Malaysian Grand Prix Engine blowout denies Hamilton at Sepang

The Formula 1 world title race took another hugely dramatic turn in Nico Rosberg's favour at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

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The Formula One world title race took another hugely dramatic turn in Nico Rosberg's favour at the Malaysia Grand Prix as an engine blowout for Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton handed Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo victory.

Rosberg has taken control of the drivers' championship with successive wins in the last three races, but Hamilton looked set to reclaim the lead going into the closing laps at the Sepang International Circuit.

Hamilton led after 41 of 56 laps with Rosberg in fourth having been as low as 16th following a first-corner incident, only for the defending champion to be undone by a cruel twist of fate as his Mercedes caught fire.

The retirement pushed Rosberg up to third, with Ricciardo holding off Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen - who had led earlier in the race after taking advantage of a pit stop during a virtual safety car period - to take the chequered flag.

While Red Bull were able to celebrate a first one-two since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, the big winner of the day was Rosberg, who now holds a 23-point lead over Hamilton.

It had looked like being a nightmare race for Rosberg after the first corner, which saw Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel collide with the Mercedes after he tried to dive down the inside of Verstappen, with Rosberg spinning as a result.

Vettel was forced to retire having suffered damage to his suspension but Rosberg recovered to work his way back up the field before Hamilton's moment of misfortune furthered the German's grip on the title fight with five races to go.

 

HAMILTON'S RACE GOES UP IN FLAMES

But for the brief period Verstappen led the way, pole-sitter Hamilton had dominated the race and was on course for a deserved seventh triumph of the season.

However, Hamilton could do nothing as smoke began to pour out of the back of his car, which then caught fire as it ground to a halt.

A horrified Hamilton shouted "No, no!" on the team radio and he now faces an even bigger challenge to stop Rosberg from taking the title.

 

ROSBERG'S ROCKY DAY ENDS IN PODIUM

Vettel's aggressive move at turn one threatened to derail Rosberg's race, but he had no difficulties in slicing through the pack to get back into podium contention.

And the luck turned in his favour as he benefited from Hamilton's blow-up and was able to survive a 10-second time penalty to keep third after bumping into Kimi Raikkonen while overtaking the Finn's Ferrari at turn two.

The punishment made no difference, with Rosberg opening up a significant gap on Raikkonen, and the three extra points could prove crucial come the end of the campaign.

 

RED BULL ATONE FOR MONACO MELTDOWN

Ricciardo was denied victory at the Monaco Grand Prix back in May having claimed pole in Monte Carlo.

On that occasion the Australian lost time at a pit stop due to his crew not having the tyres ready, handing the win to Hamilton.

But the shoe was on the other foot this time around as Ricciardo capitalised on Hamilton's retirement, and he predictably celebrated his first win since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix with a 'shoey', glugging the podium champagne through his footwear.

 

TITLE STANDINGS

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 288
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 265 (-23)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 204 (-84)
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 160 (-128)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 153 (-135)

1. Mercedes 553
2. Red Bull 359 (-194)
3. Ferrari 313 (-240)
4. Force India 124 (-429)
5. Williams 121 (-432)

 

IN THE POINTS

1. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +2.443s
3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +25.516s
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +28.785s
5. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) +61.582s
6. Sergio Perez (Force India) +63.794s
7. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) +65.205s
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +74.062s
9. Jenson Button (McLaren) +81.816s
10. Jolyon Palmer (Renault) +95.466s

 

NEXT UP

Hamilton will attempt to cut into Rosberg's advantage at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka next weekend.

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