Daniel Ricciardo led a surprise one-two for Red Bull at a turbulent Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday which saw then race leader Lewis Hamilton stopped by an engine failure and Nico Rosberg finish third after spinning early on and handed a 10-second penalty.
Hamilton seemed to be comfortably heading towards his 50th career victory and the championship lead when flames suddenly burst out of his Mercedes with 15 laps left, forcing the title holder to retire.
Hamilton's misfortune allowed Ricciardo to claim his fourth victory overall ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen and Rosberg - which the Australian celebrated in style by drinking champagne out of his shoe at the victory ceremony.
Rosberg dropped to the back of the pack after being hit in the first turn by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel but he fought back to make the podium even though he was handed the penalty by stewards for a robust passing move on Kimi Raikkonen.
Rosberg not only retained the championship lead but even increased it by 15 points over Hamilton to 23 points with five races left.
Hamilton was fully frustrated and suggested that the engine problems only affect him and not Rosberg.
"My question is to Mercedes. We have so many engines made for drivers, but mine are the only ones failing this year. Someone need to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing," he told BBC radio.
Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff later said that Hamilton's frustration was understandable and that his remarks came in the heat of the moment.
Wolff admitted the team had let him down while Mercedes director Paddy Lowe insisted: "No failure is planned. We work as hard as we can to increase reliability. We have eight Mercedes power units in the field and there is no pattern for why it should fall on Lewis Hamilton's car."
Rosberg said: "I thought the race was all over, so I am really happy to fight back all the way to the podium. I wished for a better day but that is the way it goes sometimes ... It is a good moment in general, and I look forward to the next one."
Things looked perfect for Hamilton early on as a solid start saw him protect first place on the grid into the first right turn while Rosberg's winning ambitions ended when he was hit by Vettel who himself had to quit with a broken suspension.
"I got past Max and concentrated on him. Nico then chose his line which he is entitled to. He was a little slower and it is unfortunate I couldn't avoid the accident, especially for him," Vettel told Sky TV.
Vettel was long after the race docked three places on the starting grid next week in Japan over the incident.
Hamilton seemed comfortably on course towards a morale-boosting victory to turn the title race back in his favour when the engine failed without any warning in the 41st lap.
The Red Bull battle heated up at the same time with Ricciardo firmly standing his ground against the teenager Verstappen.
It turned out to be duel for the race win, and Ricciardo added to his three top spots from 2014 in 1 hour 37 minutes 12.776 seconds, after missing out earlier this year in Spain and Monaco.
"Lewis got the lead and had his problems. I am not one for believing in a whole lot, but it went the other way in Monaco, and I will take this today," Ricciardo said.
"It has been two years since the last win, and it has been a bit emotional. We have come so close but I said two weeks ago we would win one and we did."
There was also good news for McLaren as Fernando Alonso battled from last place on the grid to seventh, and team-mate Jenson Button was also in the points in ninth. in his 300th career GP.
Mercedes failed to prematurely clinch the constructors' title with five races to spare but will have another chance next week in Japan.
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