F1: Max Verstappen ends birthday on a high with Malaysian GP win

F1: Max Verstappen ends birthday on a high with Malaysian GP win

F1: Max Verstappen ends birthday on a high with Malaysian GP win

"But still we have a lot of work to do with the vehicle, some of the corners really magnified the issues we have".

"We were quicker than we anticipated", Horner said. The Australian had to be on his toes in the latter stages though to deny a fast catching Sebastian Vettel, who started from the back of the pack, but held off the German to keep his podium spot. Mercedes had expected to be strong in Sepang but they had difficulty with their vehicle all weekend, leaving Hamilton expressing frustration at the "fundamental issues" that have caused its performances to vary according to conditions and from track to track.

Sunday's win was Verstappen's first this season.

"I mean, seriously", said Vettel. "The race was a tough one", he said. I feel good but I think we have some work to do with the auto.

However, he did legally finish the race in fourth place and hitched a ride, steering in hand, back to the pit on the side of Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber.

If it is deemed too badly damaged to be used in Japan, a change of unit would trigger an automatic five-place grid penalty against Vettel at Suzuka.

Vettel started from the back of the grid after engine problems on Saturday, while Raikkonen did not start at all.

"People have been saying all year long that we've got the best vehicle". Mercedes have dominated Formula One for the past four years but it seems their era of supremacy could be coming to an end as both Ferrari and Red Bull appear to have the better auto.

"I feel positive, the debrief was one of the best debriefs we have had". Raikkonen could well have challenged for a win, given Ferrari's pace and that he qualified in second place. Vettel still optimistic Vettel still saw cause for optimism in the title battle.

Hamilton could do nothing about Verstappen but, despite expressing concern about his car's lack of pace, was pleased to gain ground on Vettel on a hard weekend for Mercedes.

Starting a net second after Kimi Raikkonen failed to make the start, Verstappen quickly dispatched polesitter Lewis Hamilton on lap four and pulled away to win by over 12 seconds.

Hamilton took pole against the run of play and his auto was slower than the Red Bull and Ferrari in the race.

Mercedes is moving closer to a fourth straight drivers' and constructors' championship, although fortunes might change for Vettel if he maintains his pace.

Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene praised his Ferrari squad in its reaction to the setbacks. "From that moment he controlled the race exceptionally to the finish".

Formula One F1 - Malaysia Grand Prix 2017 - Sepang, Malaysia - October 1, 2017. Sunday's race was Malaysia's last.

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