December 16 2017

Next races crucial for Mercedes - Hamilton

December 16 2017, 03:05 | Frederick Owens

Ricciardo threw himself into the action and quickly displayed his cocktail making abilities

Ricciardo threw himself into the action and quickly displayed his cocktail making abilities

Verstappen's second F1 win means Hamilton extends his championship lead over Vettel from 28 to 34 points with five races remaining.

Red Bull got two drivers in the podium, as Daniel Ricciardo staved off the furious run by Vettel to clinch third place. Mercedes increased their constructor's lead to 118 points.

The Finn, who had qualified second and was set to start on the front row alongside Mercedes' pole-sitter Hamilton, reported a loss of power as he drove around the circuit on the way to the grid. The stewards added that even though the race has ended, "caution still needs to be exercised by all drivers on the slow-down lap". He had a freaky collision with Williams' Stroll after the finish that left his auto on three wheels and could have big repercussions if the gearbox is damaged.

Verstappen, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday, has been strong in qualifying all season, but this was just his second podium of 2017 and the second victory of his fledgling Formula 1 career. It feels like it is getting worse as the season goes on but it has been great in other races. He'll be starting last tomorrow. When attending a press conference before the race on Sunday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that the race could return if economic conditions were right. The top three were now Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas after the start. Drivers are free to make their way back to the pits at their own pace on the cool-down lap and Vettel, clearly keen to debrief with his team as soon as possible, went to pass Stroll on the outside of Turn 5.

F1 returns next week with the Japanese Grand Prix.

In weird scenes after the race, Vettel and Stroll crashed into each other after the chequered flag, with the Ferrari coming worse off in the collision. Stroll and Vettel collided after the finish. Frenchman Pierre Gasly, drafted in as a last-minute replacement for under-performing Russian Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso, will make his Formula One debut from 15th on the grid. Sainz lost power on lap 30. Redbull's Max Verstappen races. Palmer spun twice, once after a coming together with Magnussen. His remarkable debut victory in Spain a year ago was impressive, but would not have happened had the two Mercedes not collided on the opening lap.

Magnussen started 17th, Grosjean 16th.

Talking about his post-race discussions with team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff, Hamilton said it was good to be able to address the issues head on. They are now 14 points behind Haas. Alonso was just outside in 11th.

It was a scrappy race for Ocon, who was sandwiched between Massa and teammate Perez at the start, leading to him picking up a puncture.

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