to move ahead of Vettel during their one and only round of pit stops. He got by Raikkonen for fifth in Turn 14 one lap later, and moved around Verstappen when he drifted wide and briefly into a runoff area after trying to pass Hamilton.
"Leading up to the safety auto, the race was going reasonably well".
It's the latest reliability blow to hit Red Bull this season, the frustration clear in Horner's tone.
It looked like the win would be decided between Mercedes and Ferrari once again, until the safety auto handed a strong advantage to Red Bull, whose drivers started cutting through the front-runners at a frantic pace in the closing stages of the race. Hamilton, in fourth, is ten seconds behind Vettel.
By now Ricciardo was right on the tail of Bottas and was using his fresher tyres to close the gap to the lead.
Verstappen tried passing Hamilton but ended up going off the track, he lost a place to Ricciardo in that move. The stewards concurred, slapping the Red Bull man with a timed penalty. Verstappen also soon overtook Hamilton, who seemed unable to keep pace with the frontrunners. Verstappen was forced to take evasive action and go off the track as Hamilton took the normal racing line, resulting in him dropping behind Ricciardo who was shadowing the pair looking for an opportunity.
While he was given a huge helping hand by Red Bull's decision to pit him behind the Safety Car, putting him on new ultras for the final stint of the race, he still had to pass several drivers including World Champs in Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen.
Ricciardo drove aggressively as well, taking advantage of the tyre change during the safety auto to dart past Hamilton, Vettel and then Bottas in relatively short order to take a lead he would not relinquish.
Ricciardo was on a mission, he passed Vettel on lap 43 thanks to his soft tires. He finished in fifth place, ahead of Niko Hulkenberg's Renault. Vettel was then passed by Alonso in the penultimate lap to make it a miserable afternoon for the championship leader. Vettel never recovered from the hit from Verstappen and lost seventh place to McLaren's Fernando Alonso on the penultimate lap before almost losing eighth to Carlos Sainz on the final lap.
Daniel Ricciardo believes victory at the Chinese Grand Prix will strengthen his hand in contract negotiations as he looks to firm up his future. On the winner's podium after the race, the Australian celebrated with his customary "shoey" to the delight of the waiting fans.
Max Verstappen says his remarkable success in a short pace of time on the Formula One circuit is not down to being stronger mentally than others, but simply because he enjoys driving fast.