Red Bull's Max Verstappen came through with a commanding display to beat Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in a closely contested 2017 Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday (1 October). His teammate Daniel Ricciardo came third, narrowly beating Sebastian Vettel in fourth, with the Ferrari driver having started from the back of the grid.
The race started off with Kimi Raikkonen failing to make the start grid owing to an unfortunate technical problem, which allowed world championship leader Hamilton to move forward in the race for the title. However, Verstappen had other ideas as he overtook a quick-paced Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes, who had started strongly, and then set his sights on Hamilton, overtaking him on lap four.
With Verstappen all but safe, the fight was for Ricciardo to finish third as he beat Bottas but was put under tremendous pressure by back-row starter Vettel, who drove superbly, late in the race.
Vettel tried and managed to get close enough to put the pressure on Ricciardo in turn one on the 49th lap, but the Red Bull man managed to keep him at bay. That proved to be the end for Vettel as his tyres gave way and from only 0.5s the gap extended to 14.8s by the end.
Verstappen, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday, threw caution to the wind as Mercedes were flummoxed by Red Bull's searing pace. Hamilton finished the race almost 13 seconds adrift of the Dutchman, as teammate Bottas ended in fifth place behind Vettel.
This was only the second F1 race win of Verstappen's short career to date and kept Red Bull in third spot in the constructors' championship.
Force India's Sergio Perez finished sixth, just ahead of McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne, who managed to match his best F1 result by crossing the line in seventh. Lance Stroll came up trumps over Williams teammate Felipe Massa as he finished eighth. Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.
The result means that Hamilton extends his championship lead over Vettel from 28 to 34 points with only five races remaining.
In bizarre scenes after the race, Vettel and Stroll crashed into each other after the chequered flag, with the Ferrari coming off worse from the collision. The incident was investigated as Vettel hitched a ride back to the pit on what was another forgettable day for the German driver, although the stewards in Sepang took no further action.