Nico Rosberg won the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix from pole despite pressure from second place’s Daniel Ricciardo late in the race, propelling him into the Formula 1 driver’s championship lead. His Mercedes-AMG Petronas teammate Lewis Hamilton rounded out the podium in third.
Scuderia Ferrari, meanwhile, missed the podium entirely. Kimi Raikkonen turned up fourth after battling with Lewis Hamilton in the race’s early stages. His teammate Sebastian Vettel, who started at the back of the grid after a disaster of a qualifying session Saturday, had an expert drive that saw him gain 17 positions and turn up 5th overall. For those efforts, Vettel was crowned F1’s Driver of the Day.
Drama unfolded immediately after the lights went out. Rosberg and Ricciardo got away clean, however Red Bull’s Max Verstappen experienced clutch issues and got a slow start. This bunched the field up behind him, which eventually led to Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz clipping Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg as they looked to pass the 18-year old Verstappen. Hulkenberg was sent into the wall, forcing him to retire from the race and bringing out the yellow flag.
Things stayed relatively calm when racing got back underway until Lap 33 when Raikkonen slipped past Hamilton. Ferrari then pitted Raikkonen one lap later for soft tires, with Mercedes doing the same with Hamilton on Lap 35. The Briton then began to move in on the Ferrari before Mercedes called him back into the bits for Ultrasoft tires on Lap 45. Ferrari responded by putting fresh Ultrasofts on Raikkonen’s car, but by then Hamilton had already gone past, forcing Ferrari to hopelessly give chase.
While Raikkonen and Hamilton battled for the final podium spot, the battle for first was heating up. Rosberg had a 25.8 second lead by Lap 48, however Ricciardo began to close in on him and by Lap 49 had made up an incredible four seconds on the German. By Lap 53 the gap was down to 11.8s and by Lap 60 was just 2.0s back.
Unfortunately, Ricciardo never got close enough to challenge for the win, giving Rosberg his eighth victory of the season and putting him eight points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the driver’s championship.
Click here for full results from Singapore.