Nico Rosberg celebrated his 200th Grand Prix with race victory for Mercedes. Rosberg resisted the late pressure from Daniel Ricciardo to score his eighth win this season.
By winning the Singapore Grand Prix, the Mercedes driver has retaken the championship lead from rival and team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg now has an eight-point advantage with six races left this season.
Despite both Mercedes drivers being warned about brake management from the early laps, Rosberg controlled most of the Singapore Grand Prix.
After a safety car for a startline crash and a hair-raising moment as a marshal had to run off the track with the leaders approaching at the restart, Rosberg established a comfortable gap over Ricciardo and Hamilton.
Mercedes’ choice of softs for its second stint, when Ricciardo stayed on super-softs, left Hamilton moaning at his team over the radio.
Hamilton then found himself under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen’s super-soft compound Ferrari, which got past just after half-distance after a lock-up from the Mercedes.
The second round of pit-stops followed soon after, with the gap between Rosberg and Hamilton in fourth out to 18.9 seconds.
Mercedes then switched Hamilton to “plan B”, and he charged up behind Raikkonen and then made an unexpected third pit-stop for a set of ultra-softs with 16 laps to the flag.
Ferrari was left in two minds on whether to react, and though it hauled Raikkonen in, a superb lap from Hamilton allowed him to pull off the undercut and reclaim third. He then held off Raikkonen to the finish.
Red Bull Racing covered off both those drivers by bringing in Ricciardo for new super-softs, while Mercedes left Rosberg out on his softs.
The honey badger started hunting down Rosberg, a 24 seconds gap becoming 5 seconds within seven laps.
But some traffic, fading tyres and Mercedes giving Rosberg the green light to push his brakes harder halted Ricciardo’s charge and he ran out of time to pass.
The dramatic finish matched the start, when Max Verstappen’s slow getaway from fourth triggered mayhem.
Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg tangled as they tried to dodge around the Red Bull, sending Hulkenberg spinning into the pitwall and triggering the safety car.
That proved to be the only caution period, but Sebastian Vettel did not need too much help to make it through the field from the back of the grid.
Rapid overtaking in the midfield and a long first stint on softs set up his determined drive to a fifth place finish.
Verstappen ended up sixth via a late move on Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, having had a big battle with his Red Bull predecessor Daniil Kvyat along the way.
Sergio Perez’s eighth nudged Force India a point ahead of Williams in their battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship as the latter failed to score.
Felipe Massa was only P12, while Valtteri Bottas picked up damage in the first-lap incident, had to pit with a seatbelt problem and eventually retired.
Kvyat claimed ninth, with Kevin Magnussen tenth for only Renault’s second points-scoring finish of the season.
Romain Grosjean’s nightmare weekend, which already included two crashes and a gearbox-change penalty, resulted in a brake failure on his Haas that prevented him from even taking the start.
Singapore Grand Prix, race results after 61 laps:
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h55m48.950s
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 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-Renault 1m11.197s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1m29.198s
8 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m49.146s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m49.867s
10 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m51.843s
11 Esteban Gutierrez Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
12 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1 Lap
16 Pascal Wehrlein Manor-Mercedes 1 Lap
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1 Lap
18 Esteban Ocon Manor-Mercedes 2 Laps
– Jenson Button McLaren-Honda Retirement
– Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes Retirement
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari Not started
– Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes Collision
1 Nico Rosberg 273
2 Lewis Hamilton 265
3 Daniel Ricciardo 179
4 Sebastian Vettel 153
5 Kimi Raikkonen 148
6 Max Verstappen 129
7 Valtteri Bottas 70
8 Sergio Perez 66
9 Nico Hulkenberg 46
10 Felipe Massa 41
11 Fernando Alonso 36
12 Carlos Sainz 30
13 Romain Grosjean 28
14 Daniil Kvyat 25
15 Jenson Button 17
16 Kevin Magnussen 7
17 Pascal Wehrlein 1
18 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
19 Esteban Gutierrez 0
20 Jolyon Palmer 0
21 Marcus Ericsson 0
22 Felipe Nasr 0
23 Rio Haryanto 0
24 Esteban Ocon 0
1 Mercedes 538
2 Red Bull-Renault 316
3 Ferrari 301
4 Force India-Mercedes 112
5 Williams-Mercedes 111
6 McLaren-Honda 54
7 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 47
8 Haas-Ferrari 28
9 Renault 7
10 Manor-Mercedes 1
11 Sauber/Ferrari 0
Next race: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang. September 30-October 2.