Verstappen wins as Hamilton extends F1 title lead
- Max Verstappen wins Malaysian GP
- Lewis Hamilton finishes second
- Extends title lead to 34 points over Sebastian Vetttel
Verstappen, who celebrated his 20th birthday on the eve of the race, put the disappointments of seven retirements in 2017 firmly behind him to claim Red Bull’s second win of the season.
Lewis Hamilton quickly conceded the lead to Verstappen after starting from pole, but finished second to extend his title lead over fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel to 34 points with five rounds remaining.
Vettel, who started from the back of the grid in his Ferrari after technical problems ruined his qualifying session, produced the drive of the day, but could not dislodge Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo from the final spot on the podium.
To cap a weekend of setbacks for Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified second in second, was unable to take part after a fault developed in his car ahead of the formation lap.
That left Hamilton with an easier task to maintain his advantage off the start, but on the fourth lap of 56 he was overtaken by the charging Verstappen, who easily maintained his lead until the finish of a largely uneventful race.
The biggest drama was reserved until after the finish as Vettel’s car was clipped by the Williams of Canadian teenager Lance Stroll, wrecking the back wing and leaving the German to hitch a lift back to the pits.
“That’s incredible,” complained Vettel. “Stroll wasn’t looking where he was going.”
Stroll had finished a fine eighth, but the incident was under investigation by the race stewards.