SEPANG, Oct 1 2017 : With a commanding drive, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen soundly beat current championship leader, Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Lewis Hamilton to claim his first title of the season.
Verstappen, who celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday, claimed the Malaysian Grand Prix finale race with a time of an hour, 30 minutes and 01.290 seconds.
It was his second F1 victory after winning the Spanish Grand Prix last year.
Hamilton, now 34 points clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and well on his way to a fourth title was helped by an engine problem sidelining his main title rival in qualifying and another issue preventing the German’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen from taking his place on the front row of the starting grid.
But Verstappen was significantly faster once the race started while Vettel showed the Ferrari’s potential by going from last to fourth and beating Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas.
”It’s the way the car is.
”I think globally we have not got the best car and we’ve done an exceptional job with what we have. There are some real big problems that I can’t really explain to you…
“But we really need make sure we rectify them for next year’s car if we’re going to have any chance of fighting both these teams next year when they step up their game,” added the Briton.
Hamilton said the car was good at some races, and not at others, but Mercedes would do everything they could to stay ahead.
Team boss Toto Wolff also sounded far from celebratory, despite Hamilton stretching his lead by six points with a hefty dose of luck.
“I am just very down, I must say,” declared the Austrian.
“Probably if you look at the real pace today it would have been P5 (fifth). And that is worrisome. Now let’s see what happens in Suzuka. We have a couple of days to try and understand.”
The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka follows on immediately from Malaysia, with four races remaining after that. – Agencies