Wednesday 19 September 2018

Max Verstappen emerges victorious in Malaysia as Lewis Hamilton extends championship lead

Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen celebrates winning the Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen celebrates winning the Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang

Mark Mann-Bryans

Red Bull's Max Verstappen sealed victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton finished second to extend his lead in the championship standings.

Hamilton had started on pole for Mercedes but was passed by Verstappen early on and had no answer to the pace of the Dutchman throughout, with the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo taking the final step on the podium.

Despite being unable to seal an eighth win of the season, Hamilton still opens up his gap at the top of the championship over nearest rival Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel had started from the back of the grid after an engine problem meant the Ferrari driver could not set a time in qualifying, but he fought hard to finish fourth and limit the damage in the title race.

Vettel had started the weekend promisingly but his race was summed up as he collided with the Williams of Lance Stroll on the in-lap. It left his Ferrari with suspension damage and he hitched a lift on the side of the Sauber of compatriot Pascal Wehrlein.

This was billed as Malaysia's finale in F1 as the event drops off the calendar from next season but for Ferrari, the most successful constructor in the history of the grand prix here with seven wins, it was a race to forget.

Kimi Raikkonen had qualified second with Vettel sidelined and had joked that he wanted to race for longer than he did in Singapore, where he crashed out at the first corner. But he could not even make the start this time around.

A battery issue meant the Finn did not even start the race, leaving pole-sitter Hamilton with a canter down to turn one from the start.

But, as title rival Vettel battled his way forward from the back, Hamilton did not have it all his own way and was soon reeled in and passed by Verstappen at the start of lap four.

More to follow

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