For the first half the race took on a familiar pattern as Rosberg and team mate Lewis Hamilton raced away at the front of the field. Then, all of a sudden as the duo were locked in battle, both men reported a loss of power, allowing the cars behind - led by the Williams of Felipe Massa - to close in swiftly.
When the sick silver cars pitted for fresh rubber a lap apart, Massa sensationally took the lead, but the real action was taking place behind him as Hamilton ran deep at the hairpin and lost the advantage he had gained on Rosberg in the pits. Shortly afterwards Massa pitted from the lead, but as Rosberg re-took P1, the cause of Hamilton's error became clear: he was suffering with braking problems and, after missing several apexes, soon pulled into the pits to retire for the second time this season.
Rosberg continued to hold the lead, but the MGU-K problem that had caused his and Hamilton’s loss of power meant that he was eventually caught by a train of faster moving cars. The gaggle was led by the one-stopping Force India of Sergio Perez, followed by the two-stopping Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. Thriteen laps from the finish these three were soon joined by the hard-charging Massa to set up a grandstand finish.
Under increasing pressure and effectively running on internal combustion power alone, Rosberg bravely held on to the lead, as Perez - on the oldest tyres of the group - did a tremendous job to keep Ricciardo behind. Finally the Australian forced his way past the Mexican into second place with a bold move going into Turn 1 on the 66th lap, and then set out after Rosberg. He caught the Mercedes with the aid of DRS down the back straight on the 68th lap, breezing by on the outside going into the final corner.
But the action wasn’t over yet. As they crossed the line to start the final lap, Massa lined up Perez for a pass into Turn 1 only to tag the back of the Force India, sending both cars heavily into the barriers. As both drivers climbed out of their cars uninjured, the safety car was dispatched and the stewards immediately launched an investigation into the incident. Perez was deemed at fault, having changed his racing line, and will drop five grid places at the next race as a result.
Vettel, who had squeezed past Perez and into third on the 68th lap, was mighty lucky to avoid Massa’s gyrating car as it swept across his bows at the first corner, but having survived, the German was free to take third behind Rosberg and a delighted Ricciardo.
Behind the front three, McLaren’s Jenson Button was the beneficiary of the last lap chaos. The Briton had started the penultimate lap in eighth place but passed Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso as the duo squabbled at the hairpin. Hulkenberg eventually came home fifth, Alonso sixth and Valtteri Bottas seventh in the second Williams. Jean-Eric Vergne claimed eighth for Toro Rosso, ahead of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen, who survived a spin on his way to the final point for Ferrari.
Perez and Massa were classified 11th and 12th, as the Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez were the final classified finishers in 13th and 14th.
Besides Hamilton, neither of the Marussias finished after Max Chilton lost control at Turn 3 on the opening lap and punted team mate Jules Bianchi into the barriers. Both red and black cars suffered severe damage and the debris resulted in the safety car being deployed for the first six tours as the marshals cleared the track. Chilton was subsequently handed a three-place grid penalty for the next race for causing the incident.
Neither Caterham finished, with Marcus Ericsson being told to switch off his Renault power unit and Kamui Kobayashi stopping with damage to his left rear suspension. The Japanese driver had earlier spun at Turn 2. The Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were also non-finishers, as was Daniil Kvyat whose Toro Rosso hit technical problems.
The result means Rosberg extends his championship lead by 18 points over the unfortunate Hamilton, with 140 to 118, as Ricciardo moves to third on 79 ahead of Alonso on 69, Vettel on 60 and Hulkenberg on 57. In the constructors’ stakes, Mercedes have 258 to Red Bull’s 139, with Ferrari on 87, Force India on 77, McLaren up to 66 and Williams on 58.