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

Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton to win F1 Malaysian Grand Prix

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.

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 15th - with Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg a place behind after a late pitstop.

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

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 56 1h30m01.290s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 12.770s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 56 22.519s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 37.362s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 56.021s
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 Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 29 Electrical
- Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0 Not started

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 281
2 Sebastian Vettel 247
3 Valtteri Bottas 222
4 Daniel Ricciardo 177
5 Kimi Raikkonen 138
6 Max Verstappen 93
7 Sergio Perez 76
8 Esteban Ocon 57
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. 48
10 Nico Hulkenberg 34
11 Felipe Massa 33
12 Lance Stroll 32
13 Romain Grosjean 26
14 Stoffel Vandoorne 13
15 Kevin Magnussen 11
16 Fernando Alonso 10
17 Jolyon Palmer 8
18 Pascal Wehrlein 5
19 Daniil Kvyat 4
20 Marcus Ericsson 0
21 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
22 Pierre Gasly 0

Constructors' standings

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 503
2 Ferrari 385
3 Red Bull/Renault 270
4 Force India/Mercedes 133
5 Williams/Mercedes 65
6 Toro Rosso/Renault 52
7 Renault 42
8 Haas/Ferrari 37
9 McLaren/Honda 23
10 Sauber/Ferrari 5


shares
comments
Mercedes F1 boss feels sympathy for Vettel and Ferrari in Malaysia
Previous article

Mercedes F1 boss feels sympathy for Vettel and Ferrari in Malaysia

Next article

Sebastian Vettel: Stroll Malaysian GP F1 clash was 'unnecessary'

Sebastian Vettel: Stroll Malaysian GP F1 clash was 'unnecessary'
Load comments
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021