Formula One: What to watch in Malaysia

Formula One: What to watch in Malaysia”

Hamilton has tasted victory only once in Sepang, back in 2014, and with the race being hosted in the country for the last time this represents his final chance to improve that record.

The German, who trails the Briton by 28 points in the overall standings, started in last place and Ferrari had hoped Raikkonen could challenge Hamilton's Mercedes as Vettel fought his way up the order.

What time does the race start?

Hamilton had failed to finish higher than fifth in practice but found some speed in qualifying.

Though he appeared comfortable with the changes his team made to his auto ahead of FP3, Hamilton said the time constraint between that session and qualifying was the only reason he did not move back to the upgraded package Bottas had stayed with.

"I really want to improve and redeem myself because previous year we did not achieve a great result from my side here", he told reporters in a press conference at the Galeri Petronas, here, Tuesday.

Raikkonen, who was behind Vettel in a Ferrari one-two during Friday practice, reversed the finishing positions when he set a time of one minute, 31.880 seconds around the Sepang Circuit. Max Verstappen was third. With six races remaining, the majority of which are likely to favour the Mercedes over Vettel's Ferrari, Hamilton is on the front foot. The three cars exited the corner line astern in the order Magnussen-Palmer-Verstappen but the Red Bull quickly got past both on the pit straight.

"It was a bit fortunate, a bit lucky for us".

"It's been a hard day but the guys were phenomenal fixing the auto, changing the engine in just two hours". "They fixed it quickly and it's a shame I couldn't get out. but we go tomorrow". We went back to one auto trying one, one vehicle trying another.

But this race victory comes with no caveats and his ability to win the race with pace in hand over Hamilton and teammate Ricciardo was proof of that.

"We had no idea how it was going to go today", he said.

"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.

Wolff, meanwhile, insisted Mercedes' struggles were real and they weren't saving their true pace for today.

"It is always a special thing when you are able to extract a little more out of the auto than it is willing to do".

Vettel has looked like giving Hamilton a run for his money for much of the season but recent results have left him lingering.

Having been dropped by the senior team in 2016 in favour of Max Verstappen, the Russian must be feeling pretty unwanted on the subs bench.

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