Verstappen beats Hamilton to Malaysia win

An engine problem in qualifying left Vettel at the back of the grid and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who was due to start second behind Hamilton, did not make the start, also hit by engine failure.

Earlier in the day, FP3 was dominated by Ferrari, with Mr. Raikkonen setting the fastest time ahead of Mr. Vettel, who's engine broke down at the end of the session and could not be replaced in time for a qualifying run.

While that still stretched Hamilton's overall advantage to 34 points, it was better than the German might have feared.

A spokesman said that if only the gearbox casing was damaged, the team could replace that without a penalty, but that would not be the case if the unit also needed internals.

Sunday´s Grand Prix will be the 19th and last at steamy Sepang.

Raikkonen was a first-bend casualty in the Singapore carnage along with Max Verstappen. The Dutchman, son of former Formula One racer Jos who made his debut in 2015 and was promoted to Red Bull part way through last year, took his first win on his Red Bull debut in Spain last year. According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Lewis Hamilton is the clear favorite to win this race, as he has -200 odds. "Yeah, it's wonderful. It's a very tough race but of course incredible to win".

Seoul urges U.S. to avoid 'further escalation' with N. Korea
Malaysia banned citizens from traveling to North Korea, citing the escalating tension on the Korean peninsula. The senator said he saw the importance of the US and its allies being unified against the regime.

"Benefiting from Ferrari's problems shouldn't hide that they have caught up 30 seconds this race", he said. Else Hamilton will equal Vettel's record of four world championship titles.

But he reported a loss of power on his lap to the grid and was wheeled back into the pits. A turbo failure on the warm up lap meant that the Ferrari had to be pushed off the grid and out of the race.

Nonetheless, Vettel cut an upbeat figure over his chances of wrestling the title away from Hamilton, citing the pace displayed by Ferrari in recent races.

"There are some issues with the vehicle that we don't fully understand", Hamilton said. "We have to keep pushing".

But he admits luck will have to be on his side if he is to overtake third-placed Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (212 points) in the final six rounds. Stoffel Vandoorne finished an impressive 7th for the second race in a row in his McLaren-Honda, while Williams Martini Racing had Stroll and Felipe Massa take 8th and 9th, respectively.

The race will disappear from the calendar after Malaysia´s government decided it would no longer cover the $67 million a year cost of the event.

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