Late race chaos allows Ricciardo to win in Malaysia

Daniel Ricciardo was content to settle for second or third, but a late race reliability issue for one of the Mercedes drivers allowed him to take the lead and score the victory.

Sebastian Vettel suffered race-ending damage after contact with Nico Rosberg in turn 1 on the first lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel suffered race-ending damage after contact with Nico Rosberg in turn 1 on the first lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Typically, most Formula 1 races see the game-changing moments in the dash towards turn 1 on the first lap, and there was also that in this race.

Going into turn 1, Sebastian Vettel got in too hot and made contact with Nico Rosberg. He sent Rosberg spinning while he bent the left-front wheel of his car and retired from the race. This required a virtual safety car period.


American Muscle

After the race went back to green, it settled into the typical follow the leader routine, only interrupted by Romain Grosjean locking up the brakes, going off track at the final turn, retiring from the race and prompting another virtual safety car period.

Rosberg spent the whole race working his way from the rear of the field back up to the front. During his run to a third place finish, he was handed a 10-second time penalty by the stewards for contact with Kimi Raikkonen just past halfway.

Lewis Hamilton's championship hopes took a hit when he retired with a blown engine with just over 20 laps to go in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo: Charles Coates/Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton’s championship hopes took a hit when he retired with a blown engine with just over 20 laps to go in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo: Charles Coates/Getty Images

It was on lap 40, however, when it became anyone’s race because pole sitter Lewis Hamilton, who had the field in check from the start, suffered an engine failure on the pit straight and retired from the race.

This prompted another virtual safety car period. Red Bull Racing brought both cars onto pit road to change onto soft tires. Ricciardo, who overtook his teammate for second on lap 39, assumed the lead and got first dibs on tire service.

The race went back to green a few laps later and Ricciardo drove on to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

As has become his custom of late, Ricciardo celebrated with a “shoey” (chugging champagne from his shoe). Teammate Verstappen, team principle Christian Horner and even Rosberg also took a shot of champagne from Ricciardo’s shoe.

Verstappen took the second step on the podium and Rosberg, who had a 10-second penalty, finished 13 seconds ahead of Raikkonen and retained his podium finish.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top-five.

Sergio Perez finished sixth, Fernando Alonso finished seventh, Nico Hulkenburg finished eighth, Jenson Button finished ninth and Jolyon Palmer finished in the points for the first time in his career with a 10th place finish.

Rosberg leaves with a 23-point lead over Hamilton with five races remaining in the 2016 season.


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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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