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Malaysian F1 Grand Prix 2016 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights, Reaction

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - OCTOBER 02:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer leads Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on October 2, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo won a dramatic Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton retired with engine failure late on.

Ricciardo eventually held off team-mate Max Verstappen for the chequered flag after some pulsating racing. Hamilton looked poised to take a comfortable win after team-mate Nico Rosberg was shunted down to last place after Turn 1, but the Brit's car caught ablaze with 15 laps left.

After dropping down to last position, Rosberg eventually recovered well to take the third podium position. The German now leads the F1 world championship by 23 points.

Malaysian Grand Prix: Race Result
POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIRED
13Daniel RicciardoRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER561:37:12.776
233Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER56+2.443s
36Nico RosbergMERCEDES56+25.516s
47Kimi RaikkonenFERRARI56+28.785s
577Valtteri BottasWILLIAMS MERCEDES56+61.582s
611Sergio PerezFORCE INDIA MERCEDES56+63.794s
714Fernando AlonsoMCLAREN HONDA56+65.205s
827Nico HulkenbergFORCE INDIA MERCEDES56+74.062s
922Jenson ButtonMCLAREN HONDA56+81.816s
1030Jolyon PalmerRENAULT56+95.466s
1155Carlos SainzTORO ROSSO FERRARI56+98.878s
129Marcus EricssonSAUBER FERRARI55+1 lap
1319Felipe MassaWILLIAMS MERCEDES55+1 lap
1426Daniil KvyatTORO ROSSO FERRARI55+1 lap
1594Pascal WehrleinMRT MERCEDES55+1 lap
1631Esteban OconMRT MERCEDES55+1 lap
NC12Felipe NasrSAUBER FERRARI46DNF
NC44Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES40DNF
NC21Esteban GutierrezHAAS FERRARI39DNF
NC20Kevin MagnussenRENAULT17DNF
NC8Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI7DNF
NC5Sebastian VettelFERRARI0DNF
F1.com
Formula 1 2016: Driver Standings
POSDRIVERNATIONALITYCARPTS
1Nico RosbergGERMERCEDES288
2Lewis HamiltonGBRMERCEDES265
3Daniel RicciardoAUSRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER204
4Kimi RaikkonenFINFERRARI160
5Sebastian VettelGERFERRARI153
6Max VerstappenNEDRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER147
7Valtteri BottasFINWILLIAMS MERCEDES80
8Sergio PerezMEXFORCE INDIA MERCEDES74
9Nico HulkenbergGERFORCE INDIA MERCEDES50
10Fernando AlonsoESPMCLAREN HONDA42
11Felipe MassaBRAWILLIAMS MERCEDES41
12Carlos SainzESPTORO ROSSO FERRARI30
13Romain GrosjeanFRAHAAS FERRARI28
14Daniil KvyatRUSTORO ROSSO FERRARI25
15Jenson ButtonGBRMCLAREN HONDA19
16Kevin MagnussenDENRENAULT7
17Jolyon PalmerGBRRENAULT1
18Pascal WehrleinGERMRT MERCEDES1
19Stoffel VandoorneBELMCLAREN HONDA1
20Esteban GutierrezMEXHAAS FERRARI0
21Marcus EricssonSWESAUBER FERRARI0
22Felipe NasrBRASAUBER FERRARI0
23Rio HaryantoINAMRT MERCEDES0
24Esteban OconFRAMRT MERCEDES0
F1.com

The start has proved so decisive so often this season, and once again, it was crucial at Sepang

Rosberg was facing the wrong way after Turn 1.
Rosberg was facing the wrong way after Turn 1.MOHD RASFAN/Getty Images

After a solid start, Rosberg settled in behind Hamilton into Turn 1. But the German was caught up in a tangle between Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel and ended up facing the wrong way.

Per the F1 Twitter feed, it was a disappointing start for the Mercedes man but a critical one for the Ferrari:

Formula 1 @F1

LAP 1/56: Huge drama at the start VET collides with ROS VET = OUT ROS = P21 VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED #MalaysiaGP https://t.co/GN4gSY9ujZ

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Formula 1 @F1

LAP 1/56 📻 VES: "Sebastian is crazy...he went into Rosberg like an idiot" #MalaysiaGP 🇲🇾 https://t.co/cVzOcnRmbe

Vettel’s elimination triggered a virtual safety car, and with Rosberg at the back of the field, things couldn’t have worked out better for Hamilton.

Rosberg, as his team-mate had to do in Spa, now had to plot his way back through, and after another virtual safety car, he was making a pretty decent job of it. After 13 laps, he was up into the points positions.

Meanwhile, there was an interesting battle developing up front between the Red Bulls and the leading Mercedes, with Verstappen jumping into the pits early in an attempt to undercut Hamilton and Ricciardo.

Per motor racing journalist Will Buxton, it was looking like a savvy move:

Will Buxton @wbuxtonofficial

Verstappen in the pound seats right now. Hamilton will have to light it up to maintain advantage when he eventually stops.

Indeed, Verstappen was making plenty of time when he resumed racing, with the aforementioned duo staying out on track. It meant that once Hamilton did pit, he came back out a long way behind the Dutchman, and with the hard tyres on, Mercedes were looking for him to go to the end of the race.

It meant a fascinating battle was in store between the front three, with tyre management the order of the day for the usually aggressive Hamilton.

Hamilton looked to be in complete control of this one.
Hamilton looked to be in complete control of this one.MANAN VATSYAYANA/Getty Images

Further back, Rosberg was continuing to make rapid progress, producing some clinical overtaking to move up into a creditable fifth spot. However, the German’s momentum was shunted when he ran up behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari on the same, but fresher, tyres. 

Rosberg’s strong work on the hard tyre was being replicated by Hamilton up top, too, as the leader sought to build a gap to Verstappen, who had pitted.

As noted by F1 journalist James Allen, Red Bull’s hopes of a win were fading as a result:

James Allen @Jamesallenonf1

VERST has to take Hards yet. He will look to get to L34/35 then have a huge tyre offset to HAM to pass him for the win at the end? #F1

James Allen @Jamesallenonf1

mmm...Looks like @MercedesAMGF1 a bit too quick on the Hard tyre for Red B to beat them today #F1 #MalaysiaGP

But just when Hamilton seemed to be taking control of the contest, his hopes of victory went up in smoke—quite literally. On Lap 41, fire appeared on the back of his Mercedes, and the dejected champion pulled up on the side of the track.

Per Sky Sports F1, here’s how his car ended up:

Sky Sports F1 🏎 @SkySportsF1

Lewis Hamilton's engine blows up, and his car is on fire! He's out! A blow to his championship hopes. Watch SS F1 or https://t.co/uh33QPvPf4 https://t.co/sRS5xcwuGW

It was a huge blow to Hamilton and a major boost for Rosberg. It also set the race up perfectly for Red Bull, with Ricciardo in the lead and Verstappen in second; the team brought both drivers in to the pits and seemed to set up a battle for the chequered flag.

The drama continued further back, too, as Rosberg was slapped with a 10-second penalty for contact with Raikkonen during an overtake. However, the German was able to put sufficient distance between himself and the Ferrari to take third.

The Red Bull drivers were able to take the top two spots.
The Red Bull drivers were able to take the top two spots.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Up front, all eyes were on the Red Bull pair to see if they’d tussle for the win or come home in a procession. However, it seemed the chance of one-two finish wouldn’t be risked, and Ricciardo's comfortable finish was at odds with an otherwise enthralling race.

Hamilton will be cursing his luck after this gutting retirement. The Briton looked in excellent shape to take the race win and move back into the lead of the world championship. Rosberg will breathe a sigh of relief having diced with danger throughout this contest and somehow still extended his lead.

For Ricciardo, this will be a sweet win, having endured some low moments at the races in Monaco and Spain earlier in the campaign. Verstappen added to his excellent reputation with another fine podium finish, although he will be frustrated at not being able to get past his team-mate for the race win.

As noted here, Ricciardo celebrated in his trademark style:

James Allen @Jamesallenonf1

Fantastic! @danielricciardo gets VERS, ROS and Horner to drink from his shoe!! Great character #F1 #MalaysiaGP

Formula 1 @F1

RIC: "It's been pretty emotional. Two years since my last win. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported me. It's overwhelming" #MalaysiaGP https://t.co/rgZmLnPmcN

Rosberg was also happy with his win following a disappointing start:

Formula 1 @F1

ROS: "I thought it was all over at Turn 1. I'm delighted to have been able to come back from it" #MalaysiaGP https://t.co/GBQkDvjmS2

Afterwards, Hamilton was naturally unhappy. "I've just got to move on," he said, per Sky Sports. "I just can't believe that there's eight Mercedes cars and only my engines are the ones that have gone this way. Something just doesn't feel right. It was a brand new engine...it is what it is. It's just odd, there's been like 43 engines for Mercedes and only mine have gone."

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