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2017 Malaysian Grand Prix Blog

After 19 years on the F1 calendar, this year’s Malaysia Grand Prix was to be the country’s last. The hot, humid climate and frequent downpours at Sepang create an air of unpredictability about the circuit. We’ve enjoyed some fantastic races as a result and are sad to see it go.

With only five races to go, we’re down to the business end of the F1 season. Ferrari have had a September to forget but has it cost them the Championship? Probably is the honest answer. However, the beauty of our Sport is its unpredictability. A DNF for Lewis Hamilton would see the Drivers’ race thrown wide open.

Malaysia was a good result for Hamilton but it was driver and not car who earned pole position. Kimi Raikkonen ran him close and one can’t help but feel Vettel would have beaten him to number 1 spot had he completed Qualifying.

The race itself threw up more surprises as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen scored a comfortable victory over Hamilton’s Mercedes. More telling still, Valtteri Bottas could manage only 5th place behind Sebastian Vettel, even though the Ferrari man started from the back of the grid.

On the subject of Vettel, we have seen some cracks appear in the armour of the four-time world champion. He faced no further punishment for his ‘collision’ with Lewis Hamilton in Baku. And the German seems to have escaped again after a bizarre post-race crash with Lance Stroll at Sepang. There were fears that a replacement gearbox would result in a five-place grid penalty in Japan but Ferrari seem optimistic that Vettels’ Malaysia gearbox can be used again.

What does this all mean for the remainder of the season? Red Bull and Ferrari are closing the gap but neither can currently match the Silver Arrows in terms of straight-line speed. Suzuka, Austin and Mexico will play to this strength. After better than expected results in Singapore and Malaysia, Mercedes look to be holding all the aces.

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