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Formula 1

Verstappen wins Malaysian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen started the Malaysian Grand Prix in third place on the grid.
Max Verstappen started the Malaysian Grand Prix in third place on the grid. Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

Max Verstappen capped his birthday weekend with victory on Sunday in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who started the race at the Sepang International circuit in pole position, finished second and Verstappen’s Red Bull stablemate, Daniel Ricciardo, was third.


"I think in the beginning, straight away, the car felt good," said Verstappen who turned 20 on Saturday. "I saw that Lewis was struggling a bit ... so I went for it at turn one.

"From there I could do my own race. The car was unbelievable. If I had to speed up I could. It was a very tough race and incredible to win."

Hamilton admitted his Mercedes had been second best. "Big congratulations to Max and happy birthday, he did a fantastic job.

"The race was a tough one. Obviously they just had the upper hand on us. I feel good but I think we have some work to do with the car. We didn't have the pace this weekend."

Sebastian Vettel, who began in last place, finished fourth to trail championship leader Hamilton by 34 points with five races to go.

The triumph in Malaysia – Verstappen’s second on the Grand Prix circuit - ended a dismal sequence for the Dutchman during the 2017 season in which he has failed to finish seven of the 15 races.

"Super, super job," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner over team radio after Verstappen took the chequered flag. Verstappen was third at the Chinese Grand Prix in April but has not appeared in the top three since because of crashes and retirements.

"I'm absolutely delighted for Max," Horner added. "He's endured so much bad luck this season. He absolutely deserves this victory. He was 20 on Saturday and this is the best possible way to start that new decade."


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