Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo won the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday in a race filled with dramas which saw Lewis Hamilton's sure win in his rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg smashed after an engine blow forced him to surrender the title.
The three-time world champion was having a near 20-second lead over Daniel Ricciardo when his engine emitted smoke and caught fire, forcing him to stop at the side of the race track. He only had 15 laps to finish.
It all looked good for Hamilton, who started his dominance of the track in the first lap, when Rosberg had to start from 21st after he was spun around by Sebastian Vettel's car. Though the German driver continued to push hard on his car, overtaking one after another, nobody believed he can really challenge the situation, until the engine explosion.
Now, with five races to go before the end of the season, Hamilton is facing an uphill battle if he wants to gain the upper hand again. His previous eight points short of Rosberg on the driver standings now became 23.
Mercedes is yet to announce the reason of Hamilton's engine failure, but after a Virtual Safety Car gave Max Verstappen a "free pit stop," Lewis had to push the car to the limit in order to build a "pit-stop" gap.
After Hamilton's exit, the race became a straight battle between the two Red Bull drivers, who had the same cars and the same tires. Max Verstappen exerted a lot of pressure on his teammate, managing to close the gap within one second at one point, but Ricciardo held off his charge.
Rosberg's third place on the podium was despite his receiving of a 10-second time penalty in a mid-race collision with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who had to fight alone after Sebastian Vettel. Vettel, the winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2015, retired in the first lap after his car made a contact with Verstappen's when coming into Turn 1.
Renault's Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez from Haas and Felipe Nasr from Sauber were the others that did not finish the race.
Fernando Alonso, who started from the last due to an engine penalty, managed to finish the race at seventh while Jenson Button completed his 300th grand prix at ninth.