Verstappen took 'extra risk' with Hamilton because of F1 title battle

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen says he took "extra risk" in passing Lewis Hamilton for the lead because he knew the Formula 1 championship leader had more to lose

Verstappen took 'extra risk' with Hamilton because of F1 title battle

Verstappen overtook polesitter Hamilton by diving down the inside into Turn 1 on the fourth lap, going on to claim the second win of his F1 career.

With Hamilton starting the race 28 points ahead of nearest title rival Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo suggested after qualifying that other drivers could take advantage from the championship leader playing it safe.

Verstappen said: "I had a good run out of last corner and opted to go for inside.

"I knew Lewis had more to lose as he was fighting for the championship.

"I took an extra risk because of it, it was my only chance."

Verstappen's victory never looked under threat after that - a Turn 1 run-in with the battling lapped cars of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen aside - as he arrived at the chequered flag 12.8s ahead of Hamilton.

"Once I was past Lewis, I could focus on pace and look after my tyres," he said.

"It was pleasing - it was the first time I have had that in my [F1] career.

"I just had to stay very focused, because [with] the backmarkers you could lose a lot of time.

"I almost got taken out at Turn 1, but afterwards I could control everything."

The second Red Bull of Ricciardo completed the podium behind Verstappen and Hamilton, with the Australian's victory bid compromised by Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes getting ahead of him at the start.

Once he was up to third, he had to switch his attention in the closing stages from trying to catch Hamilton to defending from Vettel, putting a bold block on the Ferrari into Turn 1 when Vettel launched his only real attack.

"My engineer kept telling me he was catching me, it did get to a point where I told him to zip up!" Ricciardo said.

"I defended a bit and saw Seb still coming, I closed the door a bit late towards the apex.

"I don't know if he was unhappy about it but [it] didn't seem over-aggressive from my side, didn't feel like a really late move or anything.

"I expected him to attack until the end, I expected him to keep coming and I guess maybe he killed the tyres trying to get close to me."

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Malaysian GP: Mercedes has 'work to do' in title battle – Hamilton

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