Verstappen takes victory in final Malaysia F1 GP as Vettel keeps slim hopes alive
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: Editor   |  01 Oct 2017   |  9:54 am GMT  |  490 comments

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

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1

all cars lapped, except for the top 6.

2

Its the last Malaysian Grand Prix, but a least a few records were set. Fastest Pole lap for Lewis, Fastest race lap for Seb, and youngest driver to achieve his second win, Max. I’m not sure if he’s the youngest winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix, seems hard to find out.

3

what a month for ferrari, im hugely disappointed with how vettel is acting, he is not thinking like a previous world champion. im supporting ferrari all the way but dang, it can get very frustrating!!!

4

Ther is arguably a lot “wrong” with F1 right now. Vettels misfortunes are how F1 works for the title contenders. What is wrong about this is Hamilton winning every bloody year. F1 was boring when Schumacher romped 5 years straight, when Vettel romped 4 years straight and now Hamilton minus a Rosberg year. The issue isn’t who is winning it’s how dominating it is and how often. It’s stale. I don’t even care who wins anymore as long as it isn’t a Mercedes

5

Max did a great job and so did Merceds. They just cruised and let the RedBull guys play up front while Lewis protected his lead in the WDC , Bottas wasn’t sure where he was, but they both preserved their engines. Of course Mercedes wants us to believe that they are struggling. They are just playing late season head games.

6

Did anyone else notice that Ricciardo was about four seconds behind Hamilton before the pit stops and more than ten seconds behind after?

7

Yes, i did and it was a decisive mistake. On fresh rubber and only 4/5 secs apart Ricciardo would’ve possibly got Hamilton by race end. He wouldn’t have caught Verstappen though as he was long gone. I see that as a tactical error or maybe Red Bull wouldn’t do anything to have a challenge mounted against Verstappen if DR had closed right up! Who knows? Red Bull know and i bet that they aren’t telling.

8

Daniel never hat Max’s pace this weekend and I am pretty ure Lewis wasn’t pushing to the limit too.

9

James, any idea why Vettel took the steering wheel after his crash? There are rumours that he was atually driving Kimi’s car and it was Vettel’s car that didnt start from 2nd on the grid. Is the car number the only distinguisher between two cars of the same team? Any more news on why Kimi wasnt able to start the race?

10

Lol are people really this naive, each car up to the tyres is marked by the FIA with a security seal you can’t swap cars.

11

max winning here along with vettel’s troubles is karma playing itself out

12

If you suffer a crash you can change gearbox penalty free for next race. Maybe Ferrari just played it smart who knows.

13

I’ sure that the official strategy breakdown will highlight this, but regardless of Bottas’ poor pace today, Mercedes didn’t help themselves at all by leaving him out for so long before his pit stop. He should have been called in on the same lap as Hamilton (there was enough time to do so) or at least the very next lap in order to give him a chance of retaining track position ahead of Vettel. As it happened even Vettel got his pit stop in ahead of Bottas and so managed an easy undercut. Even had Bottas been unable to fend off Vettel for the rest of the race it would have slowed his progress and not given him a run at Ricciardo and a possible podium.

14
Nico hulkenberg

My Driver of the day was Nico Hulkenberg.

15

Sooo……is ricciardo value gone down now,like seb value went down when ricciardo turned up at redbull. 11- 4 to max in qualifying and a dominant win. Surely ricciardo is shaken.

16

I do hope the Dutch sort out their National Anthem because I suspect I’m going to be hearing a lot more of it in the coming years. Long overdue second win for a very talented driver. Congratulations Max Verstapen.

17

I think that we will be OK as long as we don’t have the need to hear the Uruguayan anthem, which I think is something like 5 mins long. ;o)

18

well it’s the austria anthem thats so terrible. More a deadmars..

this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qyTnc8ZxU8
brrr…

19

Does Danny owe Fernando a beer? 🙂

20

I think they should share a couple together!

21

Conspiracy time… Raikkonen and Vettel switched cars! Vettels couldn’t be fixed so he got Kimis and Kimi got the broken one and got hooked before the start!

In all seriousness, I was fortunate to be at the race today and it was great, good atmosphere loads of support for lots of different drivers, good on track action and generally fairly well organised, it will be a loss from the calendar!

22

Mercedes definitely sandbagging today.
I’m not suggesting they were the fastest car but once Max passed Lewis and with Seb behind, why over stretch the PU.
So a good opportunity to keep a bit of interest after the Ferrari’s imploded.

Gotta mention Vettel and his typical I own this and every other track so I’ll just crash into other drivers be then blame them!
The stewards may have given him a pass (again) but had that happened in the race it may have resulted in a penalty. As it is he may have trashed the gearbox anyway therefore could end up with another self imposed penalty.
And lastly,how dare he even mention Alonsos driving……get over yourself dude.
I honestly liked him better when he was throwing the F bomb at everyone.
Good to see Lewis play the long game and bag the points.

23

Ferrari are hopeless. Points wise they are closer to Redbull than the Mercs and they have the quickest car. They really have to sort out their drivers. At best they have the 5th and 10th fastest drivers on the grid.

If Kimi is just missing out on Pole against Lewis, then that means that Red car is at least 0.5 secs faster. I think Alonso was on Average 0.5 quicker than Kimi and Lewis is a bit quicker than Alonso. How does Ferrari even hire the guy. Never mind hiring/rehiring a guy who is only about 0.2 secs quicker than Kimi.

Get one of the top 3 fastest drivers into your car for next season. Vettle can be his number 2. Sort it out you twats. Christ almighty, I feel like I’m on the crazy pills sometimes.

24

That is quite a silly calculation, to be honest, completely pointless.

25

Congrats to Max. Well deserved win.

Puzzled and slightly worried by Merc’s lack of race pace. I expected it in Singapore but not so much here (I expected them to be slower than Ferrari but at least on a par to the Red Bulls on race day). LH hoped to have this addressed for next year! (I guess it means, it’s something fundamental to the car design and tyre temperatures but not really sure).

Championship far from over in my view even if Vettel is trailing by 34 points (even if LH has reliability, I think there is a good chance going to the wire if Ferrari have clean weekends and RBs get in the mix in few of the races).

26

Driver of the day … that’s a difficult one !
Euh … Verstappen ?
Vettel did good also, finishing fourth and not bouncing in anybody !
… until the post-race lap.

27

Imagine how fast that redbull would be with a Mercedes in the back. No wonder totto didn’t want to give them engines.
Think the constructors is a done deal.
But the drivers looks close. Ferrari looks very fast but fragile. Mercedes God knows what’s going on with the car.
Bottles really needs to up his game and help Lewis.
Hopefully vettel will need not only gearbox change but possibly engine change again.

28

A great, perfectly executed drive from MaxV today, took care of his car, kept away from trouble (only coming close to the spinning Palmer). Lewis did look rather downhearted, though he completed a well measured and sensible drive, knowing his cars limits, a faultless, if anonymous second place.
No surprise from Palmer again, though I still can’t decide whether he just can’t control his Renault or too busy overthinking the helter skelter that is his F1 career. What does surprise me is how Magnussen keeps his drive (sponsorship?), the man could race around a cotton mill he weaves so much.
Lastly Sebastian, what can I say? A brilliant drive through the pack. It can’t have been his fault crashing into Stroll, it never is! When Hamilton dictated the Baku pace it was the car infronts fault, when he swerved across a wet start in Singapore it couldn’t be his fault as he HAD been the car infront (and started slower than most cars behind him, so slowing down today going to pick up rubber as the car infront was attempting also couldn’t be his fault either, is everybody meant to vacate the area in reverence of him? Or just zero spatial awareness? Quite academic and rhetorical anyway as the FIA wont blame Ferrari or the wonderboy.

29

Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting the FIA are biased towards Ferrari and Vettel, more they seem to be avoiding any possible interference with the championship leaders and accusation of manipulation.

30

FIA conspirancy?

31

Quite an entertaining race but a shame Raikkonen wasn’t able to start. As for Vettel, the great drive everyone expected. We’ll have to await the time graphics but I suspect Ferrari made a mistake by having Seb switch to supersofts 28 laps from the end. Why not wait for another 5-8 laps? He would not have lost too much on the softs and without the eventual degradation on the SS would have been able to persist in attacking Ricciardo.

What about Mercedes? With the exception of Q3 qualimode they lacked pace… It was pretty evident they were strugging on ultras this season, may we now add supers to that list? Hamilton at least stuck to the contingency plan very professionally, Bottas was nowhere all weekend.

Mentionable drive by Vandoorne, who seems to be coming into his own now that the worst Honda troubles are over. Vettel, obstructed by Alonso “expected better of him”, I agree if he meant the race.
Good result for Perez but he profited from a skirmish wich also involved Ocon and Massa.
Decent drive by Stroll as well, he trusts himself to be agressive now and then, although still more in offense than defense.
OK debut by Gasly, who appeared to drive pretty risk-averse. Better than flying off like Sainz.
Finally some KMag fun to top off Max’ birthday cake carrying a big 20 on it: 2 grand prix wins, 0 bad luck lightning strikes.

32

I think Gasly did exactly the right thing. Clock up the laps and experience and bring the car safely home.

33

They pitted him because Mercedes put Bottas to block him.

34

In case you’re wondering why I left him out: mr Ricciardo would have gotten a very honourable mention, but he spoilt it with his unceremonious anointment of Max during the press conference!

35

Lemwil / Daniel

That was a bit mean. Look at it from a team perspective. Max and Dan got a first and third and a great haul of points for THE TEAM.

36

Hello @Adrian,
Surely you picked up that I was just joking? Daniel was fooling around at the press conference, I was just kidding here.
The giveaways should have been: “mr”, “unceremonious anointment” and the exclamation mark.

37

Daniel

Entschuldigung Daniel. Ich verstehe jetzt. Alles ist gut

38

Fastest ever in race lap record taken by a hybrid engine today beating Montoya’s 2004 lap record and no comments yet from Sebee… coincidence?

39

Brad, he has moved on from that one now, don’t worry plenty more where that came from….

40

Wasn’t the 2004 race wet?

And was today’s time just a tenth faster? And more importantly, was it 4s slower than pole? Why? Why can’t the pole pace be replicated in a Grand Prix? Ever!

41

Sebee, the total race time yesterday was over 38 secs faster than the quickest before that (which was actually the 2006 edition, with V8’s).

1:30:01.290, with full fuel tanks at the start, heavier cars, no refueling, a maximum fuel flow rate, and a single tire supplier. Not too shabby!

42

And yet, we still know the cars are being held back and could go faster.

43

Fuel loads, tyrewear, exhaustion and the list goes on and on and on…

44

None of those things happened in V10 era, right?

45

Wasn’t the 2004 edition race that held record until today a wet race? Even so, the improvement here is less than .2s on that time. Still, an improvement.

46

Sebee, very light rain for two laps at the start, but quickly dried and no wet tyres were used by anyone.

47

Rummaging on it, be patient… you may get a cryptic poem 🙂

48

Good race, well deserved victory for Max, great result for Lewis to extend his lead and another podium for Danny Ric! Horrible luck for Kimi, and what on earth happened at the end with Seb and Stroll?! Replays seem a bit thin on the ground, so will have to reserve judgement on that one. Driver of the say? Got to be Max, with an honourable mention for Lewis and Vandoorne.

49

Great race and another fitting moment from a great track that has produced some exciting races and moments in the past…Sepang hope the F1 circus returns to you one day. I would take a weekend like this over all Singapore night races any day of the week!

A Redbull overtook a Merc…and then it happened again!

Congrats to Max and what can you say about Kimi, the prancing horse…were Ferrari merely docking or castrating? Ouch!!!

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