Ricciardo heads Red Bull's 1-2 triumph at Sepang
Daniel Ricciardo surprisingly won the Malaysian Grand Prix what is his first triumph in 2016. The Red Bull driver was able to benefit from the set of circumstances in the unusual race and completely deserved this victory.
The start of the race was very interesting. after Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz Jr complained about engine troubles. What was more important was the collision in which Sebastian Vettel had a contact with Nico Rosberg. The frustrated Ferrari driver was out of the race after his car was damaged while the championship leader dropped to the bottom of the grid.
Lewis Hamilton kept his lead, followed by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo while Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez were behind them. Fernando Alonso was the one who profited most from the mess at the start. The McLaren driver started from the last place but after the six laps he moved up to the 9th while his teammate Jenson Button was at the 6th position.
At the same time, Rosberg had to work a lot to get near the top. On lap 15, he moved to the 8th but still had to pit, just like the top three – Hamilton, Ricciardo, Raikkonen. Verstappen had different tactics and pitted earlier so on lap 21 he became a provisional leader but the Dutch teenager surely had to pit once more as he was the only driver from the leading group who was running on soft tyres.
After his second pit, Verstappen dropped to the third, behind Hamilton and Ricciardo. This race was quite unusual in the terms of tactics after almost every team had a different approach what caused changes in the standings. However, Hamilton was on the way to the victory but on lap 41 flames were pouring from the back of his car and the reigning champion was forced to retire.
Now two Red Bulls were on the top of the grid, followed by Rosberg, Raikkonen, and Valtteri Bottas who were well behind. Another problem for Mercedes was the fact that Rosberg was given 10-seconds penalty for causing a collision with Raikkonen earlier in the race.
With 10 laps to go, Ricciardo was only two seconds ahead of Verstappen but the Australian was calm and scored his fourth career win. This is the first 1-2 win for Red Bull since 2013 after Verstappen finished the second while Nico Rosberg was third despite his penalty.