2016 Singapore Grand Prix Results: Rosberg Fights Off Ricciardo

Nico Rosberg during practice for the U.S. Grand Prix. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Nico Rosberg during practice for the U.S. Grand Prix. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Nico Rosberg earned victory at the Singapore Grand Prix by the skin of his teeth, finishing less than a half-second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nico Rosberg may have dominated Singapore Grand Prix qualifying but he didn’t have the same effect on the Formula One race itself.

Rosberg had a grip on the race from the beginning, but chaos near the end on the Marina Bay street circuit meant that the German earned his first win in Singapore by just 0.488s ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. It was the narrowest victory in the last six years for F1.

But no matter how small the margin it gave Rosberg his third consecutive victory and a return to the top of the F1 ranks. With the win, he has repositioned himself atop the drivers’ championship standings above teammate Lewis Hamilton, who came third in Singapore.

Ricciardo, having pitted for fresh tires with just 14 laps to go, narrowed Rosberg’s lead down from 25 seconds and that didn’t go unnoticed by his competitor.

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“Daniel tried to pull one up on me with the pit stop at the end; we knew it was going to be tight but we got there so I’m very happy,” Rosberg said after the race. “The whole car was on the edge – it always is here in Singapore, so it’s very satisfying to finish like that.”

Ricciardo added that Red Bull took a gamble on the final pit stop, expecting that making the switch to ultrasofts would prompt Rosberg to do the same.

“As soon as we did the pit stop, we thought Nico was going to come in,” he said, “so I pushed really hard on those tires, and in the end they were a little bit dead. At least it made it exciting.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff described just how on edge the folks in the team paddock were in the closing moments of the Singapore Grand Prix.

“We nearly peed our pants at the end,” Wolff said. “It was so close at the end, how it should be in Formula One; four really great cars, different strategies. I must take my hat off to Red Bull with their strategy by pitting him, we couldn’t do that. Ricciardo was out of the blocks with amazing pace and it was really exciting at the end.”

Wolff also revealed that his team had nearly succumbed to Red Bull’s trap. Mercedes intended to have Rosberg pit and make the switch, but in the midst of backmarkers, they feared a pit stop would result in him losing the lead upon re-entry.

The gap between Ricciardo and Rosberg stood at 5.2 seconds with just five laps remaining, and while it looked as if Ricciardo would have a chance to overtake, the Aussie’s ultrasoft tires ran out of life at the most opportune time.

“We tried something different with strategy and got to within half a second, it was close,” Ricciardo recalled. “It was nice to be able to push to the last lap and put some pressure on him and give the crowd some hope.”

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, whose suspension failure resulted in a 22nd place qualifying result, impressively navigated his car to a fifth-place finish.

Red Bull’s teenage phenom Max Verstappen suffered from yet another poor start after beginning the race from fourth; he’d go on to finish in sixth place. Force India’s Sergio Perez won a heated battle against Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat for eighth, while Kevin Magnussen scored a tenth-place result, giving Renault just its second points finish of the season.

But one of the biggest talking points from the Singapore Grand Prix wasn’t on the leaderboard. The safety car was deployed almost immediately after Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. were involved in a spectacular accident in the middle just after the start.

The race resumed on very short notice after just a few laps – such short notice that a safety marshal who was picking up debris on the track nearly collided with the oncoming traffic on the start-finish straight.

The FIA subsequently spoke out on the incident, with a spokesman declaring to Racer that procedures weren’t “properly executed…Everything will be done to ensure this does not happen again.”

Next: Sergio Perez Delays Announcing Where He'll Race In 2017

Below are the complete results for the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix:

1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren
8. Sergio Perez, Force India
9. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
10. Kevin Magnussen, Renault
11. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas
12. Felipe Massa, Williams
13. Felipe Nasr, Sauber
14. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso
15. Jolyon Palmer, Renault
16. Pascal Wehrlein, MRT Mercedes
17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
18. Esteban Ocon, MRT Mercedes
Not Classified: Jenson Button, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean