L&T Motorsport

Rosberg wins after being run close by Ricciardo

Nico Rosberg survived immense pressure from a resilient Daniel Ricciardo to take victory at the Singapore Grand Prix and overtake Lewis Hamilton in the championship standings.

Before the start of the race Grosjean was forced to retire with a mechanical fault. The race started dramatically as the safety car was deployed on the first lap when in the run to turn one Nico Hulkenburg found himself sandwiched in-between the two Toro Rossos, made contact with Sainz and was sent hurtling into the barrier. Button and Bottas also made contact on lap one leading to the two of them being forced to pit. Button came in with a damaged front wing and Bottas with a puncture. Bottas once again found himself in the spotlight when he came under investigation for an unsafe release but the Finn survived the investigation without getting a penalty. Ocon was not so lucky as he received a five second penalty for overtaking under the safety car.

The biggest winner of the start was definitely Alonso who gained four places at the start while the biggest loser that managed to keep running has to be Verstappen who got bogged down at the start. Upon the restart an absolute disaster nearly occurred. A marshal got caught out as the cars came roaring down the start finish straight while picking up a piece of debris. The stray marshal managed to run off the track just before the train of cars came into his path. Sainz was unlucky after he was shown a black and orange flag as a potentially dangerous piece of his barge board came loose and began to flap. The damage was not performance impacting but if it became detached it could cause trouble.

The first round of pit stops for the front runners eventually came around, with drivers such as Perez, Gutierrez and Vettel being the cars furthest up the order who were yet to pit. After the stops Kvyat and Verstappen dramatically fought it out on track. The Dutch driver who replaced Kvyat at Red Bull this season constantly tried to get past the Russian. The whole incident began when Kvyat ran wide at turn 13 allowing Verstappen to have a go at overtaking at turn 14 but Kvyat held his position. Verstappen tried another move on the outside of turn 7 but Kvyat persisted in his drive to keep Verstappen behind. Kvyat defended vehemently despite the issues that it could cause within the Red Bull system. Despite his inferior car Kvyat managed to keep Verstappen behind him, constantly on the limit yet constantly defending in a fair manner. A brilliant Kvyat looked like he finally had got his mojo back.

The battle for third raged on as Kimi Raikkonen took huge chunks out of Hamilton’s lead in third place. Eventually on lap 33 Raikkonen got past Hamilton with an expertly calculated move up the inside with the two somehow managing to avoid making contact. The second round of stops for the front runners soon came around but prior to this Button retired from a race that went miserably for him, as did Bottas who was struggling since getting a puncture on the first lap. Hamilton managed to jump Raikkonen for the final spot on the podium with an undercut. Meanwhile Verstappen finally fought his way past Kvyat with the Red Bull on fresher tyres flying past the helpless Toro Rosso. He soon fought his way past Alonso for sixth which was where he would finish his race.

In the final 10 laps Ricciardo began to hone in on Rosberg. The Australian whittled the gap all the way down to 5.2 seconds with 5 laps to go. But after facing traffic he was 4.6 seconds down on Rosberg. It would require an incredible effort from Ricciardo to pass Rosberg for the lead and the Australian certainly gave it an almighty try.  Ricciardo couldn’t manage it though. One lap more and he would have had a chance as he got the gap down to 0.5 by the time the two took the chequered flag.

Rosberg won the race and took the championship lead by 8 points. Ricciardo came agonisingly close to victory and yet again fell just short. Hamilton put in an average performance to finish in third. Raikkonen came fourth with team mate Sebastian Vettel’s charge from 22nd to 5th earning him the accolade of driver of the day and Verstappen came sixth after a very poor start which saw him drop from fourth to eighth. Alonso’s race fizzed out after an excellent start with the Spaniard finishing in seventh. Perez recovered from his eight place grid penalty which was awarded much to his dismay on Saturday. Kvyat raced excellently and finished ninth while Kevin Magnussen earned a point for Renault with a tenth place finish

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