Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel took another win for the Scuderia in the year's longest race. The incident-packed race had two Safety Car interventions - one for a track invasion by a free-spirited fan - to spice up both strategy and overtaking.
PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING
Mercedes' dark weekend started on Friday with Red Bull and Ferrari showing the silver cars the way, with Daniil Kvyat topping FP2 ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo. Hamilton was fourth but had Vettel snapping at his heels.
Manor Marussia US debutante Alexander Rossi crunched the wall, a result of some fabulous-to-watch exuberant driving. Rossi is in for five of the next races to replace Roberto Merhi.
McLaren's Fernando Alonso managed a top ten finish, bringing his car up to eighth.
FP3 saw a Ferrari 1-2, with Vettel ahead of Raikkonen by almost half a second. The Red Bull pair followed them home ahead of the Mercedes pair. A flustered Paddy Lowe told SkyF1 that this was the car's true pace and suggested they were in trouble.
Mercedes tried a new setup for qualifying but it didn't stop Vettel taking P1, with Daniel Ricciardo right beside him. Raikkonen followed then Kvyat and the Mercedes, with Hamilton ahead of Rosberg.
Carlos Sainz interrupted a number of flying laps in Q2, crashing his car into the wall at turn 19 to bring out the yellow flags. He later admitted to not knowing where he was because he was on the wrong screen and didn't know he only had four-tenths to make up.
Race day...evening...was cooler than qualifying, giving hope to the Mercedes drivers who were convinced their problems were down to tyres. Rosberg suffered a problem on his way out to the grid, his car having to be restarted twice at the pit exit.
The red lights went out and both Ferraris got away well, as did Ricciardo. Rosberg and Bottas fought through the first two turns and then Perez nearly wiped out teammate Hulkenberg and Williams' Felipe Massa a few turns later.
Max Verstappen didn't get away and was pushed off the track and into the pitlane, subsequently getting moving a lap down. Alonso narrowly missed the young Dutchman as he streaked from his starting slot, as did Romain Grosjean who sadly lost three places to run thirteenth.
Vettel was easily three seconds ahead of Ricciardo by the end of the first lap, with Raikkonen able to stay with the Australian. By lap eight, Ricciardo was a full five seconds behind the leading Ferrari.
Tyres were troubling Jenson Button who debated the idea of going long on his first set, which he said were not at all good. Grosjean pitted on lap ten to try and jump Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, but suffered a slightly slower stop than he might have liked.
Sainz and Alonso pitted together next time around, but both were held up by other cars coming in to the pits, Alonso getting out millimetres ahead of Grosjean. The wold-champion didn't go down without a fight, putting on a short, thrilling defence of his place.
Kvyat pitted for Red Bull on lap 13, again to try and jump his nearest competitor, in this case Raikkonen. Massa stopped on the same lap to try and clear Nico Hulkenberg.
Leaving the pits he fundamentally failed to do so, the two coming together at the exit, the German coming off second-best. The Force India took to the air and slid into the barriers with broken suspension.
Massa carried on, his team confident there was no major damage.
Hulkenberg was hit with a three place penalty for the next race, the stewards deciding he was the party at fault.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed and both Vettel and Ricciardo pitted. Button also pitted and was stranded for a minute after a problem with his right front.
Massa returned to the pits for another set of tyres, this time the yellow-banded softs. Hamilton and Rosberg both pitted and came out ahead of Kvyat.
After two laps of VSC, the actual Safety Car came out to control the field, which it did for six laps. Vettel got a decent jump on the restart.
Carlos Sainz caused some grief on the restart, the car falling into neutral and holding up everyone behind, everyone finally driving past when the problem was apparent.
Vettel's attempts to pull away weren't as successful as before, Ricciardo staying with the German. Vettel's more subdued pace saw Hamilton start to draw closer to third-placed Raikkonen, but it transpired that the four-time champion was just looking after his tyres.
Button's hopes slowly disintegrated, his team telling him that his car was too hot and he needed to stay out of the dirty, hot air of the car in front. "Anything else?" he asked wryly while running in 15th. He would retire on lap 53.
Hamilton complained of losing power on lap 26 and he began to fall back from Raikkonen. Rosberg was able to flash past into turn one and Daniil Kvyat had him at turn five and then Bottas on the back straight, dropping 60km/h from his top speed.
By the end of lap 28 he was passed by Nasr while he and the team button-mashed to try and fix the problem.
Vettel suddenly dropped the hammer, pulling out a three second gap over Ricciardo. Ricciardo responded, Raikkonen falling back by the same margin.
Massa drove through the pits on lap 30 after having a problem with the gearbox. While he cruised down pitlane, the gears meshed again and he was on his way. He got back out on track without coming together with a Force India but the problem returned and he retired.
Hamilton wanted to retire, debating whether to box the car and its broken engine. His team thought there might be "opportunities" and told him to stay out while they discussed it, which took another lap.
Kvyat pitted on lap 34 and yet again the stop was slow, the problem occurring up and down the pitlane for no apparent reason. While that went on, Alonso drove into the McLaren pit to retirement.
Fresh from a pit stop, Sergio Perez passed Romain Grosjean for ninth place, with - amazingly - Max Verstappen not far down the road in eighth.
The Toro Rosso driver came into the pits on lap 37 as the Safety Car was again deployed for a trespasser casually walking down the track. The t-shirt and shorts-wearing idiot eventually climbed over the armco to safety, having thrown strategy calculations into overdrive.
Vettel, Ricciardo and Raikkonen pitted, as did Kvat, Rosberg and Bottas. The Finnish Williams driver was the winner there, promoted to fifth.
The restart was ruined for Raikkonen by a rogue Manor (Rossi had no radio) that hadn't unlapped itself under the Safety Car. Vettel again got the jump on Ricciardo, taking two seconds in one lap.
At the back of the top ten, Button and Maldonado came together, the McLaren driver losing a huge chunk of front wing flying off and clobbering Carlos Sainz's car.
The Lotuses must have felt like Noah as they came two-by-two, with the Toro Rossos and then the Saubers attacking in pairs.
Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz took advantage of the melee, passing Maldonado in successive corners, both of them ending up in the points. Verstappen then followed up with the fastest lap of the race so far.
The Toro Rosso pair then took on Romain Grosjean a few laps later. Verstappen got a great tow across the bridge and shot by the Lotus cleanly. Sainz then attacked into turn one, pushing Grosjean wide.
All four wheels on the Toro Rosso were off the road as he passed, but he got away with it.
The drama wasn't over - after a brilliant drive, Verstappen was told to let Sainz by, responding with a resounding "No!" He was told a second time but the teenager was very keen to have one final crack at Perez for seventh.
Vettel crossed the line after the full sixty-one laps, taking his forty-second career win. Ricciardo crossed three seconds behind.
"I think this was our best chance of a win and we got close, so we can be proud of what we did," he said.
"We have made the most of our opportunities here. At the start Seb just went away and then I was coming back to him and if it hadn't been for the Safety Car.
"We got the fastest lap right at the end and we can be proud of that."
Formula 1 returns in one week for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
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