Recap the Singapore Grand Prix with 8 talking points from Marina Bay.
Rosberg celebrated his 200th Grand Prix with victory under the stars, narrowly edging Ricciardo over the line after Hamilton triggered an aggressive finale. All watched on by Formula One’s new chairman, Chase Cary.
1) Rosberg regains championship lead
200 Grand Prix’s entered, 29 pole positions, 19 fastest laps and now 22 wins. The 22nd of which coming at the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix, Rosberg’s eighth victory of the season.
The 25-point reward for winning comes after back-to-back victories in Belgium and Italy, as Rosberg overturned Hamilton’s summer lead to head to Malaysia in P1.
Hamilton, after a poor start to the year, managed to overturn a sizeable margin himself to snatch the lead away from Rosberg going into the summer break. But Nico has bounced back strongly, and now holds an eight-point lead with a maximum of 150 still to play for.
Rosberg, though, will need a better result in Sepang than in 2015. As the German only qualified in third, four-tenths of a second behind pole-sitting Hamilton.
Lewis, however, lost the lead of the race to eventual winner – Vettel. But left the circuit with a 10-point lead over Rosberg in the Driver’s Championship.
2) Hamilton hampered by brake issue
After a poor qualifying left Hamilton in third, seven-tenths of a second behind pole man Rosberg, the early stages of the race were his best chances of putting pressure on Rosberg and Ricciardo ahead.
But as he pushed, he was told to watch out for his brakes as temperatures rose to a near critical level.
As a result, he was forced to back off more and more to ensure he would finish the race. Opening the door to Raikkonen, who seized on a mistake at turn seven to punish Lewis into fourth. Before a final change of tyres saw Hamilton undercut the Ferrari to regain a podium position.
Hamilton was also not alone in managing his brakes during the Singapore Grand Prix as Rosberg too had the same issue. Being out in clear air, however, allowed Nico to better deal with the situation.
3) Tyre swap triggered Ricciardo’s attack
Hamilton’s final change of tyres that saw him undercut Raikkonen and regain third place nearly cost his team-mate the win as well. As by Ferrari pitting Raikkonen to cover off Hamilton, albeit unsuccessfully, Red Bull were left with a free pit stop for Ricciardo. In which they could allow Ricciardo to attack Rosberg rather than manage his tyres, without falling behind Hamilton or Raikkonen.
Rosberg was then left with two options: Stay out and manage his tyres, hoping Ricciardo could not catch and pass him. Or stop, change tyres and race the Red Bull to the flag.
The one lap between Ricciardo stopping and Rosberg intending to stop, however, was enough time for Daniel to close the gap enough that he would take the lead of the race should Rosberg stop.
So, despite his team standing ready for a pit stop, Rosberg remained on track and managed his pace until the end.
An end which saw Ricciardo cross the line just five-tenths of a second away from victory as traffic slowed his late assault.
4) Rosberg confident Ricciardo wouldn’t get past
Although he would only win the race by half a second, Rosberg was confident he would hold on to the lead as Ricciardo pushed late on.
“With 10 laps or 15 laps to go after pitstop they said he would be with me at the end of the race, which was the case,” said Rosberg.
“I had to be on it, get everything right and it worked out. The tyre lasted just right so I’m very happy of course.
“By the time I started the last lap, I knew it was enough as his tyres were not fresh, so it was okay.”
“We couldn’t come in [to cover his pitstop] because I had traffic and I was slow, so he would have beaten me” added Nico. But it was a cool ending.”
5) Carey wants ‘another level’ to Formula One
After the US media giant, Liberty Media, completed their $8billion purchase of Formula One, new chairman Chase Carey spent time in the Singapore Grand Prix paddock meeting team principals and key paddock members. But not alongside F1’s CEO, Bernie Ecclestone.
While at the Marina Bay circuit, Carey spoke to the official Formula One website and described his vision for the future of the sport.
“With all credit to Bernie, he’s had enormous success,” said Carey. “The world admires Bernie for the business that he has built.
“But I still think that there is another level that we can take Formula 1 to. That is the opportunity that excited me when it was presented to me.”
“You cannot make everybody happy all the time, but you’ve got to understand what everybody wants and then find a path.
“Sure, that is not a task for a committee, as committees tend to become bureaucratic – but there also can’t be a dictatorship, even if probably here they are used to it.
“They need leadership, and leadership means that you create a vision to achieve the right goals for the future. Successful businesses are built on successful leadership that understands what every party wants – and yes, there are a lot of parties involved in Formula 1.
“There have to be compromises. You can’t make everybody completely happy, but you want hopefully [to] make everybody happy enough to believe and ultimately sign on that it’s the right direction for the sport as a whole.”
6) Gutierrez criticised again
Esteban Gutierrez, a man potentially driving to save his F1 future but a man frustrating the leaders.
It’s not the first time this season either that Guttierez’s attitude to blue flags has come into question. With Hamilton held back in Hungary as the Haas hung to the racing line. And again in Germany, as Ricciardo claimed “he’s one of my favourites, I love this guy” as he lost time behind the Mexican.
This time, in Singapore, Gutierrez found himself ahead of the leaders once more as the closing laps unfolded and Ricciardo chased Rosberg.
By not moving over under blue flags, after Massa moved to the side during their battle for 11th, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff felt it necessary to report Guttierez to the race director, Charlie Whiting.
“Gutierrez at least makes it the same for everybody, he doesn’t let anybody overtake,” said Wolff to Motorsport.com following the chequered flag.
“Honestly, we need to say there is a fight for a race win going on between two guys fighting for every tenth, and then you have one guy cruising around and interfering in the race and it happens to always be the same guy!
“We were shouting to Charlie. Felipe went out of the way and Esteban, who is a lovely boy, continued to cruise out there and was enjoying the gap he had made to Felipe.”
7) FIA want answers on unsafe restart
After the start line crash that ruled Hulkenberg out of the race, a safety car was needed before racing could commence at the Marina Bay Circuit.
Unfortunately, despite normal protocol being carried out, when the safety car came back in a marshal remained out on track.
Normal protocol sees race control confirm three times with the clerk of the course that the track is clear. But a marshal was still out on track recovering debris when the safety car came in.
The marshal was then shown on the race broadcast running for safety as Rosberg led the field onto the pit straight at racing speed.
8) Grosjean still believes in Haas
Following a strong start to the season with back-to-back points, Haas have fallen away from the top 10 and often Grosjean moans over the radio across the weekend that the car is not performing how he wants.
Across the weekend in Singapore particularly proved to be a pain for Romain as he failed to post a time in FP1, completed just 12 laps and crashed in FP2, before crashing again in qualifying.
Regardless of recent form, Romain claimed he still remains confident in the team going forward.
“I’m all fine. I’m all confident about the future,” claimed Grosjean. “Right now what we want to do is to make sure our updates work well in Malaysia and get things together to have a smooth weekend.
“I thought after yesterday [qualifying] it couldn’t get any worse, but unfortunately it did.
“I felt so bad for the guys, who have been working so hard to get the car back together and try to recover the time we lost in FP1.
“But we lost the brake-by-wire and we couldn’t race like this. We don’t know what happened. It’s hard on everyone.
“We couldn’t even do a lap.”