Sunday's win was Ricciardo's first since a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix last June and it also broke Mercedes' Shanghai stranglehold, with the champions having won the last six races there.
Vettel's move across to the right to block his team-mate Raikkonen at the start kept the German in the lead, probably irritated the Ferrari team something chronic, and mixed up the frontrunners as soon as the lights went out.
Ricciardo and Verstappen were not early contenders but the deployment of the safety auto on the 32nd of 56 laps, after the Toro Rosso pair Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley collided and left debris on track, swung the race Red Bull's way.
Ricciardo was making his way down the back straight at the Shanghai International Circuit when plumes of smoke began pouring out the rear of his auto.
Despite feeling that fifth was his expected position in Qualifying, the twenty-year-old felt there was time to be found if they had been able to maximise their potential with the engine, but overall, the pace deficit down the long straights at the Shanghai International Circuit was just too much to make up in the corners. Today is the real reward for that work.
Asked if getting a different engine for 2019 was a priority, Ricciardo replied: "We'll see after a few more races. The mechanics worked their butts off, so thank you".
Art Bell (1945 - 2018), paranormal-themed radio show host
He might be missed, however I do know he's now on one other journey". At his peak, Bell was heard on some 500 radio stations nationwide.
"The safety auto was so unlucky for us", exclaimed Bottas over the radio. "We were in trouble with Daniel and even with Kimi [Raikkonen] in the end".
Vettel and teammate Raikkonen grabbed a lockout for Ferrari on the front row to put the pressure on Mercedes. Ferrari, which was leading the race at the time through Sebastian Vettel, was slower to react and lost the lead to Bottas.
The Australian, who had already passed Raikkonen, then picked off Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas to clinch a stunning win. "Hopefully it's short enough that the power doesn't compromise the good start we could have". The Australian, who started sixth on the ultra-soft tyre but very almost missed qualifying after a turbo failure in FP3, made up a place before stopping for fresh medium tyres. He managed his tyres well in the opening stint, stayed patient amidst the chaos of the Safety Car period and executed his overtakes perfectly in the second half of the race.
Worse still for Vettel was that McLaren's Fernando Alonso was building momentum in the final stint, and on the penultimate lap the Spaniard passed him for seventh.
Carlos Sainz just missed out on passing the Ferrari on the last lap and had to settle for ninth with Kevin Magnussen completing the top 10 points scorers for Haas.