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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Max Verstappen wins Malaysian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton extends points lead over Sebastian Vettel

The Dutchman claims his second F1 victory, with Hamilton second and Vettel fourth in Sepang.

Max Verstappen, left, passes Lewis Hamilton, right, on his way to winning the Malaysian Grand Prix. Lai Seng Sin / Reuters
Max Verstappen, left, passes Lewis Hamilton, right, on his way to winning the Malaysian Grand Prix. Lai Seng Sin / Reuters

Max Verstappen won the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton as Sebastian Vettel fought back from the back of the grid to finish fourth and minimise the damage to his title hopes.

Hamilton extended his lead over Vettel by six points to be 34 ahead with five races to go, but given that the Briton had started on pole with the Ferrari driver at the back after turbo problems had meant he failed to set a lap time in qualifying, it was a successful job of damage limitation.

The impressive pace of the Ferrari in the race should give Vettel heart the title race is not over yet, as both Hamilton and his Mercedes-GP teammate Valtteri Bottas struggled for raw speed.

Hamilton had converted pole into the lead at the start, but was passed at the start of Lap 4 by Verstappen, who went on to dominate the race to win for the second time in F1.

He finished 12.7 seconds ahead of Hamilton at the completion of the 56-lap event.

The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen had been expected to be Hamilton's biggest rival, but a turbo problem on the grid meant he failed to start the race.

Vettel made up six places on the opening lap, and by the time the pit stops had taken place was upto fourth.

But despite heavy pressure in the closing laps, he was unable to pass the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and had to be content with fourth.

Bottas was a distant fifth, while Sergio Perez was sixth for Force India.

F1 drivers' standings

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 281

2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 247

3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes 222

4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 177

5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 138

6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull 93

7. Sergio Perez, Force India 86

8. Esteban Ocon, Force India 56