Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton to win F1 Malaysian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen took his first victory of the Formula 1 season with a dominant drive in the final Malaysian GP, as Sebastian Vettel recovered from starting last to take fourth.
Red Bull’s Verstappen passed pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1 on lap four at Sepang and from there controlled the race to take the second win of his career.
Hamilton finished 12.7 seconds adrift in second, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo completing the podium in third.
Ferrari’s Vettel, running a new spec engine, hunted Ricciardo down in the closing laps, but had his challenge cooled when his team told him to back off because of concern over engine temperatures.
In a bizarre incident on the slow down lap, Vettel collided with Lance Stroll’s Williams, causing significant damage to the left rear of the Ferrari.
Vettel, who hitched a lift back to pits on the side of Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber and took his steering wheel with him, now trails championship leader Hamilton by 34 points with five races to go.
There was drama for Ferrari before the start as Kimi Raikkonen, who was due to start second, suffered a turbo problem, and though the team tried to rectify it, it was unable to do so before the race began, forcing him into retirement.
Hamilton got away cleanly from pole, with Verstappen holding off a fast-starting Valtteri Bottas to take second, and Ricciardo slotting into fourth.
Verstappen then set about closing the gap to Hamilton and once he was in DRS range, the Red Bull driver was able to launch a move down the inside at Turn 1.
His team-mate Ricciardo hustled Bottas, getting alongside around the outside of Turn 1 and though the Finn held on around the outside of Turn 2 to get the place back, Ricciardo had the momentum to pass into Turn 4.
Further back, Vettel was making strong progress, climbing up to 12th by lap two and eighth by the end of lap 11.
Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to pit for the first and only time at the end of lap 26, the Mercedes driver swapping super-softs for a fresh set of soft tyres.
Race leader Verstappen reacted the next lap, taking the softs, too, and rejoining ahead of Hamilton.
Ricciardo inherited the lead, but relinquished it to Verstappen, who led Hamilton by around nine seconds, when he pitted two laps later.
As Verstappen controlled the race out front, Ricciardo set about trying to catch Hamilton, but in the end the Mercedes was out of reach and Ricciardo had to focus on the threat from Vettel.
Vettel got close enough to launch one attack into Turn 1, but Ricciardo slammed the door shut in front of him, and after that Vettel was forced to back off.
Bottas finished a lonely fifth with Force India’s Sergio Perez having a clean race to take sixth.
Stoffel Vandoorne made a strong start, rising up to fifth from seventh, but he did not have the pace to match Vettel and Perez and ended up seventh for the second successive race.
Stroll was eighth, ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa, who came out on top in a feisty battle for ninth with Esteban Ocon.
It was a scrappy race for Ocon, who was sandwiched between Massa and team-mate Perez at the start, leading to him picking up a puncture.
He also collided with Carlos Sainz Jr at Turn 1, pitching him into a spin, and then found himself on the grass when battling Massa later in the race.
Nico Hulkenberg finished 15th while Renault team-mate Jolyon Palmer had a scrappy race, including two spins in close succession, the second of which was the result of contact with Kevin Magnussen, and ended up 16th.
Sainz was running in the points when he was forced to retire with an engine problem, while rookie Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly finished 14th in his first grand prix.
Malaysian GP result
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||56||1h30m01.290s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||56||22.519s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||56||1m18.630s|
|7||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||55||1 Lap|
|8||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|9||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|11||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||55||1 Lap|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|13||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||55||1 Lap|
|15||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|17||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|18||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||54||2 Laps|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||29||Electrical|
|–||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||0||Not started|
Q: Kimi come and join us. What a try that was! Happy with that? I’m sure you wanted just a little bit more. I would have thought you would have done one of the old karting moves – jumping up and down in the seat, leaning forward. Maybe you should do that next time.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, it’s OK, but obviously when you get that close it’s disappointing. I made the most out of it. Yes, there are always places you can improve, but you are never going to get it 100% perfect anywhere. You always find some things you can improve, but I must say the car has been behaving nicely all weekend and it’s been a pleasure so far. We’ll try to get further than 100 metres tomorrow, and let’s see what we can do.
Q: Tomorrow is going to be important, obviously you have been on the front row before but this is going to be an interesting little drive towards Turn One. Are you ready for this? This crowd is looking forward to a big race tomorrow, yeah?
KR: Yeah, obviously it’s a long way, so if you make a good start you will benefit quite a bit from it. It’s a pretty tight first two corners and a lot usually happens. We’ll try to make sure the first two corners go well and go from there. I think we’re going to have a very good race car, so let’s see.
Q: You’re going to be after the perfect start, Kimi, Max, tomorrow you’re going to want to get in front of this guy, who is the man who is going to do that.
MV: I don’t want to be sandwiched – that’s the only thing.
KR: I don’t want to be hit.
Q: Kimi, it equals your best qualifying performance here in Sepang: 0.045 of a second off pole position. A lot of weight on your shoulders obviously in qualifying from the Ferrari team with Vettel in trouble. You were on target, it seemed, until the final corner – tell us about it.
KR: Well, I don’t know. Obviously, I only know how it was and I think overall, the whole weekend, it’s been pretty straightforward. The car’s been handling well. I think we were quite happy all day, also in qualifying but, y’know, you can always improve here and there. I don’t think you ever going to make an absolutely perfect lap and it’s a bit more painful when you get that close, for sure. There’s places that you improve a little bit and it’s just enough – but it wasn’t today. Obviously was a shame for the team, with Seb’s issue, whatever, not having him in the qualifying – but that’s how it goes sometimes. I think the car’s [inaudible] very well but to try to fix it and then obviously had some problem. It’s a shame for him. Sure he will be good tomorrow. I’m happy but I’d rather have qualified in first place but I think tomorrow is a long race, it’s going to be tough for tyres and I think we should have a very good car tomorrow. I have a good feeling about it.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, in Monaco you won the pole with the same margin as you did lose it today. How big is the difference in your feeling compared to that Monaco?
KR: It makes no difference to compare what happened in Monaco with here. I don’t really care what’s the time difference, or position today. It’s what happened. We came second, I’m pretty happy because things have been running pretty smoothly all weekend and I think we’re going to have a good car tomorrow, at least so far that’s how it’s been. You always look for more and for sure there’s always things to improve, to go a bit faster and that little bit would have been enough today.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Kimi, your teammate is in the back, he’s fighting for the championship. You on the first row, do you think you can believe also the team can ask you to change the strategy in order to take maximum possible points from Lewis, keeping that in mind?
KR: What do you mean exactly, because as a team, we want to get maximum points out of any race with two cars and obviously for Seb we hope he’s going to make a good recovery but it’s not going to change my race. We’re always going to try and make the fastest race and I don’t really know what else…
Lewis Hamilton takes Malaysian GP pole, Sebastian Vettel at the back
Lewis Hamilton narrowly beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to pole position for Formula 1’s final Malaysian Grand Prix, as title rival Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari suffered engine problems and qualified last.
Mercedes struggled to get its upgraded F1 car working properly throughout the free practice sessions at the Sepang circuit, but turned things around just in time for Hamilton to get the job done in qualifying.
Hamilton’s first flying lap in Q3 proved just enough in the end, as Raikkonen – who was fastest of all in Q2 – fell short by just 0.045 seconds after locking up at the final corner.
The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was not so comfortable as Hamilton in qualifying, struggling particularly through the second sector. Bottas ended up only fifth fastest, behind both Red Bulls.
Max Verstappen split Raikkonen and Hamilton in Q2, but fell back in Q3, ending up third fastest, almost half a second away from pole. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was only half a tenth further back in fourth.
Vettel should have been among the fight for pole, having set the pace on Friday, but his Ferrari suffered a problem in final practice, so Ferrari worked through the break between sessions to change his engine.
Vettel made it out for the start of Q1, but reported a loss of drive, which he described as feeling "like I have no turbo", that he couldn’t fix with the switch changes suggested by his team.
Vettel was forced back to the pits without setting a time and couldn’t return to the track, leaving him last in the classification.
This could strike another serious blow to his world championship challenge, after losing his points lead to Hamilton after crashing out on lap one last time out in Singapore.
Esteban Ocon took advantage of Vettel’s absence to post the sixth quickest time for Force India, ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren, Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault, Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, and the second McLaren of Fernando Alonso.
Felipe Massa and Jolyon Palmer (who was investigated but not punished for colliding with Verstappen in final practice) were both dumped out of the top 10 in the dying moments of Q2, as Perez, Vandoorne and Alonso all leaped ahead with quicker lap times.
Massa ended up an agonising 0.024s away from making the cut in 11th, ahead of Palmer, Williams team-mate Lance Stroll – who complained of a bad outlap compromising his second run – and the Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly.
Neither Toro Rosso driver found time on their second Q2 runs, and Gasly ended up qualifying just 0.156s behind Sainz for his F1 debut, though by lapping slower than he managed in Q1.
Haas team-mates Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen failed to make it through to Q2, by more than three tenths of a second, as faster rivals made late improvements and knocked them into the drop zone.
Pascal Wehrlein got his Sauber to within half a tenth of a second of beating Magnussen to 17th place on the grid.
Marcus Ericsson was almost half a second slower in the second Sauber and slowest of those to set a time.
Malaysian GP grid
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.541s||0.465s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.595s||0.519s|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.478s||1.402s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.658s||1.582s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m32.402s||2.326s|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m32.558s||2.482s|
Malaysian GP: Raikkonen edges Vettel in final practice
Kimi Raikkonen edged out Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel to the quickest time in final Formula 1 practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen posted a 1m31.880s on the super-soft compound tyres to finish 0.162 seconds clear of Vettel, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo half a tenth further back in third.
However, there was frustration for Ferrari in the final minutes of the session when Vettel was told to slow and return to the pits.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only manage the fifth quickest time, 0.659s off the pace, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas two tenths quicker in fourth.
Hamilton made a mistake at the final corner on his qualifying-simulation, running deep into the hairpin and failing to improve on his earlier time.
Mercedes brought a substantial upgrade to the W08 to Malaysia, including revised front wing, ‘spoon’ deflector, bargeboards and floor, but has so far struggled relative to its rivals.
It decided to run split programmes with its drivers in a bid to find answers, with Bottas running the new aero package and Hamilton reverting to the old.
Hamilton had set the early pace, when most ran used super-softs, clocking a 1m32.539s, with Raikkonen and Vettel slotting into second and third respectively.
When the teams bolted on fresh sets of super-softs, which Pirelli says is around 0.8s quicker than the soft, Ricciardo was the first out and went quickest with a 1m32.091s.
Vettel then moved to the top of the pile before Raikkonen usurped him to end the session quickest of all at a dry and muggy Sepang.
Max Verstappen was sixth quickest, 0.040s adrift of Hamilton, with his qualifying-simulation coming late on, but his session was disrupted when he had contact with Jolyon Palmer at the final corner.
Palmer, who had a scrappy session that included an off-track excursion, dived down the inside of the final corner, locking up and hitting the Red Bull.
The impact broke Palmer’s front wing with Verstappen reporting a puncture, and both drivers were summoned to the stewards over the incident.
Sergio Perez improved to seventh quickest, 1.329s off the pace, with Felipe Massa eighth only 0.031s adrift in the Williams.
Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, who outpaced team-mate Fernando Alonso, completed the top 10.
It was another tough day for Grosjean, whose mechanics worked into the early hours of the morning following his bizarre Friday practice crash.
The Haas driver spun and aborted a flying lap when he picked up a flat-spot as a result of a big lock up into Turn 9 and ended up 18th.
His team-mate Kevin Magnussen had his running limited when the team recalled him to the garage after it suspected a problem with the engine but he got back out on track and clocked the 13th quickest time.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.211s||16|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||0.699s||17|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.329s||20|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1.410s||21|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.044s||22|
|16||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.326s||24|
“Today’s been ok and everything ran smoothly,” said Kimi. “In the morning we had wet conditions and only managed a few laps, and in the afternoon the session was cut short because of the issue with the track. It’s a pity that we couldn’t use the whole session and do more timed laps, because for sure we could have further improved. But the car was feeling good: I made some mistakes on a new set of tires but apart from that it was a pretty straightforward day. Lap times don’t mean much today, as obviously we don’t know what everybody else was doing”.
Q: Start with a question to all of you. Clearly a painful moment in Singapore, three cars eliminated on the first lap of the grand prix, how do all three of you assess it now and how do you move forward?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Not really anything. Obviously moved on since Sunday, since the weekend.
Q: And Kimi, it’s the 19th and last Malaysian Grand Prix. You’ve raced in most of them, all but three, and you got your first win here. What do you think this event has contributed to the world championship over the years?
KR: I think to start with it’s a very nice circuit, I think there’s been quite good racing over the years here. I think the layout obviously helps that, and conditions have been always tricky. I think everybody has got more used to it since the early days, but nevertheless I think the racing has been good and that’s the main thing. Obviously all the rest, it doesn’t matter because we are here for racing and if that’s good then that’s fine.
Q: (Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail) Leaving aside yourselves, who would you each nominate as the most able driver out there, the best?
KR: I think it’s pointless to answer this one. It’s up to you guys, you’re very good on it at least over the years, so do it again and we can obviously read it then.
Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) Question for all three of you. Nineteen years of Malaysian Grand Prix, this is the final one. What have been some of your fondest memories of this race?
KR: Obviously I won my first race here, it was a while ago now, but it obviously meant a lot. Then there was the win in 2008 with Ferrari, I mean it was a good fight with Felipe and obviously good memories, some bad memories over the years, but that’s when you go many times in the same place that will happen — you have some good years and some not so good. But it’s been pretty good.
Q: (Lennart Bloemhof – Volkskrant) Question for all three drivers. How do you guys cope with the heat during a race weekend like this? Do you have any tips and tricks during the race? Is the preparation different?
KR: I don’t think it’s an awful lot different, really. It’s obviously a bit more hot than other races, Singapore is quite hot. At least myself, I don’t feel that we do an awful lot different things and it’s probably drink a bit more, but that’s about it. It doesn’t feel too bad in the past, at least in the car, you more feel it in the practice when you keep stopping in the box and all the heat comes from there, but during the driving it’s not too bad.
Kimi, your perspective.
KR: Not really different. Singapore, Seb was first in the qualifying, I was fourth. So, if you purely compare to Mercedes, it was better. Obviously the race didn’t go that way but I don’t see why you would look at everything so negative. It’s your question, obviously. It’s up and down: some circuits are better for one guy and others for other guys – but it’s a normal story, every year it’s the same thing: some races go better, others not and there’s so many reasons for those. In the end the whole season is one season and in the end wherever the points are, are the best. It’s pointless to look at one race here, one race there. It’s over the whole year.
What’s your feeling Kimi? Is this a track that you think the Ferrari, as you feel it, will go well around, compared to Mercedes?
KR: Very hard to answer. It’s like any weekend when we go we don’t really know our self any more than any of you guys. You are always guessing a bit how it’s going to be and hoping the best – and then we will see tomorrow some ideas. To be honest, some weekends you seem to start a bit better and more straightforward and everything seems to go more easily, and some you have to… you struggle a bit to find the right way and then come Saturday it turns out to be pretty OK, so, it’s impossible to really answer. I’m feeling we should be OK here, but I might be wrong. I might be right. I don’t know.
Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) for all drivers, what will you miss from Malaysia next year when we are not returning?
KR: To be honest, I don’t know if we’re going to miss it. It’s a nice circuit but the only thing you see is the airport, the hotel next to the airport and the circuit, so you can choose from that what you’re going to miss.
Kimi wraps up an incident-filled race
Kimi Raikkonen: “Fourth position is not the result we wanted, but today unfortunately we couldn’t get more. Overall the car was not too bad and the handling was quite ok, but the pure lap time was not there. We were missing speed and we never had the chance to challenge the cars in front . When Rosberg passed me I suddenly had to turn right to avoid him: I knew he was going to hit me and we both would have probably been out: my rear floor was damaged because of that and Nico got penalized. After that I did my best to keep the ten seconds gap to him, but unfortunately it was not enough to get a better result. Obviously we want to be higher up, but now we have to take what we get. We’ll try to improve and push forward to make the car faster and be able to challenge the others.”
Daniel Ricciardo wins F1 Malaysian GP as Lewis Hamilton retires
Daniel Ricciardo fended off Red Bull Formula 1 team-mate Max Verstappen to take a shock victory in a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton retired from the lead.
Hamilton was on course to win and reclaim the championship lead as he built up a 22.7s lead over Ricciardo but his engine expired on the approach to Turn 1 with 15 laps to go.
The Briton cried "Ah, no, no, no" as he pulled to a stop at the side of the track, climbing out of the car, squatting down and placing his head in his hands.
The virtual safety car was called with Ricciardo, who was running nose-to-tail with Verstappen at the time, pitting along with his Red Bull team-mate for soft tyres as they had a 40-second gap back to Nico Rosberg.
They rejoined comfortably ahead of the German and though Verstappen ran close behind, Ricciardo absorbed the pressure to take his first victory of the season.
It was the Australian’s first win for over two years and Red Bull’s first one-two finish since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Prior to Hamilton’s failure, Verstappen had caught Ricciardo with fresher tyres, asking to be let through to fight for the win.
But Ricciardo defended hard, and the pair went side-by-side through the high-speed Turns 5 and 6, with Ricciardo winning the battle on the brakes into Turn 7 to hold what would turn out to be crucial track position.
Rosberg completed an impressive recovery drive after being pitched into a spin by Sebastian Vettel at Turn 1 to finish third and extend his championship lead to 23 points with five races to go.
There was drama from the start as Vettel tried an ambitious pass down the inside of Verstappen, only to lock up and skate into Rosberg, breaking the Ferrari’s front-left wheel and pitching him into retirement.
Rosberg got going again and began a fight back through the field, rising up to fourth and then barging passed Raikkonen into Turn 2 for third place.
The stewards took a dim view of that and awarded Rosberg a 10-second penalty for causing a collision but the German had sufficient pace to build a gap to the Finn and hold onto third.
Hamilton had driven the perfect race up until his retirement, going long on the softs and then taking the hards before building a gap to the rest to allow the opportunity for a second stop.
But "an unexpected mechanical failure of the internal combustion engine with no prior warning" according to Mercedes ended his hopes of a first victory since before the summer break.
Verstappen had looked in contention for at least second and possibly the win when he pitted early for a second set of stops while Ricciardo stayed out in second, but that advantage was neutralised when both pitted following Hamilton’s retirement.
Raikkonen finished fourth with Valtteri Bottas, who completed an impressive opening stint on the mediums to make a one-stop strategy work, fifth and Sergio Perez sixth.
Fernando Alonso battled his way up the field from last on the grid, having had a 45-place grid penalty for changing engine components, to take seventh ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button.
Jolyon Palmer recovered from what he described as a "pretty depressing" qualifying to finish 10th and score his first point of the season.
However, Renault decided to retire Kevin Magnussen’s car midway through the race because of damage sustained when he was hit from behind by Daniil Kvyat as the field bunched up at the first corner.
It was a miserable day for Haas with Romain Grosjean pitched into the gravel after suffering brake failure while Esteban Gutierrez retired when his front left wheel flew off the car when he was out on track.
MALAYSIAN GP RESULT
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||56||1h37m12.776s|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||56||2.443s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||56||1m03.794s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||56||1m14.062s|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||56||1m38.878s|
|12||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|13||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|15||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Manor/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|