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Mercedes: Ricciardo pace forced our strategy


What day is the race?

Nico Rosberg took a convincing pole position for the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix yesterday, and today he managed to turn that pole in to a win, but only narrowly ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in third place.

After a chaotic start that brought out a safety auto on the opening lap, Rosberg stayed clear of Red Bull’s late-charging Daniel Ricciardo at the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Hamilton fought back from 43 points behind earlier in the season to establish a 19-point lead – only for his Mercedes team-mate Rosberg to clinch his third straight win on Sunday to go eight points clear.

“I’ve known Nico since 2013 and that is the best Nico Rosberg I have ever seen throughout a weekend since then”, said an ecstatic Toto Wolff, following what might have been a tactical disaster for his team.

The German, in his 200th career race, looked set to stroll to victory before a late surge from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo set up a grandstand finale.

Nico Rosberg has just about held off the determined challenge of Daniel Ricciardo to win an exciting Singapore GP.

“We need to start coming out with some plan because this is all the pace I’ve got with the brakes”, demanded the championship leader on the radio.

“It doesn’t always go well and this has been a hard weekend for me and my side of the garage”, Hamilton said. I can’t wait to get home.

Speaking to Autosport, an FIA spokesperson said: “We take this very seriously. But of course, towards the end I still got a bit of heat in them”.

And with teammate Lewis Hamilton struggling to find the right setup around the Marina Bay circuit and only managing to finish third, Wolff was in no doubts about just how good Rosberg’s performance had been.

“So I had to be on it in that last stint, get everything right and nail all those laps”.

“I’m pretty happy because I felt I did all I could – the ideal race”, said Ricciardo.

After Nico Hulkenberg was spun into the pit wall at the start the Safety Car was deployed, with the race restarting three laps later.

Lewis Hamilton finished in third ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, with the latter having started from the rear of the grid. It’s a good result for the team and it puts us back in fourth place in the championship. “We knew stopping one time less than our rivals was the only way we could score points, so managing the tyres was crucial”.