Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo picked up his first win of the 2016 season at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Australian, who started the race from fourth place capitalized on pole sitter Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the race, leading home a Red Bull Racing 1-2 with Max Verstappen finishing the race in second place.
Speaking following the race, Ricciardo commented by saying:
What a day, I’m feeling a bit emotional and overwhelmed! It’s been a long time between drinks! A couple of weeks ago I said we’d win a race this year but to be honest I didn’t expect a win to come at this circuit. This is probably the sweatiest race to win and do a shoey, but for me it’s not so bad, I felt a bit sorry for the others though having to drink from my shoe, but the crowd was encouraging me! We had an opportunity today that we needed to capitalise on and I was determined to not let it go. We had a good battle with Max, he is a hard racer and we have that in common. We fought hard and aggressive but I think we showed we can push to the limit but still keep it on the track. We had a fair and clean fight and I think we both enjoyed it. My tyres were a little more tired than his but I was going to hold him off as long as I could. When the Virtual Safety Car came out and we both came into the pits for new tyres, that made me a little more comfortable for the last stint. This year has been an awesome year of progression for the team. We started the year a step higher from last year and kept going and getting better, and it really is amazing to win at this circuit. I want to thank the team for making this all possible and I’m very grateful for today. After Monaco I had a lot of mixed emotions and it was a hard one to take but I felt as a team we came through that stronger and better. I want to thank my parents and my sister as well for the support they gave me growing up. I also want to dedicate the win to Jules (Bianchi), I have been waiting for a victory to dedicate to him. My life definitely changed since that incident and I am extremely grateful and appreciative of everything I’ve got.
Red Bull Racing have extended their lead over Ferrari in the race for second place in the constructors championship to 46 points, speaking following the race Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner commented by saying:
An unbelievable day today. To achieve a first and second in the Malaysian Grand Prix is beyond our wildest expectations. The race had an interesting start with a bit of action at the first corner which Sebastian triggered, costing Max particularly quite a bit of time. Thereafter both drivers settled into a rhythm and after the first Virtual Safety Car we decided to take a little bit of a risk with an early stop for Max which put him out of sequence with the other cars. Daniel was going well and by the time they got through the first stop on to the hard tyre it looked like a one-stop might be feasible. The drivers were racing each other firmly but fairly, the only instruction from the team was to keep it clean. We saw some great racing; at one point side by side at turns 5 and 6. Then unfortunately for Lewis his engine let go causing the next virtual safety car, and we took the opportunity to ensure that both drivers could get to the end of the race on a new set of soft tyres. Then it was a straight fight between the two of them to get to the chequered flag, and Daniel had just enough in hand to maintain a margin and complete a Red Bull Racing one-two finish, our first since Brazil 2013. It’s a culmination of a great amount of teamwork both trackside and from everyone else back in the factory. It’s fantastic for Red Bull and for all of our partners. Our thanks also to all of the hard work that’s been put in by the people at Viry in delivering a great package for our TAG Heuer branded engine.
Max Verstappen who started the race from third place commented on his race performance by saying:
Having both drivers on the top two steps of the podium is a fantastic result for the team. I was really pleased about my start, finally it worked well again and put me right up there into turn one. I was then compromised due to Sebastian’s move, I had to avoid his collision with Nico which meant I lost a few places. The time I lost ultimately cost me at the end of the race along with a few unfortunate Virtual Safety Cars, but that is racing. Once I had the hard compound on I was catching guys ahead. The battle with Daniel during the race was great and really good fun. We have a lot of respect for each other so you can see we gave plenty of space but were still able to push hard. I got close to being in the DRS activation zone but my rubber was slightly older and overheating so I just couldn’t get within range and attack. The team told us we were free to race as long as we kept it clean, which we did. It is really nice to hear that from the radio. I think we had the race pace and speed to win today but we have to be very happy to settle for a perfect one-two for the team.
Nico Rosberg was involved in an incident with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen at the start the race. The incident saw Rosberg spin and Vettel retire from the race.
Rosberg managed to recover well to finish the race on the podium in third place despite being handed a ten second time penalty as he was deemed to have caused an avoidable collision with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen ended the race in fourth place and as a result of team mate Sebastian Vettel’s retirement the Iceman has moved back into fourth place in the championship. Valtteri Bottas finished the race in fifth place for the Williams Martini Racing team just ahead of Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez and speaking following the event, Perez commented by saying:
It was a solid race for us today, but I think we were a bit unlucky with the way the race unfolded. At the start, things looked very positive: I had a good launch, stuck to the inside line and was up to third after turn one. There were some very quick cars behind me and I knew there was no point in fighting too hard and destroying my tyres. The key moment of my race was the first virtual safety car, because it handed a big advantage to those who were able to start on the medium tyres, and dropped me down the order when I pitted. To recover back to sixth place was a good effort and we know that every point will count in the fight to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship. I don’t think we made any wrong decisions today, but it was just that the circumstances played more against us and into the hands of others.
Fernando Alonso showed that McLaren Honda are making big improvements in the final part of the season as the Spaniard finished the race in seventh place.
Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg finished the race in eighth place and speaking following the race, the German commented by saying:
Finishing eighth is a reasonable result, given the circumstances of the race. It was quite a tough afternoon: I made a very good start, but coming to turn one I had to avoid the accident between Rosberg and Vettel and that cost me two positions. Being stuck behind Jenson [Button] cost me a lot of time in the first two stints and I just couldn’t overtake him. Losing the track position so early on made it very difficult to finish higher up, despite the speed we had in the car today. I believe our strategy was the correct one for our race, but it’s very hard to overtake here and it just didn’t play out in our favour. All in all, we can be happy about putting two cars inside the points; we have increased our advantage a little and it should help us in what is going to be a very interesting end of the season.
The Silverstone based outfit have now extended their points lead over Williams in the race for fourth place in the championship to three points. Speaking following the race, Force India deputy team principal Robert Fernley commented by saying:
To come away from Malaysia with another 12 points added to our tally represents an excellent effort by the entire team. It was quite an eventful race, with various incidents going on around us, but we managed to stay out of trouble and bring home a solid result. We were a little unfortunate with the timing of the first virtual safety car, but we reacted well and made the correct decisions from the pit wall. The car showed good race pace and both drivers have performed well all weekend. The points scored have given us some more breathing space in the battle for fourth place in the championship, but as today proved it’s going to remain a very close fight over the remaining five events.
Jenson Button celebrated his 300th Grand Prix by scoring points finishing the race in ninth place for McLaren-Honda. Renault Sport F1 Team’s Jolyon Palmer made it two British drivers in the top ten. Palmer secured his first point in Formula One.
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was left frustrated as he just missed out on a place in the points finishing the race in 11th place.
The Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson finished the race in 12th place just ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams. Daniil Kvyat finished the race in 14th place just ahead of Manor Racing duo of Pascal Werhlein and Esteban Ocon who rounded out the order.
Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton retired from the race with 16 laps to go following an engine failure and heads to the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend, 23 points behind Nico Rosberg.