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10/04 2016

Daniel Ricciardo wins F1 Malaysian Grand Prix; Lewis Hamilton lashes out at Mercedes BY:  SAM HALL

Daniel Ricciardo wins F1 Malaysian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo takes the checkered flag for Red Bull Racing in Malaysia.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

HAMILTON RETIRES EARLY, BLASTS MERCEDES OVER ENGINE ISSUES

Daniel Ricciardo took his first victory of the Formula 1 season after Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton retired from the Malaysian Grand Prix with an engine failure.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and championship leader Nico Rosberg completed the podium in second and third. Rosberg extended his points lead to 23 over Hamilton with five races remaining.

Ricciardo’s win was the fourth of his F1 career in 104 career starts.

Just as they did in Spain, Red Bull Racing showed that if Mercedes has a less than perfect weekend, they will be right there to take advantage. It was their first 1-2 finish since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2013, and they are the only team other than Mercedes to manage the feat in the V6 Hybrid era.

“Firstly I’m exhausted. It’s such a hot race here. It was a race of challenges,” said Ricciardo after his first win since Belgium in 2014. “Obviously, Lewis (Hamilton) got the lead and had his problems, so I feel… I’m not really one for believing in a whole lot, but obviously it went the other way in Monaco, so I’ll take this today. No hard feelings to Lewis, but I’ll definitely take the win.”

“Two weeks ago after the race I said… we’ll win one this year, and here you go, we got there.”

Verstappen had been piling the pressure on Ricciardo before Hamilton’s retirement but, with a comfortable back to Rosberg, the team stacked both drivers in the pit box to put them on fresh soft rubber for the final charge. Verstappen was unable to close back in on Ricciardo but was more than happy to claim his third podium for the team.

“Well, finally I had a good start, so I was happy with that but then into turn one,” Verstappen said. “I braked late but I was still behind Nico, and then Sebastian (Vettel) just dived up the inside, just went really deep and there was definitely no space for that and he T-boned Nico, so I had to avoid all the debris and the two cars.

“I was closing up to Daniel and we had a good fight, a fair fight, and I think it shows a respect between us.”

Hamilton had dominated the weekend and was coasting home for what would have been an easy victory when his internal combustion engine let go. Despite suffering multiple power unit failures across the season, this is the first failure that Hamilton has suffered on race day in 2016.

“My question is to Mercedes,” Hamilton said. “We have so many engines made, but mine are the only ones failing this year. Someone need to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me.”

Hamilton had looked to be in prime position to take the championship lead away from Rosberg after early contact with Vettel sent the German to the back of the field. Vettel failed to complete a lap.

Rosberg completed a spectacular recovery drive, not dissimilar to that of Hamilton in the Belgium Grand Prix, to take the final step on the podium.

“Turn one, I though it was all over, so I’m really happy to be able to fight back in such a way all the way to the podium,” said Rosberg.

The points leader empathized with Hamilton and the problems he has had with reliability.

“Of course I’m happy with the comeback. To get all the way back on the podium, I definitely didn’t think that was going to be possible. For Lewis, I’ve been in his position, I know how terrible it is in that moment, so I’m sure he’s totally gutted.”

The result means that Mercedes has missed out on clinching the constructors title at the home of their main sponsor, Petronas, but they will need to be outscored by 21 points in Suzuka next weekend if Red Bull is to keep the championship alive.

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix results

POS DRIVER CAR BEHIND PTS
1 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 25
2 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER +2.443 secs. 18
3 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES +25.516s 15
4 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI +28.785s 12
5 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES +61.582s 10
6 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES +63.794s 8
7 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA +65.205s 6
8 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES +74.062s 4
9 Jenson Button MCLAREN HONDA +81.816s 2
10 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT +95.466s 1
11 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI +98.878s 0
12 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI +1 lap 0
13 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES +1 lap 0
14 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO FERRARI +1 lap 0
15 Pascal Wehrlein MRT MERCEDES +1 lap 0
16 Esteban Ocon MRT MERCEDES +1 lap 0
NC Felipe Nasr SAUBER FERRARI +10 laps 0
NC Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES +16 laps 0
NC Esteban Gutierrez HAAS FERRARI +17 laps 0
NC Kevin Magnussen RENAULT +39 laps 0
NC Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI +49 laps 0
NC Sebastian Vettel FERRARI +56 laps 0