Mercedes: Ricciardo pace forced our strategy

"Which was the case, so for sure I had to be on it in that last stint and get everything right and nail all those laps".

"With 10 or 15 laps to go, just after the pitstop, the team said he would be with me at the end of the race", said Rosberg.

This included having to withstand a late onslaught from Daniel Ricciardo on fresh tyres in an unexpected grandstand finish, after Mercedes' third stop for Hamilton led Ferrari and Red Bull to follow suit.

"It was good to push the whole race and I knew I would get close to Nico at the end". "He couldn't really double check the set-up, he wasn't happy with the set-up, the vehicle wasn't like it was. Ricciardo out of the blocks with an wonderful pace, it was really exciting at the end".

"It really shows that not only do we have the best auto but we also have the most competent group of engineers to extract the potential from the best vehicle", Rosberg told reporters after the Singapore Grand Prix.

That meant Rosberg's lead at the front extended to 20-seconds for the first time, and although Mercedes nearly pitted the German, they opted not to at the last moment, meaning Ricciardo had a big gap to close but had fresh tyres to do so.

"So even with an incredible start, we wouldn't have got the jump".

Hamilton did manage to overhaul Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen during the closing stages to claim a podium finish, while the other Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel, battled back from the back of the grid to secure a more than credible fifth-place finish.

After a chaotic start that brought out a safety vehicle on the opening lap, the German stayed clear of a late charging Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull at the Marina Bay Circuit as Hamilton fought back to third after a well-timed pit-stop enabled him to leapfrog Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages.

The race was interrupted early when a dramatic crash right after the start saw Nico Hulkenberg crash into the wall before reaching the first corner. Force India's Sergio Perez held off Daniil Kvyat to finish eighth while Kevin Magnussen was tenth to give Renault only its second points finish of the season.

"We've come very close this year on numerous occasions, but I'm not going to stand up here and be disappointed", said Ricciardo. "Of course Daniel tried to pull one up on me with the pit stop".