Nico Rosberg has won the 2016 Singapore grand prix in a nail biting finish to the end for Mercedes. Daniel Ricciardo finished second only a few tenths behind for Red Bull, with Lewis Hamilton taking the final podium spot in the second Mercedes car.
At the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, just as the lights went out, the safety car was summoned just moments later. Max Verstappen had a poor start from fourth place which resulted in a domino effect behind him. Carlos Sainz in order to avoid the slow to start, Red Bull in front, veered right and clipped the rear wheel of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India. The contact spun the German around and forced him to collide with the wall on the left of the start finish straight forcing him to retire from the race. This led the safety car being required to neutralise the race to clear the track.
Verstappen dropped down the order leaving Kimi Raikkonen to slot in behind Lewis Hamilton in fourth place. when the safety car came in at the end of the second lap of the race, Hamilton was all over the back of Ricciardo at the restart, but eventually backed off as he couldn’t get past the Red Bull in the opening stages of the race.
After the second round of stops for Hamilton and Raikkonen, both running third and fourth respectively, Hamilton was asked to lift and coast by his team to manage brake and tyre temperatures. This gave the Raikkonen the chance to close in slowly and by lap 25, Raikkonen started to challenge the reigning world champion for third place.
Hamilton was clearly struggling but was managing to defend his position from Raikkonen. But on lap 34, Hamilton made an error and went off track and Raikkonen closed in further and got passed him. But Raikkonen dived into the pits for soft compound tyres at the end of the lap while Hamilton stayed out.
In the following lap, Hamilton boxed to try and get ahead of Raikkonen. Despite the flawless pit stop by the Mercedes crew, Hamilton just wasn’t far ahead enough to come out ahead of the Ferrari.
On the 46th lap of the race, Mercedes tried to put pressure on Raikkonen when they called Hamilton to box for a fresh set of tyres super soft tyres. Under pressure, Ferrari seemed to fall for Mercedes’ trick and made a strategic error to call Raikkonen in, and that too for a used set of ultra soft tyres. This gave Hamilton the chance to push hard on his out lap and undercut Raikkonen. As Raikkonen was about to come out of the pit lane, it was very close, but Mercedes pulled off a successful undercut as Hamilton regained third place from the Ferrari.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo who was running in second, also decided to pit in response to Raikkonen. Ricciardo stopped for a new set of ultra softs which put pressure on the leading Mercedes of Rosberg.
But Mercedes decided against stopping the race leader and attempt at finishing the race on the tyres that seemed were capable of going the distance. But the fear that in the closing stages, Ricciardo would close in on Rosberg came true when with four laps to go, Ricciardo was only a few tenth behind Rosberg on fresh and faster tyres. However, Ricciardo never got close enough to make a move to challenge the race leader and crossed the line only half a second behind to finish second. Rosberg with the win, takes the lead in the championship.
Despite having the Ferrari closing in on him gradually, Hamilton kept his third place to the end of the race, while Raikkonen had to settle for fourth for another impulsive strategy error made by Ferrari.
The only consolation for the Italian team was that Sebastian Vettel who started right from the back of the grid, had climbed up the order and finished fifth behind Raikkonen to claim fourth and fifth for the team.
Verstappen finished sixth for Red Bull, ahead of Alonso, Perez, Kvyat and Magnussen finishing the top ten.
2016 F1 Singapore GRAND PRIX (18/09/2016)
Marina Bay Street Circuit – 5,067KM, 23 TURNS, 61 LAPS
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||+0.488s||18|
|6||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||+71.197s||8|
|7||Fernando Alonso||MCLAREN HONDA||+89.198s||6|
|8||Sergio Perez||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||+111.062s||4|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||+111.557s||2|
|11||Esteban Gutierrez||HAAS FERRARI||+1 lap||0|
|12||Felipe Massa||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||+1 lap||0|
|13||Felipe Nasr||SAUBER FERRARI||+1 lap||0|
|14||Carlos Sainz||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||+1 lap||0|
|15||Jolyon Palmer||RENAULT||+1 lap||0|
|16||Pascal Wehrlein||MRT MERCEDES||+1 lap||0|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||SAUBER FERRARI||+1 lap||0|
|18||Esteban Ocon||MRT MERCEDES||+2 laps||0|
|NC||Jenson Button||MCLAREN HONDA||DNF||0|
|NC||Valtteri Bottas||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||DNF||0|
|NC||Nico Hulkenberg||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||DNF||0|
|NC||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||DNS||0|