Malaysia was a happy place for Daniel Ricciardo last weekend when he secured his fourth Formula 1 career victory after spending 56 laps on the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia.
Ricciardo started fourth on the grid, behind the dominant Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and alongside his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. But the Australian driver from Perth was placed second, behind Hamilton, after a major incident on the first corner of the first lap. A fast starting Sebastien Vettel tried to barge his Ferrari to the front, pushing Verstappen wide and then running into the back of Rosberg’s Mercedes.
The impact sent the Mercedes into a spectacular smoky spin, which dropped Rosberg from second place to 21st while villain Vettel’s Ferrari got a broken front suspension. Ricciardo benefited from the chaos and remained behind Hamilton until lap 41 when the Mercedes engine suddenly turned into a rocket ball of flames. Three seconds behind Ricciardo was Verstappen who had earlier tried to pass Ricciardo, resulting in one of the most exciting dices of the race. The young Dutch driver drew alongside Ricciardo on two occassions, but never got by.
Nico Rosberg put in an exceptional performance to fight his way back from the tail end of the field to finish third, thus extending his Formula One Championship lead to 23 points with five races to go.
Later race winner Daniel Ricciardo wanted to dedicate his win in Malaysia to Jules Bianchi, the young French driver who died in a crash in the Japan Grand Prix two years ago. Ricciardo mentioned that he had been waiting for a victory and waiting to dedicate this to him. My life definitely changed after that incident and I am grateful and appreciative of everything that I have got. I dedicate this win to him.
Red Bull Renault team principal Christian Horner said the race was unbelievable to achieve victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix was beyond our wildest expectations, he said.