Ricciardo wins at Malaysia as reliability fails Hamilton

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Malaysia, Sepang International Circuitmy

Daniel Ricciardo has won the Malaysian Grand Prix, having been handed the race lead after a spectacular engine failure on Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. The Australian fought off team mate Max Verstappen who completed a 1-2 finish for Red Bull Racing. Nico Rosberg completed the podium.

Even before the start, there was drama for Felipe Massa, as his failure to get going for the warm-up lap meant his 7th place grid position was lost before it even started. He said the throttle wasn't working, following which the team rolled him into the pitlane, where after just 15 seconds they managed to get the car going, allowing the Brazilian to start from the pitlane moments later.

In the actual start, Lewis Hamilton maintained the advantage, but Vettel got tangled up with Verstappen and Rosberg. The German was slightly optimistic and failed to stay on the inside of the corner, hence bumping into Rosberg's rear and forcing Verstappen to go wide. Rosberg as a result dropped down to the back of the grid, while Vettel's front suspension was broken, requiring a retirement and a virtual safety car until his car was cleared off the track.

The VSC period triggered several stops, including those for Massa, Kvyat, Gutierrez and Magnussen.

By lap 4, partly thanks to the early stops of some, Rosberg was 15th, behind Palmer who was the only one to actually start the race on the hard tyres. Fernando Alonso on the other hand probably made the strongest start by moving up from 22nd to 10th in 5 laps. The next lap, the Spaniard passed Grosjean to move up into 9th while team mate Jenson Button maintained 6th.

On lap 9, Grosjean's race is over, as he failed to make it into the final corner. The team and replays confirmed that the front left brake just let go, leaving no chance for Grosjean to still make the sharp left hander following the long back straight.

In this period, numerous drivers again pitted, including Verstappen, Rosberg, both Force Indias and both McLarens. For Hulkenberg and Alonso, this meant they had to back up a little bit to not come into the pit too close to their team mates. Both men therefore lost out to Rosberg, who jumped both of them.

At the very front, Hamilton Ricciardo and Raikkonen did not pit. Verstappen dropped behind Raikkonen due to his pitstop in which he changed to another used set of soft tyres.

By lap 15, Hamilton led the race with 5s in hand over Ricciardo, another 5 on Raikkonen and 6 more to Verstappen in 4th. Bottas, Sainz and Ericsson followed with Rosberg coming up to them from behind. From 9 to P13, all drivers were approximately 2s adrift from each other, all due to them having to pass Palmer, an effort that did prove difficult for most. For all, it took one or two laps to get past, making for quite a gap as the Renault, still on its hard tyres from the start, was about 2 seconds a lap slower than the cars ahead of him just after the VSC.

On lap 21, Hamilton and Raikkonen pitted to change to new hard tyres, with Ricciardo following suit the next lap. This handed the lead to Verstappen with an advantage of about 8 seconds to Hamilton, until the latter pitted to change for hard tyres himself.

As of that time, it was mainly about Rosberg who continued to close in on the cars ahead, eventually passing Raikkonen in a muscular move through turn 2. Rosberg was handed a 10s penalty for that move a bit later, as he was blamed for the - minor - collission between the two.

Verstappen similarly closed into Ricciardo, providing close racing action as of lap 37. That basically continued into lap 41, when Lewis Hamilton's engine flew on the main straight, making for a huge disappointment for the reigning World Champion. The subsequent virtual safety car once again triggered a lot of stops, including the top 4 drivers all switching to soft tyres. Bottas and Perez in 5th and 6th kept their Hard tyres while Alonso, Hulkenberg and Button changed tyres as well.

At Haas, they changed Gutierrez' tyres too, only to see Gutierrez drive around on three wheels a bit later, seemingly with the rim broken up, leaving the tyre and the rim stranded in the gravel trap.

On lap 48, the battle for first heated up once again. Even though Verstappen lost a few seconds in the pitstops due to having to wait a bit while pitting on the same lap as Ricciardo, the Dutchmen kept the pressure on, and reduced the gap to 1.2s on lap 50. Ricciardo reacted the next lap to retake 3 tenths, knowing that allowing Verstappen to get within DRS range would end up to be a difficulty to win today's race.


13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing Tag Heuer561:37:12.77625
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Tag Heuer56+2.443s18
36Nico RosbergMercedes56+25.516s15
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari56+28.785s12
577Valtteri BottasWilliams Mercedes56+61.582s10
611Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes56+63.794s8
714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda56+65.205s6
827Nico HulkenbergForce India Mercedes56+74.062s4
922Jenson ButtonMcLaren Honda56+81.816s2
1030Jolyon PalmerRenault56+95.466s1
1155Carlos SainzToro Rosso Ferrari56+98.878s0
129Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari55+1 lap0
1319Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes55+1 lap0
1426Daniil KvyatToro Rosso Ferrari55+1 lap0
1594Pascal WehrleinMrt Mercedes55+1 lap0
1631Esteban OconMrt Mercedes55+1 lap0
NC12Felipe NasrSauber Ferrari46DNF0
NC44Lewis HamiltonMercedes40DNF0
NC21Esteban GutierrezHaas Ferrari39DNF0
NC20Kevin MagnussenRenault17DNF0
NC8Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari7DNF0
NC5Sebastian VettelFerrari0DNF0