Nico wins in Singapore at last

Rosberg celebrating after winning the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit last night. The German now tops the drivers' standings, eight points clear of his team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton, with six races left in the Formula
Rosberg celebrating after winning the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit last night. The German now tops the drivers' standings, eight points clear of his team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton, with six races left in the Formula One season.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The Marina Bay Street Circuit served up another feast of drama and a slice of motorsport history at the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix yesterday.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg led from start to finish over 61 laps, expertly managing tyre wear and fading brakes to become the first non-world champion to win the sport's only night race.

This year's event attracted 73,000 spectators daily, with 219,000 spectators over the three-day race weekend - a 15 per cent drop in average attendance amid a weaker local and global economic climate.

But those who came would have had no cause for complaint. Neutrals baying for a new world champion would have been delighted at the shift in momentum in favour of Rosberg, who has now won three races in a row.

The pole sitter started the day just two points behind drivers' championship leader Lewis Hamilton, but has now leapfrogged his team-mate and established an eight-point cushion with six races left.

"I don't have the best of memories here, the track hasn't treated me well in the past, so today is a good one," the 31-year-old said after joining Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso in the winners' circle in Singapore.

There was certainly no shortage of "entertainment" over the weekend. Besides the track action, Saturday's third practice session saw a monitor lizard making a mad dash across the track and last night, it was a marshal who had to dash for the barriers as Rosberg's Mercedes bore down on him on Lap 3.

Next year marks the final year of the Republic's contract with the sport and deliberations on an extension are ongoing. With the action on the track combining with the likes of Imagine Dragons, who rocked the huge crowd at the Padang last night, it is no wonder the sport's new chairman, Chase Carey, told formula1.com: "Singapore certainly is amazing."

Wang Meng Meng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Nico wins in Singapore at last'. Print Edition | Subscribe