Singapore was supposed to be a win a re-taking of the points lead for Ferrari. It was a track that favored the red car over the Mercedes but at turn one, that all ended. Lewis Hamilton led his Mercedes into Malaysia with a 28-point lead but on a track they were supposed to be dominant at, the Mercedes cars were mysteriously challenged for pace by the Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s.
After three practice sessions, it looked clear that the Ferrari of Vettel would be the strongest contender for pole position but those hopes were dashed as manifold and turbo issues thwarted Vettel’s qualifying and left him starting at the back of the grid.
Ferrari’s issues were compounded when the car of Kimi Raikkonen was pushed back off the grid and the Finn failed to start the race with similar issues as Vettel had on Saturday and this was truly unfortunate as the 2007 champion was set to start the race on the front row.
In the end, a massive win for Max Verstappen and Red Bull who took the risk, made the move on Lewis—who couldn’t take a risk defending—and secured his second win of his career.
A big win for Max Verstappen—who couldn’t seem to buy a break in 2017 with a 50% DNF rate—to pass Lewis Hamilton for the lead and never look back. A fantastic result for the Dutchman. A great start from third on the grid, a pass on lap three and a win. His second win in F1. The crowd went wild and what a way to celebrate his birthday weekend. He knew he could take the risk and Lewis couldn’t due to his title hopes and the young Dutchman was right.
A big win for Red Bull who entered the weekend on a track that should have favored the Mercedes but as of Friday seemed to favor Ferrari and due to the red car’s issues, handed the advantage to the Renault-powered Red Bull Racing team. Both cars on the podium and fans in tears.
A big win for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who started last and was engaged in a Schumacher-like recovery drive to limit the damage Hamilton would do in the points spread. Running down Daniel Ricciardo with 10 laps remaining, it was going to be tough to reach Hamilton but no driver had come from outside the top ten to secure a podium finish in Malaysia and Vettel was working very hard to become the first. A few serious attempts seemed to bring his supersoft tries to their knees and he
A big win for McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne who had out qualified his teammate Alonso and ran in the top 10 all day with some good pit strategy and race craft that saw him finish seventh. Equally a win for Williams F1 who managed to get both car in the points on a track that actually turned out to be a decent opportunity for the team.
A decent dual-points finish for Force India as well with Perez in 6th and Ocon in a punchy battle with Massa to finish 10th.
Just like Singapore, both Ferrari’s were taken out of contention at the beginning of the race. Sebastian Vettel started on soft tires at the back of the grid and Kimi Raikkonen was pushed back to the garage and didn’t start the race. The silver lining for Vettel was that they team brought a new engine, turbo and MGU-H without being impacted by the penalty that would incur and this means that Vettel will have more and fresher engines than Hamilton for the remainder of the season.
Mercedes seemed to be struggling with their new chassis upgrades all weekend. Some new upgrades were not working as they should and leading up to the race, Bottas stayed with upgrades while Hamilton reverted to old setup. During the race, Hamilton had D-Rate issues and was passed by Max Verstappen while Bottas succumbed to Daniel Ricciardo by lap lap 9. It’s clear Mercedes were having issues on a track that should favor them and it does suggest that while Ferrari struggled, the season is not over yet and anything can happen.
Not a good weekend for Valtteri Bottas who stuck with the upgrades but couldn’t hold off Vettel or Ricciardo and finished a distant 5th.
A win to actually hear the Dutch national anthem again.
What in the world happened with Vettel and Lance Stroll in the cool-down lap? The two came together ripping the left rear wheel and suspension off of Vettel’s car and he was given a lift back to the pits by Pascal Wehrlein. Both Stroll and Vettel accused the other of hitting them.
It’s a bit of a mystery as to why the upgrades for Mercedes were not working as efficiently as they should given the simulator’s results. Mathematically speaking, the upgrades should have made the cars faster but in application, that didn’t seem to be the case.
With two Red Bull cars running up front and one of them leading the race, it is a bit of a head scratching moment as to why the two Renault’s started well but then drifted toward the back of the grid. Hulkenberg was radioing issues so perhaps both cars were struggling with a similar problem.
There was certainly some pushing and shoving out there today with Massa making his car 30 feet wide and running Esteban Ocon off and then the back and forth and weaving of Kevin Magnussen on Fernando Alonso who simply elbowed his way past the Haas F1 driver. Magnussen then had a dust-up with Jolyon Palmer at turn one on lap 39.
Not sure what prompted a piece of bodywork to break underneath Daniel Ricciardo’s car and then set about burning itself to oblivion but it made for dramatic TV with a glowing hot ball of flame underneath his car.
Malaysia GP result
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||56||1h30m01.290s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||56||22.519s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||56||1m18.630s|
|7||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||55||1 Lap|
|8||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|9||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|11||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||55||1 Lap|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|13||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||55||1 Lap|
|15||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|17||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|18||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||54||2 Laps|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||29||Electrical|
|–||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||0||Not started|