This year’s Malaysia Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo score his first F1 victory since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.
The Australian driver led home a Red Bull 1-2 with Nico Rosberg rounding out the podium finishers. It was an eventful race which saw Rosberg extend his championship lead to 23 points. Championship contender Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying and started the race from pole but his Mercedes engine gave up on lap 40, leading to his second retirement of the year.
At the start of the race it was Hamilton who made the best start, maintaining his lead. Rosberg was sent into a spin following contact with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and dropped right down the order. Vettel pulled off at the side of the track with broken suspension and was subsequently handed a three place grid drop for Japan.
Rosberg faced a fight back through the field and eventually finished in third behind the hard – but fair – fighting Red Bull duo. Rosberg picked up a ten second penalty for making contact with Kimi Raikkonen as he passed but was able to finish more than ten seconds clear of the Finn. The Ferrari suffered floor damage and lost what it reported to be about three tenths per lap.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams just ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso drove a fine race to finish seventh having started last and he finished ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Jenson Button celebrated his 300th Grand Prix with a ninth place finish and points while Jolyon Palmer picked up his first ever F1 point.
The Toro Rosso duo struggled with brake issues with Carlos Sainz 11th and Daniil Kvyat 14th. Marcus Ericsson was 12th with Felipe Massa recovering to 13th having started from the pit-lane when he failed to get away on the warm-up lap. Pascal Wehrlein was 15th ahead of Esteban Ocon – who picked up two separate 5 second penalties for speeding in the pit-lane.
Felipe Nasr joined Vettel and Hamilton on the sidelines along with Kevin Magnussen. Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas lost a wheel on one of the straights causing his retirement while Romain Grosjean suffered brake failure and spun into the gravel, bringing his race to an end.
Ricciardo dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi following the race, after making Max Verstappen and Rosberg take part in celebratory ‘shoeys’ on the podium.
The next race is this weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan.