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Formula One a tough sell for Malaysia, says promoter

02 October 2017

Red Bull's Max Verstappen gave himself a flawless 20th birthday present by winning the last Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, while Lewis Hamilton stretched his Formula One world championship lead to 34 points.

Ferrari left it late to try and beat Verstappen's lap, ultimately taking P4 and P5 with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, with nearest-rival Mercedes ending the session sixth and seventh through Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

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 very quick vehicle this weekend so we should be able to make up a lot of ground", said the record four-times Malaysia victor, who consoled his heartbroken mechanics after getting out of his auto.

"It's very bitter but then it's motor racing", said the four-times champion, who ran into trouble in Saturday's final practice session and had his engine changed before qualifying.

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"I like to watch F1 because I like the environment", said the Gemas born, who hopes Hamilton would win his fourth world championship crown.

"Straight away the auto felt good and I saw Lewis was struggling a bit with traction. of course he has more to lose than me in the championship so I went for it in turn one", Verstappen said of his overtake on lap four.

With mechanics unable to fix Vettel's Ferrari before the end of Q1 the German will start from the back of the grid unless there are penalties for other drivers. "Why that all happened, right now we don't know".

"The race is tomorrow not today".

"In Singapore, Sebastian was first and I was fourth in qualifying so if you compare it with Mercedes, we were better", he said. I don't really know where it came from, to be honest, so I'm a little bit surprised at myself. You always find some things to improve but the auto has behaved nicely all weekend.

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"The lights went off, we did our start".

He spent the rest of the session in the pits and will now start from last place on Sunday, facing an uphill battle to close the gap on Mercedes driver Hamilton.

"I think in the dry the podium is there, especially with Vettel down at the back", he said, wary of the ever-present possibility of rain in tropical Sepang.

"I think it would have been more hard if I had lost the auto somewhere in the race", the German, a record four-time victor in Malaysia, said.

"We will develop other kinds of motorsports in this country.We would like to see a stronger Malaysian participation".

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Formula One a tough sell for Malaysia, says promoter