There was his move on Raikkonen which got his charge through the front group underway, the dive on Lewis Hamilton into Turn 14 was special as was when he breezed by Vettel into the same corner but his pass on Bottas into Turn 6 to take the lead was pure class and one worthy of victory.
Ricciardo, who had to retire in Bahrain due to mechanical problems, was facing heartache for the second straight weekend after his Renault engine went up in smoke halfway through the final practice session on Saturday.
Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton came fourth at +16.985 and Sebastian Vettel surprisingly came in eighth at +35.286 after Max Verstappen suddenly felt like playing bumper cars.
Here, we take a look at some of the big takeaways from Shanghai. He passed Hamilton and closed in on Bottas, but had to settle for third place in the end.
But the race turned due to a mid-race safety vehicle.
He came out of nowhere to overtake Hamilton, and then passed Sebastian Vettel on lap 42.
Driver of the dayNo contest this - Ricciardo was stunning in the closing laps.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was full of praise for the Australian. No one could have ever predicted what has gone down as one of the most tense, unpredictable and thrilling F1 races ever. He was not in the finest moods and sounded low on the radio all afternoon.
He finally picked off race leader Valtteri Bottas, passing the Finn with inches to spare, to set up his win. Bottas has 40 points in third place and Ricciardo is fourth with 37.More news: Buhari to Chibok parents: Your daughters won't be abandoned, forgotten
Initially in the best position to attack was Verstappen, but hot Dutch double-faced Hamilton and Vettel with a 10-second penalty finished only fifth. He climbed to first place in the 10 laps following the restart to secure a sixth career win.
Lead Red Bull driver Verstappen was favourite to win at that point, but he tried a move around the outside of Hamilton at the fast Turn Seven from too far back on lap 39 and ran off the road, which let Ricciardo in.
Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen celebrate on the podium Chinese Grand Prix.
With 11 laps remaining, Ricciardo snatched victory from Bottas on his fresher tyres. I didn't want to compromise my race.
Daniel Ricciardo snatched victory in China from Mercedes and Ferrari on Sunday, after his Aston Martin Red Bull team took advantage of a safety vehicle on lap 31 to put fresh tyres on both their cars.
That proved the prelude to an incredible surge up the order, as Red Bull pitted both Ricciardo and team mate Max Verstappen for fresh tyres.
After their disappointments in Australia and Bahrain, two top-five finishes this weekend will boost serious confidence ahead of the next race in Baku on April 29. Teammate Romain Grosjean finished 17th.
The Australian benefitted from quick thinking from the Red Bull team, which pitted both its drivers at opportune moments in order to wrestle control of the race from Ferrari and Mercedes.