Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Verstappen takes victory in final Malaysia F1 GP as Vettel keeps slim hopes alive

shares
comments
Verstappen takes victory in final Malaysia F1 GP as Vettel keeps slim hopes alive
Oct 1, 2017, 9:54 AM

Max Verstappen took his second Formula 1 victory by a comfortable margin over runner-up Lewis Hamilton at the final Malaysia Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen took his second Formula 1 victory by a comfortable margin over runner-up Lewis Hamilton at the final Malaysia Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel, who started last after suffering engine issues in qualifying, recovered to take a fourth place finish.

Vettel's finish was soured as he tangled at low speed with Lance Stroll and the rear-end of the Ferrari was destroyed, with both tyres hanging on by their tethers. Stroll maintained that he was cut-off by Vettel while Vettel apportioned blame firmly to the Canadian.

Pascal Wehrlein's car was flagged down, with Vettel hitching a ride back to the pits on the Sauber, avoiding a ride in the course car.

Ferrari's engine issues extended to front-row starter Kimi Raikkonen, whose car was wheeled back to the pits before the formation lap had taken place, ending any hopes of a victory for Ferrari.

Hamilton, who finished second, extended his drivers' championship lead to 34 points.

"We were really lucky," admitted Toto Wolff after the race as Mercedes' lack of pace was left unpunished. At the finish, Hamilton was 12.770 seconds behind Verstappen.

Daniel Ricciardo took third place having fended off Vettel in the closing stages of the race as both Red Bull drivers stood on the rostrum for the first time since the 2016 Malaysia GP.

Polesitter Hamilton lost the lead on lap four to a maurauding Verstappen through Turn 1, as the Mercedes driver complained that his 'derate' setting was slowing him down, as it did in Q3 on Saturday. One day after his 20th birthday, Verstappen was in line for a grand prix victory.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas jumped from fourth to second through Turn 1 but Verstappen quickly pushed him back down to third. A lap nine duel between Bottas and Ricciardo was wheel-to-wheel, but Ricciardo easily took the spot back as Bottas was anonymous on the way to his fifth place finish.

The two were inches apart through Turns 1 and 2, with Ricciardo making the move stick through the inside of Turn 4 as Bottas let him pass. The Australian then began to close the gap gradually to Hamilton in second place, while Verstappen pulled away.

Within 10 laps, Sebastian Vettel had made his way to eighth – though he lost some time behind Fernando Alonso – and as those around him pitted, he was in sixth by lap 17, chasing Sergio Perez in front, taking fifth through Turn 1 on lap 21 with Bottas in his sights.

The field began to pit properly on on lap 12 as softs were equipped, but none of the top four chose to pit until lap 27, when Hamilton switched super-softs for the harder compound and triggered a flurry of activity from the frontrunners.

Verstappen took softs a lap later whereas but Ricciardo continued on his super-softs until lap 30, exiting around nine seconds behind Hamilton, but he was in no position to catch him as their pace was similar.

Vettel, who couldn't make it past a sluggish Bottas in front, pitted on lap 28 and emerged in front of the Mercedes to put him in fourth with Ricciardo and Hamilton ahead.

Ricciardo loss of ground to Vettel was swift, and by lap 46 the two were less than a second apart with Vettel pushing for a podium equipped with the new-spec Ferrari engine, topping the speed trap in the process.

Another brief slowdown behind backmarker Alonso prompted Vettel to complain over the radio as half a second was lost but Ricciardo was back in the clutches of the Ferrari with an attempt to overtake through Turn 1 on lap 49; the Australian shut the door with a podium at stake.

Ricciardo's podium was cemented with five laps remaining as Vettel's pace on the super-softs dropped, and it was to be a double podium for Red Bull.

Force India's Perez took a sixth place finish, though his position was threatened by Stoffel Vandoorne briefly. Vandoorne himself had to fend off the Williams pair early on in the race for seventh.

Williams took eighth and ninth with Stroll ahead of Felipe Massa. Although both scrapped through the opening few laps, no considerable contact was made, to cap off a double-points finish.

Esteban Ocon finished 10th having tapped Massa into a spin through Turn 1 of the opening lap, allowing Williams team-mate Stroll up from 12th to eighth. Ocon pitted for softs soon after, with a puncture. He later encountered Massa again, and this time Massa forced Ocon to take a small diversion off the track, to the Frenchman's frustration.

A spin on lap 26 came as he attempted to overtake Carlos Sainz Jr through Turn 1 as Sainz, with enough room to make it through, clipped Ocon's tyre and spun the Force India around. Sainz retired midway through the race with an engine problem.

McLaren-Honda's Alonso finished 11th, having run as high as seventh. A mid-race overtake on Haas' Kevin Magnussen for 14th involved some determined defending from the Dane, and it led to Alonso frustratedly saying that “Hulkenberg was right [about him],” alluding to the post-race feud between the pair in Hungary.

Magnussen eventually finished 12th, ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean who was troubled late on by composed debutant Pierre Gasly, but Gasly settled for 14th ahead of both Renaults.

Jolyon Palmer, in an attempt to overtake Magnussen on lap 40, touched the Haas through the inside of Turn 1 and spun, putting him in 15th place at the chequered flag. Nico Hulkenberg struggled on soft tyres and had to stop twice, leaving him down in 16th.

Wehrlein ran as high as 12th but quickly tumbled down the order as his Sauber's straight-line speed was inadequate at Sepang. He finished 17th, ahead of team-mate Marcus Ericsson.

Who was your driver of the day? Have your say on Verstappen's victory at the Malaysia Grand Prix in the comment section below.

Results:

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR

LAPS

GAP

1

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

56

1h30m01.290s

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

56

12.770s

3

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

56

22.519s

4

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

56

37.362s

5

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

56

56.021s

6

Sergio Perez

Force India

56

1m18.630s

7

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren

55

1 Lap

8

Lance Stroll

Williams

55

1 Lap

9

Felipe Massa

Williams

55

1 Lap

10

Esteban Ocon

Force India

55

1 Lap

11

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

55

1 Lap

12

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

55

1 Lap

13

Romain Grosjean

Haas

55

1 Lap

14

Pierre Gasly

Toro Rosso

55

1 Lap

15

Jolyon Palmer

Renault

55

1 Lap

16

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

55

1 Lap

17

Pascal Wehrlein

Sauber

55

1 Lap

18

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

54

2 Laps

-

Carlos Sainz Jr

Toro Rosso

29

Power Unit

-

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

0

Not started

Next article
Verstappen: Hamilton had "more to lose" in Turn 1 move

Previous article

Verstappen: Hamilton had "more to lose" in Turn 1 move

Next article

Vandoorne hails best-ever F1 drive, as Alonso struggles

Vandoorne hails best-ever F1 drive, as Alonso struggles
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Max Verstappen Shop Now
Be first to get
breaking news