Max rules Sepang!
The 2017 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix was to be the last race in its 19 year run. Organizers went about setting up a final send off for the F1 fraternity, everything was to be big, loud, and down right fantastic. Booths, kiosks, concert stages were prepared for the influx of fans who wanted to be present in Sepang for the last time. But, all the preparation will not matter if the race itself is a procession. Nothing deflates fans more than a lackluster grand prix.
And as fate would have it, the teams and drivers didn’t disappoint.
Saturday saw Sebastian Vettel fail to set a time due to a power unit problem, giving the 4 time champ, the last grid spot. While his main title rival, Lewis Hamilton, plopped his Mercedes on P1, with Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen in P2 and P3 respectively. Everything was favoring Hamilton it seems and the Brit was all set to run away with the trophy.
But The Flying Dutchman had other plans.
As the cars took to the grid, the #7 Ferrari was seen being pushed back into the garage, and even as Ferrari mechanics rushed to try and get Kimi’s car running again, it wasn’t meant to be. Raikkonen failed to start the Malaysian Grand Prix.
At this moment fans were sure that Lewis would take home the silverware, and at the start, Hamilton took control of the field in the run down to turn 1, and with it, the race lead.
Lewis kept his foot down, but, the gremlins from Friday and Saturday sessions showed itself again, slowing the Mercedes considerably, and giving the #33 Red Bull a fighthing chance. Then on lap 4 Verstappen dove past the struggling Mercedes for the lead, Lewis tried to fight back but it was just a matter of time. Max had the speed and kept his cool to control the race. The Red Bull was on a different field, lapping faster than its rivals could muster. It was so far ahead that even after their scheduled pit stops, Max still retained the lead until the checkered flag and take the 2nd win of his young career.
It’s worth mentioning that Sebastian Vettel, who began dead last, carved his way up the field, passing rivals with ease and eventually crossing the line in 4th place behind 3rd place man Daniel Ricciardo and 2nd placer Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton pads his lead the the drivers title chase over Vettel, albeit not by the figure he had hoped for.
Lewis now has 281 points with Sebastian Vettel, after his heroic drive, in 2nd with 247 points. Valtteri Bottas holds firm at the 3rd spot with 222 to his name.