EPIC CRASH! Nico Hulkenberg was on the receiving end of Max Verstappen's poor start at the Singapore GP. Image: Instagram / CrashF1
Cape Town - Nico Rosberg demonstrated perfect form during his first victory at the 2016 Singapore GP. He clinched the title lead from Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg's victory at the Marina Bay circuit is his third in succession and eighth this season.
Apart from Rosberg's victory, a number of other racing moments stood out in Singapore.
READ: As it happened - 2016 Singapore Grand Prix
Commentator David Coulthard said Rosberg's form reminds him of Jay-Z’s song, ‘99 problems’: “Rosberg may have problems, but track position is not one of them!”
Another special mention refers to the start of the race when Williams driver Valtteri Bottas nearly collided with a Force India mechanic in the pits.
During the third practice session, a metre-long monitor lizard casually ran across the track. Yup, that happened.
Below are top five moments from the Singapore GP.
1 Hulkenberg’s quickest retirement
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen managed a slow start from fourth on the grid. Behind him Nico Hulkenberg darted his Force India to the right but made contact with Carlos Sainz Jnr (Toro Rosso). The impact sent the 'Hulk to the left of the track, across Vertstappen’s path and into the barriers. He was forced to retired.
The crash resulted in the safety car (SC) being deployed and maintained Singapore’s reputation for having a SC at every race since the inaugural GP in 2008.
2 Marshal outruns F1 car
When the race eventually restarted, Rosberg led the field down the main straight. As the camera angle widened, a marshal, removing the last bit of debris, had to run for his life as the hoard of F1 cars came charging towards him at over 250km/h! The marshal walked (read: ran!) away with his life intact, but with his heart pounding in all the wrong places.
3 Vettel goes from P22 to P5
Vettel endured a torrid qualifying session that saw his car suffer a mechanical breakdown. He started the GP in last place but managed to finish fifth. He is deserving of being voted the driver of the day.
4 Verstappen vs. Kvyat
Since being demoted to Toro Rosso and being replaced by Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat has been on somewhat of a mix run of results while Verstappen delivered solid, consistent races. But at Singapore Kvyat had the opportunity to battle the boy who replaced him and the two delivered a duel that is worthy of being called ‘battle of the race’.
Verstappen struggled to get past the resilient Russian and eventually had to pit just so that he could get some clear air in front of him. Verstappen finished the race in sixth place and Kvyat in ninth.
5 Hamilton vs. Raikkonen
Having started in third place, Hamilton had his work cut out for him if he was to challenge Rosberg for the victory. And Kimi Raikkonen had Ferrari’s hopes for a podium finish on his shoulders after technical issues in qualifying forced Vettel to start the race in last place. But it eventually became evident that Hamilton and Raikkonen would be fighting it out for the third and final podium position.
At one point Raikkonen closed the gap to Hamilton to such an extent that the defending champion made a mistake going into Turn seven, allowing the Ferrari driver to take third place. But with 14 laps to go, Hamilton made his final pitstop and Ferrari reacted to it - pitting Raikkonen the very next lap.
READ: Kimi questions Ferrari's strategy as another winless season looms
This proved to be a costly strategic call, as Hamilton moved ahead of Raikkonen when the latter exited the pits. The positions remained the same and it was Hamilton taking third place behind Rosberg and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. Raikkonen finished in fourth place.