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Nico Rosberg resists Daniel Ricciardo's late race charge to win thrilling F1 Singapore Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg resists Daniel Ricciardo's late race charge to win thrilling F1 Singapore Grand Prix
Sep 18, 2016, 3:30 PM

Nico Rosberg resisted a late race charge from Daniel Ricciardo to win the Singapore Grand Prix and retake the lead in the Formula 1 drivers’ worl...

Nico Rosberg resisted a late race charge from Daniel Ricciardo to win the Singapore Grand Prix and retake the lead in the Formula 1 drivers’ world championship from his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third.

At the start, Rosberg led away from pole position as Hamilton attacked Ricciardo for second. But the battle was suddenly paused as the safety car was immediately required because Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India had crashed into the pitwall after contact with Carlos Sainz.

Hulkenberg had made his “best start of the season” as he rocketed away from eighth on the grid, but when he went to go between Sainz and the other Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, the Spaniard moved right to avoid the slow starting Max Verstappen.

Nico Rosberg

With nowhere to go, Sainz made contact with the side of Hulkenberg’s car, which spun the German driver around and speared him across the front of the Red Bull and into the pitwall. The stewards investigated the incident but did not take any further action.

When the race restarted on lap three, Rosberg, who had arrived at the first corner to find a marshal only just leaving the side of the track, immediately pulled away from Ricciardo while Hamilton tried to pass the Red Bull.

Rosberg stretched his lead to four seconds and the race then settled down before both Mercedes drivers were warned about a developing brake management issue.

Daniel Ricciardo

Hamilton immediately began to fall away from Ricciardo after that call while Rosberg was able to carry on extending his lead to five seconds.

Ricciardo, who along with his teammate Max Verstappen, had started on the supersoft tyre, came in for another set of the same compound on lap 15 and Hamilton followed him in as the Mercedes driver swapped his ultrasofts for softs.

A lap later, Rosberg stopped for his own set of softs as Kimi Raikkonen assumed the lead before stopping on lap 17 to switch his ultrasofts for the red-walled supersofts.

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg then maintained his gap over Ricciardo, while Hamilton began to fall back from the Red Bull and into the clutches of Raikkonen, who was going quickly in fourth.

Shortly after Ricciardo made his second stop – this time for softs – on lap 32, Hamilton locked up and went wide at Turn 7 on lap 33, which gave Raikkonen the chance to move alongside the Mercedes and take third at Turn 10 with an opportunistic move, glancing wheels with the British driver as he did so.

Rosberg and Raikkonen came in for their second stops, both for softs, that same lap, which allowed the Ferrari to pull clear of Hamilton when he pitted a lap later.

Lewis Hamilton

From there, Rosberg and Ricciardo ran solidly in first and second, but Mercedes suddenly opted to switch Hamilton to “plan B” – a three stopper – and allowed the world champion to use all of the power available in his engine.

This allowed the Briton to close in on Raikkonen before he pitted for supersofts on lap 45. That triggered a response from Ferrari, who pitted Raikkonen one lap later, but Hamilton was able to move up into third thanks to his pace and undercut tyre advantage.

Red Bull also decided to switch Ricciardo to a three stop and he came in for his final stop on lap 47 to move onto the supersofts, emerging 27 seconds behind Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo immediately set a fastest lap as Mercedes opted to keep Rosberg on a two-stopper because he would have come out of the pits from a third stop behind the Australian.

From there, Ricciardo tore into Rosberg’s lead – at times going three seconds a lap faster – during a breathless 13 lap charge.

The Australian came tantalisingly close to the Mercedes, catching Rosberg on the final lap, but losing time lapping Felipe Massa and Esteban Gutierrez cost him a chance to make a move.

In the end, Rosberg held on to win by just 0.4s in his 200th F1 race, as Hamilton beat Raikkonen to third by 2.1s. The result gives Rosberg an eight-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel came home fifth after rising from last on the grid for Ferrari. The four times world champion started on the soft tyres and then rapidly and methodically moved through the field on a two-stop strategy to finish 17 seconds behind his teammate Raikkonen.

Max Verstappen demoted McLaren’s Fernando Alonso to seventh with a late race move as the Dutch driver recovered from his slow start to finish sixth by the flag.

Like Vettel, Sergio Perez made a two-stop strategy work to secure eighth place for Force India ahead of Kvyat, who had dramatically resisted Verstappen during an early race battle over ninth place. Kvyat eventually came home in P9, his first points finish since the British Grand Prix.

Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top ten to claim Renault’s first points since he finished seventh at the Russian Grand Prix back in April.

Gutierrez finished 11th for the fourth time this year, just ahead of Massa, while Felipe Nasr came home 13th for Sauber.

Sainz was 14th – he had had to pit early in the race to have a loose aerodynamic part removed from the side of his Toro Rosso after the clash with Hulkenberg on lap one.

Carlos Sainz

Jolyon Palmer finished 15th, ahead of the Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, while Esteban Ocon, who picked up a five-place time penalty for overtaking under the safety car, brought up the rear of the field.

Jenson Button and Valtteri Bottas retired with mechanical problems, with the Williams driver coming in just a few laps after he had endured a very long pitstop to tighten his seatbelts.

Romain Grosjean did not start the race for Haas F1 after a brake-by-wire issue on his car could not be fixed before the start of the race.

Singapore Grand Prix results:

1 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 1h55m48.950s

2 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull +0.488s

3 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes +8.038s

4 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari +10.219s

5 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari +27.694s

6 Max Verstappen, Red Bull +1m11.197s

7 Fernando Alonso, McLaren +1m29.198s

8 Sergio Perez, Force India +1m49.146s

9 Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso +1m49.867s

10 Kevin Magnussen, Renault +1m51.843s

11 Esteban Gutierrez, Haas +1 Lap

12 Felipe Massa, Williams +1 Lap

13 Felipe Nasr, Sauber +1 Lap

14 Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso +1 Lap

15 Jolyon Palmer, Renault +1 Lap

16 Pascal Wehrlein, Manor +1 Lap

17 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber +1 Lap

18 Esteban Ocon, Manor +2 Laps

DNF Jenson Button, McLaren

DNF Valtteri Bottas, Williams

DNF Nico Hulkenberg, Force India

DNS Romain Grosjean, Haas

What did you make of the Singapore Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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