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Engine trouble leaves Vettel at back of grid for Malaysian Grand Prix

02 October, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Maurizio Arrivabene: “It Was Clear We Had A Very Competitive Car”

Hamilton secured the 70th pole of his career in qualifying, and his fourth straight in Malaysia, while Vettel failed to set a time because of an engine problem.

Max Verstappen, celebrating his 20th birthday on Saturday, was third.Vettel, who crashed out on the opening lap of the last race in Singapore and fell to 28 points behind race-winner Hamilton, had appeared set to claw back at least some of the points he lost a fortnight ago this weekend.

"I think we have a strong auto", Vettel said at a press conference ahead of Malaysia Grand Prix scheduled this weekend. So a surprise to be up here but I'm very grateful. "Considering the issues we had with the auto, it's a good weekend".

As Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel swept to the fastest time in FP2, both Mercedes drivers were 1.4s off the pace, with Hamilton sixth and Bottas seventh.

Vettel clocked a new lap record to go quickest in second practice with his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen second.

"I'm not obviously involved in why we're not racing here any more but, who knows, maybe we're back after a year's break or two".

"The race is tomorrow not today. I've been struggling with the auto today, so we have to review and try to understand where we have gone wrong with the balance", said Hamilton.

Maurizio Arrivabene: “It Was Clear We Had A Very Competitive Car”

Pressed a little further, the 37-year-old - who was involved in the first-lap drama that saw himself, team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen crash out in Singapore - did manage to find some positives.

Verstappen, who turned 20 on Saturday, has been strong in qualifying all season but this was just his second podium of 2017 and he put the win down to a courageous overtake on race-leader Hamilton at the start of lap four.

The Ferrari driver's title chances have started to look a lot less rosy over the past month, with Hamilton scoring a hat-trick of victories.

"Our record there in recent seasons has been mixed but the fundamental characteristics of the circuit, with its sweeping corners and long straights, should mean the auto is well-suited to the circuit", Wolff said. "I think the auto was in a much better position but I think we were something like four- or five-tenths off the other guys", he said. We went back to one auto trying one, one vehicle trying another. "If you have the best auto I don't know that situation".

"I think we are facing a hard day tomorrow, I think that's a fact".

Sharing his views was Bottas, who is now in third position with 212 points, but looking motivated to bring home glory as well as to chase Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari who is in second place.

Verstappen's Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo, last year's victor at Sepang, finished third.

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