Nico Rosberg paid tribute to his Mercedes engineers Sunday after the team put their Singapore nightmare of 12 months ago behind them.
Rosberg took his third grand prix win in a row in his 200th start to snatch back the world championship lead by eight points from teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third.
It was a far cry from just 12 months ago when Hamilton retired and Rosberg trailed in fourth, hopelessly and inexplicably off the pace on Marina Bay street circuit.
“It really shows that not only do we have the best car but we also have the most competent group of engineers to extract the potential from the best car,” Rosberg told reporters after the Singapore Grand Prix.
The 23-corner city-centre track presents a completely different challenge to the previous race in Monza, a ultra high-speed circuit with few corners that places a premium on aerodynamic efficiency and power.
“Every weekend they have to change the car, adapting to new circuits and understanding them,” Rosberg said.
Red Bull were seen by many in the paddock as pre-race favourites with their emphasis on mechanical grip giving an advantage over the Mercedes who rely on straight line speed and superior horsepower not suited to Singapore.
Rosberg said the fact that he could hold off the fast-charging Daniel Ricciardo at the end of the race to win by 0.4 seconds was a remarkable achievement after being almost a second per lap off the pace a year ago.
“We were absolutely nowhere here behind Red Bull and Ferrari and we came back this year and beat them on their strongest track. So that’s really awesome to see that.”
Rosberg leads the drivers’ championship on 273 points from Hamilton on 265 after a rollercoaster season where the teammates have both held substantial leads, only to be pegged back by the other.
Ricciardo is third on 179 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel on 153.
Vettel was awarded the ‘driver of the day’ trophy after starting last on the grid and finishing fifth on one of the most difficult overtaking tracks on the calendar.