Rosberg celebrates 200th race with Singapore GP win

Nico Rosberg seized the championship lead from team-mate Lewis Hamilton after winning the Singapore GP.

Nico Rosberg was back on top in the F1 driver's standings after winning the Singapore GP.   -  Reuters

Nico Rosberg dodged brake issues, strategy confusions and a rapidly closing Daniel Ricciardo in the final stages to win the Singapore Grand Prix on his 200th grand prix start here at the Marina Bay street circuit on Sunday.

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This is Rosberg’s eighth win of the season and third in as many races giving him an eight point lead in the driver’s championship ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third.

Rosberg who was leading the race comfortably at one stage was made to sweat for the win in the final part of the race once the three drivers behind him made a late strategy switch to a three-stop strategy.

This left the German on older tyres under attack from Ricciardo on fresher tyres catching him at more than a second per lap. The German however managed to eek out final bits of performance from his worn tyres to win the race by just half a second.

Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Ferrari after running third for a brief while, when he overtook Hamilton when the latter made a mistake. But sadly for the Finn lost out on the podium spot after the final pit stops.

Sebastian Vettel, who had to start from the back of the grid after mechanical issues to his car in qualifying on Saturday, produced a stellar driver to finished fifth behind his teammate.

On the opening lap, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg crashed out before turn one when he was tagged by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz after getting a good start from eighth on the grid.

The safety car was brought out immediately to recover the Force India on the main straight. Once the safety car was called back in, Rosberg immediately took control of the race opening a 2.1 second lap to Ricciardo after the third lap.

Max Verstappen who started fourth on the grid had a poor start slipping to eighth and had a tussle with Daniil Kvyat, the driver he replaced at Red Bull earlier in the season, but could only recover to sixth.

Within few laps into the race, the Mercedes drivers were constantly told to manage their brakes in the early part of the stages and had to back off significantly.

After the first round of pitstops, Rosberg led from Ricciardo followed by Hamilton and Raikkonen.

Kimi made a move on Hamilton on lap 34 when the latter locked up his tyres and ran wide just a lap before the duo made their second pit stops.

The top four were all running on the most durable soft tyres and looked to go till the end when Mercedes made the call to put Hamilton on to a three-stop on lap 46 to recover third.

Ferrari then decided to cover Raikkonen with a stop on the next lap but Hamilton’s outlap on fresher tyres was enough to get him the jump on the Ferrari and take third place.

Ricciardo then followed suit with his third stop of the race forcing Mercedes to consider putting Rosberg. But the German had traffic with backmarkers and would have lost the lead if he had pitted and decided to stay out on old tyres. At one point Ricciardo looked set to catch Rosberg with four laps to go but the latter had managed to save enough to starve off the attack.

Force India’s Sergio Perez starting 17th on the grid produced a fine race to finish eighth and the four points moved his side to fourth in the constructors standings, one point ahead of Williams, who failed to score.

Rosberg who scored his 22nd win, became only the fourth winner of the Singapore Grand Prix with the previous eight wins shared between Hamilton, Vettel and Fernando Alonso.