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.

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.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2023, I'm on my eighth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Your Name" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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