The Singapore Grand Prix came to a fascinating end thanks to a late strategy switch from Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. They helped spark Daniel Ricciardo into a mesmerising charge for the win, while behind Sebastian Vettel stormed from the back of the grid to fifth place.
Several drivers could have walked away with TOP DOG this weekend but we feel this man stepped up another level his weekend, step forward…
All season long Nico Rosberg has been at the centre of a thrilling championship scrap with teammate Lewis Hamilton. Coming into Singapore many would have placed Hamilton as favourite for the title – he was leading it by two points and generally has been the faster driver. That all changed in Singapore.
The weekend didn’t start off particularly well for either Mercedes driver, Rosberg planted his car into the wall in FP1 and faulty hydraulics forced Hamilton to sit out a big chunk of FP2.
It should still have been all to play for on Saturday afternoon between the pair. Unfortunately for Hamilton he simply didn’t have the speed to challenge Rosberg for pole. The German walloped Hamilton, who was also beaten off the front-row by Ricciardo, by a huge 0.7 tenths of a second to score his 29th career pole.
Many expected a comeback from Hamilton during the race itself. Again, it wasn’t to be – Rosberg simply sped away after the Safety Car peeled in on lap three, Rosberg getting the fright of his life thanks to a marshal running across the lie track prior to Turn 1.
The utter domination of Hamilton from Rosberg was as unexpected as it was impressive. He managed to pull out over a second a lap on Hamilton frequently during the race despite being told to look after his brakes – something Hamilton was also badgered by the team to do.
Rosberg also held his nerve as Ricciardo came charging towards him as the race came to a conclusion, he was just 0.4 tenths ahead at the finish line. On another day perhaps Rosberg would have crumbled.
Now armed with an eight point championship lead and a big psychological blow over Hamilton, Rosberg heads into the Malaysian Grand Prix in two weeks time in a stronger position than he has ever found himself at this stage in the year.
Can he be world champion in 2016? Absolutely. Singapore proved it.