Lewis Hamilton started on pole in wet conditions, 19 points behind Mercedes teammate and Row-1 neighbor Nico Rosberg in the driver championship. A Rosberg win would clinch the title for him. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) started third and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) fourth. Rosberg’s front-row start was his 19th of 2016, a new single-season record.
The race began behind the safety car, with full action beginning with Lap 8. Verstappen took third early in the lap. He pitted with the safety car back out during Lap 14 (of 71) to switch from full wets to intermediate tires. Green-flag racing resumed to start Lap 20. Raikkonen spun from third on the restart, bringing out the red flag.
The stoppage lasted 35 min with action only resuming behind the safety car. Eight laps of paced running later, the race was once again red-flagged. The subsequent restart carried the race to Lap 48, at which point the safety car was deployed following a spin by Felipe Massa (Williams).
Green-flag action resumed at Lap 55. One lap earlier Verstappen had pitted to replace intermediates with full wets, falling to 14th place. Putting on a masterful display of wet weather driving, Verstappen proceeded to pass everyone except winner Hamilton and second-place Rosberg, finishing just 10 sec behind the latter.
Brazilian Felipe Nasr (Sauber) finished ninth to give the team its first championship points of the season.