Nico Rosberg takes Championship lead by eight points with Singapore win
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News September 18, 2016 Updated: 6:11 PM
Nico Rosberg grabbed his eighth win of the season and now leads the drivers' championship by eight points after winning this weekends Singapore Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo made an incredible closing lap push but ultimately finished second.
“In the past the Singapore track has not treated me so well, so this win is a very special one and an even more emotional one for me,” said Rosberg.
Things got off to a dramatic start when Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz moved to avoid Max Verstappen who had a bad start off the line. This lead to Sainz clipping Nico Hulkenberg, who spun off into the wall.
Lewis Hamilton continued to struggle though out the weekend. The three time World Champion was only able to retain his qualifying position after a poor strategy failed to help him advance. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for fourth despite briefly overtaking Hamilton for position on track earlier in the race.
“A difficult day and a difficult weekend. At one stage it looked like I might even miss out on the podium but fortunately it didn’t work out that way. It was an okay start. I didn’t lose any ground which is a good thing after the last one. But then I was struggling so much after the Safety Car went in.
“The brakes were near critical temperature for most of the race, so I kept having to back off to cool them down. I then ended up making a mistake and ran wide which let Kimi past. Fortunately, with the car a bit lighter, I was able to bring the temperatures down, push a bit more on fresh tyres and get back past him in the stops,” said Hamilton.
Raikkonen’s teammate Sebastian Vettel made an incredible recovery drive after starting 22nd to finish fifth. Max Verstappen finished in sixth for Red Bull after battling Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat for several laps, and eventually overtaking Kvyat. McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso took seventh, with Sergio Perez, who also made an impressive charge up the grid, surged from 18th to finish eighth.
“I think I did the most I could out there today – I had good fun and enjoyed some great battles! Unfortunately, after a first good stint things didn’t come together as expected… we ended up behind Perez and didn’t have enough straight-line speed to overtake him. I pushed until the very last centimetre and left my soul on the track – it’s a shame, but I’m happy to finish in the points again,” said Kvyat.
Daniil Kvyat scored some much needed points for Toro Rosso, ending the race in ninth ahead of Renault's Kevin Magnussen who finished in tenth, the final points scoring position. With wins in Mexico, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi, Rosberg went on a seven-race winning streak last year, which lasted well into the start of the 2016 season.
This means the season closing races may play into Rosberg’s hands. With the Malaysian Grand Prix in the next two weeks, Lewis Hamilton the “Jedi Knight” of F1 will need to awaken “the Force” inside him if he is to have a chance to add to his three World Championships.