Lewis Hamilton's bid to win a fourth championship is hanging in the balance after a cruel engine failure robbed him of victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
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Hamilton was on course to cruise to the 50th victory of his career at a sweltering Sepang and move at least five points clear of his sole rival Nico Rosberg, who fought back to finish third following a first-corner collision with Sebastian Vettel, in the championship race.
But with 15 laps remaining, Hamilton's Mercedes engine blew up in the most dramatic of circumstances to hand victory to Daniel Ricciardo with his team-mate Max Verstappen following him home to seal Red Bull's first one-two finish in nearly three years.
Rosberg, who served what turned out to be a meaningless 10-second elapsed penalty following a banzai move on Kimi Raikkonen, is now 23 points clear of Hamilton with just five rounds remaining.
Hamilton has now suffered engine problems at three races, while in Belgium he was forced to start from last following an engine penalty. He described that as "unacceptable" as he turn his ire on his team set-up.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "My question is to Mercedes. We have so many engines made for drivers, but mine are the only ones failing this year.
"Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable.
"We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me.
"I will try and recollect myself and try to get myself together for the race next week. There are many decisive races but this is one of those.
"Someone doesn't want me to win this year but I won't give up. I will keep pushing."
Hamilton headed into the Sepang race having seen his 19-point lead over Rosberg evaporate into an eight-point deficit by virtue of the German winning all three of the races following the summer break.
But despite an off-colour weekend last time out in Singapore, Hamilton was back to his commanding best here.
After dominating practice, he qualified nearly half-a-second clear of Rosberg before controlling the race only to suffer yet another engine failure in a season which has been marred by a number of mechanical woes.
"Oh, no, no," said an exasperated Hamilton with his head on his crash helmet and his stricken Mercedes on fire.
The world champion left his cockpit before crouching down on his knees in the gravel at turn one. It could be the defining moment of a championship which increasingly appears to be falling in Rosberg's direction.
At one stage, it looked rather different for the German, who was running last at the end of lap one after Vettel crashed into him at the first corner.
"Sebastian is crazy," said Verstappen, who was sandwiched in the incident. "He went into Rosberg like an idiot."
While Rosberg was able to solider on, Vettel retired with damage to his front-left suspension.
Rosberg then began his impressive comeback, picking off cars one-by-one, and by the time of his first pit stop he had progressed to 12th. By lap 20 he was running in fifth place after passing the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
On lap 38 he then attempted, what the stewards later deemed to be an illegal move on Raikkonen at turn two, after the pair banged wheels.
Rosberg served a timed penalty after the race, but because he finished 13 seconds clear of the Ferrari driver it did not matter. With 125 points remaining, he is now 23 clear of Hamilton.
Ricciardo finished 2.4 seconds clear of Verstappen to claim his first victory in more than two years. Raikkonen crossed the line in fourth with Bottas in fifth place.
Jenson Button finished ninth in his 300th start while British rookie Jolyon Palmer claimed the first points of his career with 10th.
Malaysian Grand Prix race result:
1 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1hr 37mins 12.776secs
2 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:37:15.219
3 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:37:38.292
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:37:41.561
5 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:38:14.358
6 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:38:16.570
7 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:38:17.981
8 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:38:26.838
9 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:38:34.592
10 Jolyon Palmer (Gbr) Renault 1:38:48.242
11 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:38:51.654
12 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 Lap
13 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams at 1 Lap
14 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap
15 Pascal Wehrlein (Ger) Manor Racing at 1 Lap
16 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Manor Racing at 1 Lap
17 Felipe Nasr (Bra) Sauber-Ferrari 46 Laps completed
18 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 40 Laps completed
19 Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Haas F1 39 Laps completed
20 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Renault 17 Laps completed
21 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 7 Laps completed
22 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 0 Laps completed
Nico Rosberg 1min 36.424secs on Lap 44