Riccardo wins as Hamilton retires from Sepang

Daniel Ricciardo finally wins his first race of the season after fending off his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen in a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton retired from the lead.

Hamilton was on course to win and reclaim the championship lead as he built up a 22.7 seconds lead over Ricciardo but his engine expired on the approach to Turn 1 with 15 laps to go.

The reigning world champion cried “Ah, no, no, no!” as he pulled to a stop at the side of the track, climbing out of the Mercedes, squatting down and placing his head in his hands.

The virtual safety car was called with Ricciardo, who was running nose-to-tail with Verstappen at the time, pitting along with his Red Bull team-mate for soft tyres as they had a 40-second gap back to Nico Rosberg.

They rejoined comfortably ahead of the Mercedes driver and though Verstappen ran close behind, Ricciardo absorbed the pressure to take his first victory of the season.

It was the honey badger’s first win for over two years and Red Bull Racing’s first one-two finish since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Prior to Hamilton’s failure, Verstappen had caught Ricciardo with fresher tyres, asking to be let through to fight for the win.

But Ricciardo defended hard, and the pair went side-by-side through the high-speed Turns 5 and 6, with Ricciardo winning the battle on the brakes into Turn 7 to hold what would turn out to be crucial track position.

It was like an action replay of Sepang 2013 with Sebastian Vettel fighting against Mark Webber for the victory. With the infamous Multi-21 radio call to hold formation…

Rosberg completed an impressive recovery drive after being pitched into a spin by Sebastian Vettel at Turn 1 to finish third and extend his championship lead to 23 points with five races remaining.

There was drama from the start as Vettel tried an ambitious pass down the inside of Verstappen, only to lock up and slide into Rosberg, breaking the Ferrari’s front-left suspension and pitching him into retirement.

Rosberg got going again and began a fight back through the field, rising up to fourth place and then barging passed Raikkonen into Turn 2 for third position.

The race stewards took a dim view of that and awarded Rosberg a 10-second penalty for causing a collision but the Mercedes driver had sufficient pace to build a gap from The Iceman and hold onto third.

Hamilton had driven the perfect race up until his retirement, going long on the softs and then taking the hards before building a gap to the rest to allow the opportunity for a second stop.

But “an unexpected mechanical failure of the internal combustion engine with no prior warning” according to Mercedes ended his hopes of a first victory since before the summer break.

Verstappen had looked in contention for at least second and possibly victory when he pitted early for a second set of stops while Ricciardo stayed out in second, but that advantage was neutralised when both pitted following Hamilton’s retirement.

Raikkonen finished fourth with Valtteri Bottas, who completed an impressive opening stint on the mediums to make a one-stop strategy work, fifth and Sergio Perez sixth.

Fernando Alonso battled his way up the field from last on the grid, having had a 45-place grid penalty for changing engine components, to take seventh ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button.

Jolyon Palmer recovered from what he described as a “pretty depressing” qualifying to finish tenth and score his first point of the season.

However, Renault decided to retire Kevin Magnussen’s car midway through the race because of damage sustained when he was hit from behind by Daniil Kvyat as the field bunched up at the first corner.

It was a miserable day for Haas with Romain Grosjean pitched into the gravel after suffering brake failure while Esteban Gutierrez retired when his front left wheel flew off the car when he was out on track.

So a crazy start with previous Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel knocked out with bold move. Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton leading comfortably until a fire exit… And yet a popular win for Daniel Ricciardo.

As for Nico Rosberg. Get bashed from Vettel at Turn 1 on opening lap. Recovered from the back to finish third and extends his lead in the drivers’ standings to 23 points. The battle for the title continues with five races left.

Malaysian Grand Prix, race results after 56 laps:
1    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault   56    1h37m12.776s
2    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    56    2.443s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    56    25.516s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    56    28.785s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    56    1m01.582s
6    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    56    1m03.794s
7    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    56    1m05.205s
8    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    56    1m14.062s
9    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    56    1m21.816s
10    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    56    1m35.466s
11    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    56    1m38.878s
12    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    55    1 Lap
13    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    55    1 Lap
14    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    55    1 Lap
15    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    55    1 Lap
16    Esteban Ocon    Manor-Mercedes    55    1 Lap
–    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    46    Retirement
–    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    40    Engine
–    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    39    Retirement
–    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    17    Retirement
–    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    7    Brakes
–    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    0    Collision

Drivers’ standings:
1    Nico Rosberg    288
2    Lewis Hamilton    265
3    Daniel Ricciardo    204
4    Kimi Raikkonen    160
5    Sebastian Vettel    153
6    Max Verstappen    147
7    Valtteri Bottas    80
8    Sergio Perez    74
9    Nico Hulkenberg    50
10    Fernando Alonso    42
11    Felipe Massa    41
12    Carlos Sainz    30
13    Romain Grosjean    28
14    Daniil Kvyat    25
15    Jenson Button    19
16    Kevin Magnussen    7
17    Jolyon Palmer    1
18    Pascal Wehrlein    1
19    Stoffel Vandoorne    1
20    Esteban Gutierrez    0
21    Marcus Ericsson    0
22    Felipe Nasr    0
23    Rio Haryanto    0
24    Esteban Ocon    0

Constructors’ standings:
1    Mercedes    553
2    Red Bull-Renault    359
3    Ferrari    313
4    Force India-Mercedes    124
5    Williams-Mercedes    121
6    McLaren-Honda    62
7    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    47
8    Haas-Ferrari    28
9    Renault    8
10    Manor-Mercedes    1
11    Sauber-Ferrari    0

Next race: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka. October 7-9.

5 thoughts to “Riccardo wins as Hamilton retires from Sepang”

  1. Lewis Hamilton says “something just doesn’t feel right” about the number of failures he has suffered in Formula 1 this year following his Malaysian GP engine blowing up.

    The world champion was in the lead of the race at Sepang, trying to build a gap over the Red Bull drivers behind to allow him to make another pitstop.

    His engine then failed without warning on the start/finish straight, with flames coming from the back of the Mercedes as Hamilton parked up at Turn 1, losing crucial ground in the world championship battle with team-mate Nico Rosberg, who finished third.

    “I just can’t believe that there’s eight Mercedes cars [on the grid] and only my engines have been the ones that have been going this year,” Hamilton told TV crews after the race.

    “Something just doesn’t feel right but there’s nothing I can do about it.

    “It’s just odd. There’s been 43 engines from Mercedes and only mine have gone.”

    Hamilton said he had not turned the engine up while pushing out front, and he has no idea if reliability will be good enough to fight back in the title race.

    “I’ve just got to move on,” he said. “We did everything we could this weekend, I did everything I could.

    “It’s a brand new engine, I’ve done one race with it.

    “These next five races I know we’ve got it in us [to win the title], me, my engineers, my mechanics.

    “But who knows what those next engines I have are going to do.

    “Right now, I don’t even know if my car is going to make it.

    “I’m just going to keep my head down and hope for the best.”

    Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe said there have been no signs this year explaining why Hamilton has suffered so many failures.

    “It’s difficult, this can be a very harsh sport but no failure is planned,” said Lowe.

    “We work as hard as we can to increase reliability and, in fact, we have year on year increased reliability.

    “But for some reason, which is completely unrelated to any intention or any individual performance a number of things have fallen on Lewis’s car this year.

    “Far more than any other car. We have eight Mercedes power units in the pitlane.

    “For some reason, which honestly we have investigated, there is no pattern that would link that to why it should fall on Lewis’s car.

    “That’s how things sometimes turn.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  2. Malaysian Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo held off hard-charging team mate Max Verstappen to win an incident-filled 2016 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix on Sunday, after long-time leader Lewis Hamilton retired following a fiery Mercedes engine failure. In the second Mercedes Nico Rosberg came through the pack after early drama to finish third and extend his championship lead over Hamilton to 23 points.

    That was despite Rosberg picking up a 10-second time penalty for a mid-race clash with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who finished fourth. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas took fifth ahead of the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, split by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who came from the back row to take seventh. Team mate Jenson Button was ninth in his 300th Grand Prix, as fellow Briton Jolyon Palmer took his first F1 point with 10th for Renault.

    Ricciardo finally got his payback for his Monaco loss earlier in the year, as he came through a brutal battle with Verstappen which became one for victory after Hamilton’s Mercedes had blown up when well ahead on the 41st lap. It was the fourth win of his F1 career.

    It came after an intense Ricciardo-Verstappen fight on the 39th lap, when they ran wheel-to-wheel as the Australian refused to concede to the Dutchman, and a real battle was expected as the Red Bulls assumed the first two places, but when both drivers were given “have a drink” and “take a drink” messages after stopping together under the Virtual Safety Car for the final time at the end of that fateful 41st lap, it was clear the contest was over. The Red Bull team had lost the popular Ricciardo the win in Monte Carlo, but today they made it up to him.

    The race had begun with drama, with Hamilton taking the lead but Sebastian Vettel making a huge mess of Turn 1. The Ferrari driver had squeezed up to fourth ahead of Verstappen, but after minor contact with the Red Bull in the braking zone he damaged his left-front suspension as he shoved Rosberg into a spin. Vettel was out immediately, while the championship leader fell to 17th. But this was to be another race that characterised the ever-fluctuating fortunes of the two Mercedes drivers in 2016.

    Hamilton led Ricciardo until he pitted for the first time on the 20th lap, switching from soft Pirelli tyres to the mandatory hards. That put Ricciardo into the lead until he did likewise a lap later, whereupon Verstappen went ahead. Red Bull had cannily pitted the Dutchman as early as the ninth lap for a fresh set of soft tyres, and he kept the lead from Hamilton and Ricciardo until he stopped for hards on the 27th lap.

    Things were brewing up nicely as Hamilton indulged in a bit of fastest-lap setting ‘Hammertime’, and he had opened up a lead of 22.7s by the 40th lap ahead of his planned second stop. But that never came, and it will forever remain a moot point whether he, or Verstappen, might have been the ultimate victor. As he headed for Turn 1 on his 41st lap, his Mercedes engine belched flame and expired, leaving the man who was about to retake the world championship points lead after a perfect weekend to contemplate a 23-point deficit with five races to go and voice questions of his Mercedes team over the numerous failures he has encountered this season.

    That drama seemed to pave the way for a real fight to the finish between the Red Bulls. Instead, their demonstration run led to lots of ‘shoe-drinking’ on the podium, where an elated Ricciardo handed out bootfulls of champagne to team boss Christian Horner, a cheerful Verstappen and even Rosberg, who may have been the happiest of them all after one of the luckiest days of his career.

    The German had bumped his way past Raikkonen’s Ferrari to grab fourth in Turn 2 on the 38th lap, but later got a 10s penalty for what stewards deemed an unnecessary collision. Boosting his engine to qualifying mode for a few laps enabled him to open up the necessary gap over the Finn to keep his podium place.

    Behind the remaining Ferrari, which was variously troubled by brake temperature and battery harvesting problems, Bottas executed a fine one-stop strategy for Williams in a race in which his team mate Felipe Massa started from the pit lane and finished 13th after his car stalled at the start of the formation lap. That, however, was not enough to put the team back ahead of Force India, as Perez took a hard-fought sixth place and Hulkenberg eighth. The latter was sandwiched between the two McLarens, as Alonso drove a beautiful race to seventh from the back of the grid, and Button took ninth in his 300th grand prix. There was good news for another Briton, as Palmer’s 10th place earned him his long awaited first championship point.

    Carlos Sainz was 11th for Toro Rosso ahead of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, Massa, brake-troubled Daniil Kvyat in the second Toro Rosso, and the battling Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon, the latter having picked up not one, but two five-second time penalties for speeding in the pit lane.

    Romain Grosjean spun into the gravel and retirement on Lap 9 after a suspected brake failure on his Haas coming into the final turn, and team mate Esteban Gutierrez looked to have similar issues when the left-front wheel flew from the Mexican’s car at speed on lap 42. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr were the other non-finishers.

  3. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg recovered from a Turn 1 chaos and blamed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, saying he was out of control. Autosport.com has the details.

    Nico Rosberg has blamed Sebastian Vettel for their first corner collision in the Malaysian Grand Prix, describing the four-times Formula 1 champion as “out of control”.

    Rosberg spun as a result of the collision and dropped to the back of the field before recovering to third, while Vettel retired with suspension damage.

    “I got T-boned by a four-time world champion, out of control,” said Rosberg of the incident.

    “I thought I was finished after Turn 1. I didn’t think a podium would be possible, so I’m happy with that.

    “I know how terrible it was in that moment.”

    Vettel was on the inside line attempting to pass Red Bull driver Max Verstappen when Rosberg cut back to the inside from a wide line.

    Vettel believed there was nothing he could do to avoid the collision, saying that Rosberg was entitled to drive as he did while hinting Verstappen did contribute to what happened.

    “I tried to race Max into Turn 1, Nico picked a different line ahead, which is his right, and unfortunately we made contact,” said Vettel.

    “I was squeezed to the inside, I tried to avoid it as much as I could but I couldn’t avoid the contact.

    “I was braking at the same point as him [Max], he was squeezing me down to the inside because he’s racing and both of us would have made the corner no problem.

    “Racing him is moving around, everybody knows now.

    “If you are squeezed to the inside, your angle doesn’t get any better for Turn 1 so I was trying to turn in and get the corner.

    “I did make the corner no problem, I wasn’t braking massively too late, or too late at all, but Nico tried to cut back to fight Lewis.”

    Verstappen, who finished second blamed Vettel for the incident, having dropped to sixth as he avoided the resulting melee.

    “In Turn 1, I braked late but was OK,” said Verstappen.

    “Sebastian braked, had no space and he T-boned Nico so I had to avoid all the debris.”

  4. Following a fire exit from the Malaysian Grand Prix, in which Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire, there was many conspiracy theories that Mercedes wanted the reigning champion not to win. Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda slams ‘sabotage’ talk. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called talk of Mercedes sabotaging Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 championship hopes “ridiculous and stupid”.

    Hamilton retired from the lead of the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday with another engine failure, prompting the world champion to declare “something doesn’t feel right” about the number of problems he has had compared to the other seven Mercedes-powered cars on the grid.

    But Lauda believes those comments have been misinterpreted, with people reading more into Hamilton’s words than they should.

    “I know Lewis very well, and he will not accuse the team,” Lauda told reporters in the Sepang paddock.

    “This interpretation I cannot accept. What do you guys think, suddenly we start to sabotage?

    “Why? It’s completely ridiculous and stupid.

    “We work for both cars in the same way. All these questions are ridiculous.”

    Hamilton said he felt like “something or someone doesn’t want me to win this year”, which Lauda also had no issue with.

    “He can mean anybody. This is a wide interpretation,” he said.

    “If I am unlucky and I can’t find an explanation I say if there is a God then I have done something wrong or he doesn’t like me.

    “If a driver is upset – I have been upset a couple of times in my racing career and I said some rubbish.

    “I don’t want to say Lewis said rubbish, but these things can happen.

    “It’s emotion, which is fully acceptable and there is nothing wrong.”

    Hamilton says he will push Mercedes for an explanation on his poor reliability this year compared to the manufacturer’s other cars.

    “My questions really are to Mercedes,” he said.

    “We’ve got so many engines made for eight drivers and only mine are the ones that are failing this year.

    “Someone has to give me some answers because it’s not acceptable.

    “We’re fighting for the championship and only mine are failing. That doesn’t sit right with me.

    “There have been many decisive races and this is one of those.

    “43 engines are made for all eight drivers from Mercedes-Benz and only mine are blowing up.

    “I can’t get my head around why that is the case – something doesn’t feel right.

    “But there’s nothing I can do but keep hoping for better weekends.”

  5. Sebastian Vettel has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the next Formula 1 grand prix in Japan following his first-corner collision with Nico Rosberg in Malaysia.

    The stewards, led by BRDC president Derek Warwick at Sepang, deemed Ferrari driver Vettel to have made “a small error” that ultimately cost championship leader Rosberg “multiple positions”.

    The stewards’ verdict read: “Having thoroughly reviewed the video, and having spoken to the driver concerned, the stewards determined that although the cars involved in the incident were all moving at relatively similar speeds, the driver of car five [Vettel] made a small error entering to the inside of Turn 1 that led to the contact with the driver of car 6 [Rosberg].

    “As a consequence, car six was caused to spin from second place and lose multiple positions, which the stewards determined was predominantly the fault of the driver of car five, and therefore ordered the penalty for causing a collision.”

    Vettel has also been handed two superlicence penalty points and now has four overall for the past 12-month period.

    Rosberg claimed he was “torpedoed by a four-time world champion” in the incident, which happened when Vettel dived up the inside of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

    Vettel collided with the right-rear of Rosberg’s Mercedes, but with the Ferrari driver coming off far worse as the accident broke the front-left suspension and forced him to retire.

    Rosberg was fortunate to emerge from the clash with no damage to his car, and although the spin sent him to the back of the field, he recovered to claim third behind a Red Bull one-two spearheaded by Daniel Ricciardo.

    Source: Autosport.com

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