Nico Rosberg qualified on the pole in wet conditions, beating out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who started P2. Red Bull locked down Row 2, Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Daniil Kvyat, and Force India Row 3, Sergio Perez besting Nico Hulkenberg. The two Ferrari drivers—Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen—started back in the pack due to 10-grid spot penalties for using their fifth engine of the season. Hamilton needed to outscore Vettel by 9 points to clinch the 2015 driver championship.
Hamilton pushed Rosberg off track on Turn 1, Kyvat moving into second and Ricciardo third. The virtual safety car was deployed during Lap 5 to pick up debris from various Turn 1 collisions on the opening lap. The caution lasted three laps, with Rosberg passing Ricciardo at the return to green and Kvyat later in Lap 8.
Rosberg made his restart from right behind Ricciardo, after having been running 3 sec behind when the virtual safety car came out. The call that no more rain was expected was made during Lap 9. Ricciardo passed both Kvyat and Rosberg a few laps later after the Russian tried his own pass on Rosberg going into the final turn.
Ricciardo passed Hamilton for lead late in Lap 15, taking the point for the first time this year. Rosberg put the Brit in third on the next lap. Hamilton was brought into the pits at the end of Lap 18, taking on slick tires. Ricciardo followed the next lap, with Rosberg and Kvyat doing the same at the end of 20. Both Rosberg and Kvyat came out in front of Hamilton, with all three behind Ricciardo.
Rosberg passed Ricciardo for the lead during Lap 22, with Hamilton passing Kvyat for third at the same time. Hamilton passed Ricciardo for second four laps later. The safety car came out in Lap 27, with Marcus Ericcson’s Sauber stopped on track and debris on the circuit. Vettel challenged Ricciardo for third during Lap 33, briefly taking it before the Aussia took it back. Vettel, who had passed Kvyat for fourth in Turn 1 of the restart, took P3 the next lap.
The virtual safety car came out in Lap 37 following a Turn 1 collision with Hulkenberg driving into Ricciardo. Rosberg pitted from the lead under the yellow on Lap 39. The virtual safety car was removed to start Lap 40, with Hamilton in the lead ahead of Vettel. Vettel had pitted earlier in the race and took on hard tires.
Rosberg passed Vettel for P2 during Lap 42. Kvyat spun the next lap in Turn 19 and collided hard with the inside retaining wall, bringing out the safety car. Hamilton pitted under the caution. Vettel followed suit and took softs, reentering the fray under yellow behind Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen
Green-flag racing resumed to start Lap 47. Vettel took P3 from Verstappen during the lap. Rosberg left the circuit briefly allowing Hamilton to take the lead, but set the fastest lap the next time around and trailed Hamilton by 2.2 sec during Lap 50. Vettel was closing on Rosberg for second during Lap 55. Vettel needed P2 to extend the championship by one more week.
Hamilton won. Rosberg finished second, and Vettel third. Lewis Hamilton is the 2015 driver champion. Verstappen finished a career-best fourth, moving into tenth place in the driver standings. The championship was Hamilton’s third, the tenth driver to win at least 3 F1 titles. Mercedes also won the constructor championship. The win also moved Hamilton into third on the all-time wins list with 43, breaking a tie with Vettel.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 327
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 251
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 247
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland), Ferrari – 123
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 111
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 109
Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull-Renault – 76
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull-Renault – 74
Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India-Mercdes - 64
Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso-Renault – 45
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 574
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 374
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Bottas) – 220
Red Bull Racing-Renault (Ricciardo, Kvyat) – 150
Force India-Mercedes (Nico Hulkenberg, Perez) – 102
Lotus-Mercedes (Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado) - 70
Toro Rosso-Renault (Carlos Sainz Jr., Verstappen) – 63
Sauber-Ferrari (Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson) – 36
McLaren-Honda (Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso) - 27
Next event: Grand Prix of Mexico (Mexico City) – Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2015