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Sunday images from the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix
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Rosberg podiums at Sepang showdown

Oct 022016

It’s said that good things come to those who wait. Frustratingly this might just have to be the case for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, who despite an awesome drive, and podium, from Nico Rosberg, came tantalizingly close to securing a record third constructors’ championship title at the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix.

With a near perfect 40-laps under his belt, Silver Arrows racer Lewis Hamilton was zeroing in on the all-important Grand Prix victory. Lewis clocked in a long early stint from his pole position slot on the super-sticky soft tyres, before diving into the pits and switching to hard compound’s in order to bank enough time to allow for a second visit to the pit lane.

On course to spray the champagne and grab the points advantage needed to secure the team the coveted manufacturer title, Lewis had done all he could from his 900bhp office. Then, at turn one, his hopes of a podium burst into flames. An unexpected fire within the engine bay of his Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid forced Lewis to park it, and watch the remaining laps from the sidelines.

“Max (Verstappen) was in my pit window so I was just trying to push him out of it. I think I'd done that, almost. But then, on the straight, I just lost power all of a sudden. You could hear something blew and I obviously had to stop,” explained Lewis. “Honestly, you've got to understand it from my point of view. On one side, we've had the most incredible success these past two years, for which I'm so grateful. These guys work so hard and we're all feeling the pain right now. When you get out of the car - that feeling you have after leading the race and then your car fails - it's pretty hard to say positive things at the time. As I said in the TV interviews, Mercedes have built 43 engines or however many it might be with the extra three I've had, and I have happen to have most of, if not all of, the failures. So, that is definitely tough to take. But I have 100% confidence in these guys. It's my fourth year with them now and the guys in the garage and back at the factories - I have 100% faith in them. I love it here and without them I would not have won these two Championships.

 

Lewis continued: “While the struggle is real right now and has been all year, I honestly feel that it's a test of my will, my spirit and who I am as a person to get back in and keep fighting it head on. It's not how you fall, it's how you get back up. That applies not just to me but to the guys as well. I saw tears in the eyes of my mechanics so I know that we all bear the pain. But, as I said, it's how we re-group. We have to keep in mind what we've already built. Whilst it does not feel great right now, as long as I end the year knowing that I've given it everything, done everything I could possibly do and that we've done everything we could possibly do, that's all you can ask for. Don't forget that I'm World Champion. I'll be okay.”

 

It was a tough pill to swallow for Lewis, considering the performance he had clocked up through out intense and humid weekend. Even more so considering he had successfully scorched away cleanly at the lights and avoided the turn on melee that had claimed the early part of Nico Rosberg's race.

 

Qualifying into P2, things looked set for another epic showdown between the Silver Arrows. However off the lights, fifth placed Sebastian Vettel pulled an over ambitious pass down the inside of Max Verstappen, only to lock up his breaks and collide with Nico.

"At turn one I thought it was all over, so I'm happy to fight back and make it to the podium,” said a delighted Nico. “I wished for a better day but that's how it goes. It is a positive moment and I look forward to the next one. Maximum attack. The impact was really hard so I thought that my car must have been broken.

 

But it was awesome that my car held on and I was able to turn it around quite quickly and fight my way back through. I can't believe I was in third place. I never expected it. It all worked out well I leave here with a third place. I'm sure Lewis is feeling absolutely gutted. I've been there before and know how it feels when your car gives up on you, and it is pretty horrible. You depend on technology and the car and you are doing a good job. It is a tough moment."

 

Race result:


1    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull/Renault        56    1h37m12.776s
2    Max Verstappen    Red Bull/Renault        56    2.443s
3    Nico Rosberg        Mercedes            56    25.516s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari                56    28.785s
5    Valtteri Bottas        Williams/Mercedes        56    1m01.582s
6    Sergio Perez        Force India/Mercedes        56    1m03.794s
7    Fernando Alonso    McLaren/Honda        56    1m05.205s
8    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India/Mercedes        56    1m14.062s
9    Jenson Button        McLaren/Honda        56    1m21.816s
10  Jolyon Palmer        Renault            56    1m35.466s
11  Carlos Sainz        Toro Rosso/Ferrari        56    1m38.878s
12  Marcus Ericsson    Sauber/Ferrari            55    1 Lap
13  Felipe Massa        Williams/Mercedes        55    1 Lap
14  Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso/Ferrari        55    1 Lap
15  Pascal Wehrlein    Manor/Mercedes        55    1 Lap
16  Esteban Ocon        Manor/Mercedes        55    1 Lap
-     Felipe Nasr        Sauber/Ferrari            46    Retirement
-     Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes            40    Engine
-     Esteban Gutierrez    Haas/Ferrari            39    Retirement
-     Kevin Magnussen    Renault            17    Retirement
-     Romain Grosjean    Haas/Ferrari            7    Brakes
-     Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari                0    Collision

 

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