Alert! Warning! This is not a drill! Something unexpected happened during a Formula One race! Lewis Hamilton retired from the lead of the race after his oh-so-reliable Mercedes power unit started belching big flames. Hamilton’s engine was blown, coming to a halt on lap 42 of 56.
One of the most delightful battles all year long was the battle for second place. Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have been at each others’ throats trying to get in front of each other. With Hamilton’s retirement, this became the battle for first place.
Red Bull opted to give Ricciardo and Verstappen fresh tires at the same time, stacking Verstappen behind Ricciardo in the pits. Ricciardo took on new soft tires and Verstappen a set of used soft tires, per Motorsport.com. Ricciardo ultimately drove home to the win, and Verstappen a hard-fought second place. Red Bull got their first 1-2 result in three years.
Lewis’ teammate Nico Rosberg moved into third place with the engine kaboom after having clawed his way back up from last place. Further down the field, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer scored his first points in Formula One with a tenth-place finish.
As tired as I am of seeing a Mercedes cruise home to a largely unchallenged win, I do have to feel gutted for Hamilton here. This was a brand new engine, Hamilton told Sky Sports. It’s always awful to watch someone go from an almost certain decent finish to not being able to finish at all in the blink of an eye.
Hamilton’s loss is Rosberg’s big gain. While it prevents Mercedes from clinching a constructor’s championship at Malaysia, Rosberg takes a 23-point lead in the world drivers’ championship with today’s third place result.
That happened! That really happened! And Rosberg might win the drivers’ championship instead of Hamilton! That’s a thing, too! I’m still in shock.