March 22, 2018

Max Verstappen wins Malaysian Grand Prix

03 October 2017, 10:23 | Randolph Howard

Verstappen and Ricciardo get a little too confident by throwing the mixtures into the air

Verstappen and Ricciardo get a little too confident by throwing the mixtures into the air

Verstappen, who started third on the grid, ended up gaining a position after Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari was taken back into the pits after it wouldn't start, no thanks to an engine issue. With five grands prix still to run, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points.

Despite Hamilton getting away in front, it took Verstappen just four laps to pass him and take the lead, and that's where he stayed until the end, finishing more than 12 seconds ahead of the Brit.

"That was absolutely on merit, flawless drive and happy birthday, mate", Verstappen's race engineer said to him over the team radio. "But the big thing is that Max's bad luck came to an end".

His efforts in Malaysia come after he had rivals Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas cracking up after "letting rip" in a press conference after the Singapore Grand Prix. A superb battle on lap nine eventually saw the Red Bull get past as Vettel worked his way into the top 10 at the same time.

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He had retired from seven of the 11 races in the interim. I didn't sleep well last night because we just didn't know if we would fix the issue, ' he said. "Yeah, it's wonderful. It's a very tough race but of course incredible to win", said Verstappen. Vettel, on the other hand, managed to start the race from dead last, suffering from the same problem as Raikkonen the day before.

Hamilton's only win in Malaysia was in 2014. A turbo failure on the warm up lap meant that the Ferrari had to be pushed off the grid and out of the race. The German was thus able to limit the damage in the championship race. Nevertheless, he underlined Ferrari's raw speed, setting the fastest lap and a new lap record as he charged through the field.

"The whole weekend has been a bit up and down in terms of happiness with the vehicle", said Verstappen. "We have to keep pushing". Bottas is only 25 points behind Vettel, making it very possible for Mercedes to have another first and second place finish in the Driver Standings. Stoffel Vandoorne helped McLaren finish seventh, while Lance Stroll, who collided with Vettel post race finished eighth, ahead of Felipe Massa's Williams in the ninth - who had two incidents with Esteban Ocon, who finished tenth, giving a double point to Force India.

The race will disappear from the calendar after Malaysia´s government decided it would no longer cover the $67 million a year cost of the event.

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