Following the Malaysian GP, Lewis Hamilton extended his lead over closest rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari to 34 points. He did this with five races remaining on the calendar by finishing second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Sepang. However, there was a growing concern over the car’s pace. To put it into context, Hamilton failed to convert his pole position into a win. Meanwhile, Vettel fought his way from the back of the grid to take fourth place. So he issued a warning to Mercedes to not be complacent.
Hamilton said “Considering Vettel started last, it’s not really that great. We should have won today but we didn’t have the pace. We have done an exceptional job with what we have. There are some really big problems which I can’t really explain. We really need to make sure we rectify them for next year’s cars if we really want to fight both Ferrari and Red Bull when they step up their game.”
Hamilton was going well but was being hunted by a determined Verstappen. Soon, Verstappen passed Hamilton on lap four. The Dutchman held on to claim his second win on the occasion of his 20th birthday. Red Bull colleague Daniel Ricciardo took third ahead of Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.
Equal Concern in Ferrari Camp
The action didn’t stop for Vettel though. His afternoon was marred by a freak collision with Williams youngster Lance Stroll after the chequered flag. This sparked fears of possible gearbox damage that could bring a grid penalty for next week’s Japanese Grand Prix. Ferrari’s misery began when Vettel’s Power unit failed in qualifying. Before the race, it was Kimi Raikkonen’s turn to have a power unit issue. With Raikkonen unable to make the start, everything fell to Vettel.