Ricciardo Victorious In Malaysia

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo celebrates hi win in the Grand Prix of Malaysia. [Photo courtesy of Mohd Rasfan of AFP/Getty Images]

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo celebrates hi win in the Grand Prix of Malaysia. [Photo courtesy of Mohd Rasfan of AFP/Getty Images]

For the last two seasons of the formula one race calendar, AMG Mercedes and their two drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have dominated grands prix races. There have been a few times like for instance, Spain this season, in which incidents have made someone from another team win.

Sunday afternoon at the Grand Prix of Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit, was one of those moments.

Leading the race since the start, Hamilton was hoping that he could catch Rosberg in the standings with a convincing win, but on lap 41, disaster stuck when his power unit failed, giving Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo his first win in over two seasons. Two make matters worse, his Dutch teammate Max Vertsappen finished in second, giving the Red Bull Racing Team their first 1-2 finish in over three years. Rosberg finished in third, giving him a 23-point lead in the world championship with five rounds remaining.

On the podium, Ricciardo dedicated his victory to Jules Bianchi, who died two years ago of head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

“I want to dedicate this one to Jules, as well,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for a victory and waiting to dedicate this to him. “My life definitely changed after that incident. I’m extremely grateful and appreciative of everything that I’ve got. I’ll dedicate this to him.”

Things got crazy from the start of the race at turn one when Sebastian Vettel tried to dive inside Verstappen and tagged Rosberg instead. The Mercedes was thrown into a spin, but Rosberg recovered and spent all afternoon catching up thorough the field. Vettel on the other hand, was worse off by damaging his front suspension and became one of six drivers who failed to finish the race. Rosberg was later issued a 10 second time penalty for causing contact with Kimi Raikkonen while overtaking him on lap 38. Something that his manager, Toto Wolff was not too happy about.

“The penalty is just complete nonsense,” he said. “It’s not what I want to focus on because we have let Lewis down today and that should be something that we are beating up ourselves [for] and not moan about an unfair penalty that didn’t make any difference because Nico was still third [at the end of the race]. “But over a couple of months ago we decided together [in Formula One] that we wanted to allow the racing between all the cars and if it wasn’t 100 percent clear that someone was at fault then we would let them race against each other … and then this. I don’t know, it is for others to comment and not my main priority after that race today.”

Hamilton had lead from the start, getting away from his teammate early and leading for the early part of the race. Both Verstappen and Ricciardo battled it out for second place, but neither driver would not expect that right after 40 laps their chances became more improved for position when Hamilton right at the start of the 41st lap, began to encounter smoke coming from the rear of his car. With flames shooting out of the Mercedes tailpipe around the first corner, Hamilton shut down the car, got out with the car still on the track, and put his head in his hands, realizing that his chances to win his 4th title are beginning to slip away. With the virtual safety car in place, both Red Bulls dived into the pits for fresher tires, giving Ricciardo, who was leading in second place, the chance to assume the lead. But Hamilton thought after the race that his luck was not in comparison to his teammate, Rosberg, was going very well.

“I’ve just to move on.” He said. “The guys did a fantastic job this weekend, we did everything we could. I did everything I could. I just can’t believe that there’s eight Mercedes cars and only my engines that have been going this year. Something just doesn’t feel right. There’s nothing I can do about it. Something just doesn’t feel right.”

Verstappen, who had the chance to overtake his teammate for the lead, had the fresher tires. But when Hamilton’s car expired, Ricciardo and Verstappen now had the same kind of compound, which neutralized the race and gave Ricciardo his first win in two seasons.

Raikkonen finished in fourth, despite all the mishaps, while Valterri Bottas took fifth, after starting the race from 11th. Sergio Perez, fresh from a new contract with Force India for next season, finished in sixth. Fernando Alonso proved that his McLaren-Honda might have something in the future by taking seventh, while Nico Hulkenberg was eighth. Jenson Button gave McLaren a double points finish in ninth, while Jolyon Palmer, already under threat in his job at Renault, proved his critics wrong by scoring his first points of the year in tenth.

The win for Ricciardo has been an improvement on the team following many problems with the engine from their supplier, Renault, which nearly cost them to be sponsored. But a change of direction from the French manufacturer has improved on the two-year deal and now, along with the excellent chassis, the results are beginning to show, something that Ricciardo agrees with, along with the support from his family.

“After Monaco in particular was obviously mixed emotions.” Ricciardo added. “It was a hard one to take. I felt we’ve come through that, as a team we’ve learnt a lot. As a person, it made me a bit stronger. I think I’ve only got better since then. I want to thank my parents. They’re not here this weekend but definitely without them… I think just simple things, the way they supported me growing up. I had a good upbringing, I’m thankful for that. I think it’s definitely helped me get to this point. My sister as well. Obviously Lewis got the lead and got his problem. I’m not really one for believing in a whole lot, but obviously it went the other way in Monaco. I’ll take this today, no hard feelings to Lewis, but I’ll definitely take the win.”

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