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Malaysian Grand Prix: Victorious Verstappen, Hamilton second

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Published in Formula 1
Monday, 02 October 2017 09:31

Lewis Hamilton was caught in a Red Bull sandwich at the Malaysian Grand Prix.


Red Bull's Max Verstappen's early dodge past pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in the fourth lap was beautifully executed, going down the inside early on, having just clocked the fastest lap of the race. He drove a strong, dominant race, and thoroughly deserved to mark his 20th birthday with this race win.

His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, sat back and put the Mercedes in a Red Bull sandwich, securing another podium finish.
His team were gleeful as he held off Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, carving through the field after starting at the very back to finish in fourth place.

Four stars out of five. He might not have converted the race win after starting from pole, but this was a sensible race. Mercedes seemed to know perfectly well that they couldn't compete with the Red Bull aerodynamics on this circuit, and there was no point trying to drive too aggressively against Max Verstappen, a man with no stakes in the title race and just looking for a race win. Settling into second and keeping cars between himself and Sebastian Vettel was a pragmatic thing to do. He's now 34 points clear with five races to go.


Renault's Kevin Magnussen is becoming the bogeyman of the mid-pack - after his spat with Nico Hulkenberg in Hungary, he upset McLaren's Fernando Alonso, leading to some spicy words being exchanged over the radio.

Ricciardo's duelling with Valtteri Bottas for third place was absolutely gorgeous, showing the Australian's excellent use of the track space. He gets a bit overshadowed by the spectacle that Verstappen puts on, but Ricciardo's subtle, clever overtaking is always sublime to watch.


Both Red Bulls were impressive in their overtaking during the race - that early Verstappen move into the lead was wonderful.

Those Red Bulls worked together very well today to keep Hamilton quiet, with Verstappen making the first pit stop, allowing Ricciardo to assume the lead as he extended his stint.

Stoffel Vandoorne had an excellent weekend, out-qualifying team-mate Fernando Alonso and then finishing in seventh place, well in the points and ahead of both Williamses as well as Force India's Esteban Ocon.


Ferrari did what I might start to call "a Williams", with a disastrous weekend. Vettel managed to reclaim a bit of face after starting at the back of the grid, but Kimi Raikkonen's failure to start was not good. They needed points all round to make this a competitive end to both championships, really.
Then at the end of the race, Vettel had an incident with Lance Stroll on the slow-down lap, as he moved outside to pick up some rubber from the track, leaving his car looking like this.
He ended up hitching a ride back with Sauber.

There weren't too many famous faces on show in Malaysia - it was Mark Webber doing the podium interviews as the trio of drivers sat down for a rest in the heat, and he didn't even do a shoey with his compatriot Ricciardo.

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