Red Bull Racing became only the second team this season to score a one two finish when Daniel Ricciardo led his young Dutch teammate, Max Verstappen, across the line after 56 dramatic laps of the Sepang International Circuit this afternoon.
This was Ricciardo’s first win of the season, Red Bull’s second after Max Verstappen took victory in Spain, while the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg finished third.
Lewis Hamilton got the start he so desired and went straight into the lead while behind chaos ensued. The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg all tried to go into the corner at the same time. It ended up with Verstappen in third behind his teammate in second, Nico Rosberg spinning and eventually ending up at the rear of the field, while Vettel was forced to retire due to broken suspension.
Rosberg fought back gallantly as his teammate continued to lead the race through virtual safety cars, losing the lead just once after his first pit stop but regaining his position at the front of the field when the two Red Bulls came in for their stops.
With a 20 second lead over the charging Max Verstappen, who didn’t need to pit again, Hamilton only needed another handful of seconds to get the pit stop he needed and still retain the lead when all of a sudden flames were coming out of his Mercedes engine.
His sad wails of “Oh no no no….” can still be heard by fans and the team before he climbed from his smoking Mercedes and sat dejectedly on his haunches on the grass.
After collecting himself somewhat before meeting with the media, he stated that ‘something didn’t feel right’ in regard to the fact that out of all the Mercedes engines on the grid this season it has only been his that has had these reliability issues.
He was asked if he turned the engine mode up to pull out a big enough gap over Verstappen, to which he sadly shook his head and said…’no, not at all.’ “It was a brand new engine... it's just odd. There's been like 43 engines for Mercedes and only mine have gone. It doesn’t feel right.”
At this stage Rosberg had worked his way up to fifth behind Kimi Raikkonen, but he forced his way past the Ferrari up into fourth, something the stewards gave him a ten second time penalty.
The two Red Bulls were dicing for position as Verstappen wanted to hunt Hamilton down for the win, but when Hamilton’s race came to an abrupt end, the Red Bulls seemed to stop fighting each other and focus on scoring the team’s first one two finish since Brazil 2013, their first of the hybrid era.
"No hard feelings to Lewis but I will take the win," Daniel Ricciardo said on the podium, after he once again drank champagne from his shoe….
Rosberg managed to pull out more than a ten second gap over Kimi Raikkonen, leaving the Ferrari to finish fourth ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Fernando Alonso, who started last on the grid, once again came through the field to finish in P7.
Due to the fact that the Mercedes team were outscored by Red Bull, the constructors championship goes on to the next race in Japan in just 7 days’ time.
1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1hr37min12
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, + 2.443
3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, + 25.516
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, + 28.785
5. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, +61.582
6. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 63.794
7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 65.205
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 74.062
9. Jenson Button, McLaren, + 81.816
10. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, + 95.466
11. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, + 98.878
12. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 lap
13. Felipe Massa, Williams, + 1 lap
14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, + 1 lap
15. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, + 1 lap
16. Esteban Ocon, Manor, + 1 lap
Felipe Nasr, Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Gutierrez, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Sebastian Vettel failed to finish.