Max Verstappen wins in Malaysia as Lewis Hamilton extends lead

Malaysia: Lewis Hamilton 'sad' that Formula One is losing its 'toughest' race

At Sepang a year ago Hamilton thought the world was against him, spouting conspiracy theories when his Mercedes engine exploded while leading, which handed a 23-point championship cushion to team-mate and eventual champion Nico Rosberg.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo led Dutch team mate Max Verstappen, 20 on Saturday, in a one-two finish for the former champions.

It's the start of what he hopes will be a long F1 journey, but for the Malaysian Grand Prix it is the end of the road for now - it was announced in April that the race would not feature on the 2018 calendar.

"It's a risky situation now for Vettel".

"We're looking forward to talking more about these plans as the season progresses".

Vettel had surprisingly held the upper hand over Hamilton throughout practice but suffered an issue in the final session and required a new engine. Hopefully it won't happen again, but it's part of racing.

"In Singapore, Sebastian was first and I was fourth in qualifying so if you compare it with Mercedes, we were better", he said.

Valtteri Bottas continued to struggle and finished fifth for Mercedes, while Force India's Mexican driver, Sergio Perez, nursing a virus, finished sixth. Today we arrived and the vehicle was much better but still it looked like Ferrari was a little bit ahead, so some big calls to make ahead of qualifying.

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The FIA stewards at Sepang gave Haas special permission to fix Grosjean's vehicle due to the unusual nature of the incident.

He added: "We had such a hard day (on Friday) and it was hard to know where we stood".

"There is a fundamental issue in the auto that we need to find out. It was just a very unfortunate moment", Verstappen said. "There is a gremlin in the auto", he explained.

That said, a coming together between Vettel and Williams driver Lance Stroll after the race had finished, which left the wrecked Ferrari needing to be lifted from the track, provided a weird ending to the race. "It wasn't intentional for either of us", the 18-year-old added. "There are many, many variables, but one things for sure is that you need to get the tyres into their sweet spot, which is something the result suggests I didn't quite get for Q3".

The victory was the second of Verstappen's grand prix career, after a first in Spain previous year, and came a day after his birthday. "So, a surprise to be up here but I'm very grateful". "I've been dreaming about this weekend so many times and it's finally happening".

The issue is best illustrated by the fact that the Singapore Grand Prix last week was so well attended - but Malaysia this weekend will see empty seats in abundance. In 2009 the race had to be stopped after 31 laps due to a flooded racetrack and the later-than-normal start time of 3pm leaves the race vulnerable to a late-afternoon thunderstorm.

Qualifying will start at 10:00am on Saturday, with the race starting at 8:00am on Sunday.



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