Hamil­ton has to set­tle for sec­ond in Malaysia

Lewis ex­tends F1 lead but work to be done on car

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

Lewis Hamil­ton ex­tended his lead in the For­mula One world cham­pi­onship with a sec­ond-place fin­ish at the Malaysian Grand Prix but his Mercedes team now heads to Ja­pan with more ques­tions than an­swers.

Hav­ing pro­fessed sur­prise at putting his car on pole po­si­tion, Hamil­ton could not live with the race pace of Max Ver­stap­pen, who took the sec­ond vic­tory of his ca­reer as Red Bull won what could be the last race in Sep­ang.

But, with his main ti­tle ri­val Se­bas­tian Vet­tel start­ing last af­ter en­gine trou­ble on Satur­day, Hamil­ton was able to open up a 34-point lead over the Ger­man, who fin­ished fourth in his Fer­rari.

Both Red Bull and Fer­rari were quicker than Mercedes for much of the week­end and, even though the team now heads to the Ja­panese Grand Prix in a week in a stronger po­si­tion, Hamil­ton ad­mits there is work to be done on an in­con­sis­tent car.

“I don’t know what I’m able to say and not say as I don’t want ev­ery­one know­ing all of the prob­lems we do have,” he said.

“It is un­known at the mo­ment. We have work to do that is for sure. It was the best I could re­ally do.

“There are def­i­nitely pos­i­tives in terms of the ac­tual re­sult we got. It was a bit for­tu­nate, a bit lucky for us.”

Talk­ing about his pos­trace dis­cus­sions with team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas and Mercedes head of mo­tor sport Toto Wolff, Hamil- ton said it was good to be able to ad­dress the is­sues head on.

“I feel pos­i­tive, the de­brief was one of the best de­briefs we have had,” he added.

“It is of­ten the case that when you have a win there is not a lot to say and ev­ery­one is rid­ing on pos­i­tives.

Sports Ac­tion 6am, 12.30pm & 5.30am (Tues­day); Ja­pan Open – Sky Sports Main Event 4.45am (to­mor­row); WTA Tour, China Open – BT Sport 1 2pm & 5.30am (Tues). SNOOKER: Euro­pean Masters tour­na­ment – Eurosport 1 noon & 6pm.

“When you have a dif­fi­cult day that is when there are more ques­tions and you go into more de­tail.

“There is stuff you don’t even know about that has been hap­pen­ing through the week­end that is not ac­cept­able for this great team and we all know that and need to work on those ar­eas.”

Hav­ing started the week­end with such prom­ise, this was another grand prix to for­get for Fer­rari.

Kimi Raikko­nen had qual­i­fied sec­ond with Vet­tel side­lined but he could not even make the start this time around as a bat­tery is­sue meant he was left in the garage.

Vet­tel fought valiantly from the back to take fourth and came close to a podium, but his week­end

AMER­I­CAN FOOT­BALL: NFL, Kansas City Chiefs v Washington Red­skins – Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Ac­tion 1.15am (to­mor­row).

ended in farce as he was in­volved in a col­li­sion with the Wil­liams of Lance Stroll on the slow-down lap which saw his Fer­rari left with three wheels.

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 brave over­take on race leader Hamil­ton at the start of lap four.

“I know that Lewis has more to lose be­cause he is fight­ing for the cham­pi­onship, so maybe I took an ex­tra risk but I think that was one of my only chances,” he said.

“Once I got past Lewis I could fo­cus on my pace and look af­ter my tyres. I think that is the first time I have had that in my ca­reer.”

Sports Ac­tion 6am, 4am (Wed­nes­day); WTA Tour, China Open – BT Sport 1 12.30pm & 5.30am (Wed­nes­day). SNOOKER: Euro­pean Masters – Eurosport 1 noon & 6pm. BASE­BALL: MLB post­sea­son, AL wild-card game – BT Sport// ESPN 1am (Wed­nes­day).

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