MALAYSIAN GP – Verstappen fends off Hamilton for a dominate victory in Sepang, as Vettel fights to fourth

Testing & Race Reports

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has taken a dominating victory after fighting with Mercedes Lewis Hamilton in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Dutchman overtook Hamilton early on and a fight for the victory soon fooled, but Verstappen withstood the pressure before sailing into the distance.

For Verstappen, it was a good strong result following his difficult season, which has seen him suffer reliability problems and been involved in accidents. Hamilton was unable in the end to respond to Verstappen late in the race despite fending him off.

Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was forced to fend off his former team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who had a brilliant drive making up places after starting last to finish fourth. Earlier, the Aussie was fighting up the front with his team-mate and Hamilton

However, his championship rival Lewis Hamilton’s second place means he extends his championship lead to thirty-four points.

Verstappen said “I think in the beginning, the car felt good and I saw Lewis was struggling a bit more with traction, so I used my battery a bit more.”

“He has more to lose than me in terms of the championship. From then on, I could race my own race. It’s a very tough race and it was incredible to win.”

Hamilton said “The race was a tough one. They had the upper hand on us today. I feel good, but we have some work to do with the car. We didn’t have the pace this weekend. We have to keep pushing.””

It was far from a perfect afternoon for the Scuderia as Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire from second on the grid before the race had begun thanks to a turbo failure. While Vettel finished the race, on the cool down lap he was involved in a collision with Williams’s Lance Stroll.

Raikkonen told Sky Sports “I don’t know what Sebastian felt but obviously we had some issue. I don’t know what it is yet exactly – I  don’t think anyone does.”

“It’s impossible to say if I could have won but I’m pretty certain I would have had a very, very good car today.”

Before the collision it was a brilliant race from Vettel, starting last he was able to recovery to twelfth in the first two laps. Then ten laps later he was in the points.

Valtteri Bottas was a lonely fifth after a fight with Ricciardo early on. He had made a good start fighting with Ricciardo early on but he was unable to fight with the Red Bull in the closing stages of the race.

It was also a strong race from both Force India’s Sergio Perez finished sixth ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne. With the Belgian who has looked strong all weekend, finishing ahead of his team-mate Fernando Alonso equalling the best result of his career finishing fifth fastest.

It was a great race by Vandoorne who made a great start, but he ultimately was unable to run closely with Perez. Lance Stroll finished eighth ahead of Williams teammate Felipe Massa, who fought with the Force India of Esteban Ocon.

Ocon himself was involved in a collision at the start of the race with Carlos Sainz, that sent into a spin and sending him onto the grass. Alonso finished eleventh fastest ahead of both of the Haas’s with Kevin Magnussen ahead of teammate Romain Grosjean.

Pierre Gasly finished fourteenth in his first Grand Prix, the Frenchman held of Jolyon Palmer and Nico Hulkenberg. However, for Gasly’s Too Rosso’s team-mate Carlos Sainz was forced to retire from the race because of an engine issue.

Result

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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