Date: 1st October 2017 at 10:23am
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Sebastian Vettel with the clear car of the field finished the 2017 Malaysia Grand Prix in 4th.

It was a great recovery drive from the former four-time Formula One World Champion after a turbo issue saw him sit out qualifying.

Without a mechanical issue for the German, he would most likely have taken pole position on Saturday and galloped off into the distance on Sunday to take the race victory.

Again without mechanical problems Kimi Raikkonen would have been a most likely second, with the Red Bull Racing duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo scrapping over the final podium position.

That would have left Lewis Hamilton a most likely fifth place and a swing in the drivers championship of 15 points in Vettel’s favour.

On the grid, with Hamilton leading and Vettel dead last, Hamilton could have hoped for a big points haul to add to his 28 point lead. As it turned out however, Hamilton extended his lead in the title standings by just 6 points.

A successful damage limitation success for Vettel in one sense, but a few corners into his slow down lap and further headaches may lay ahead in Japan.

A strange collision with Williams’ Lance Stroll saw Vettel’s left rear ripped clean off.

Damage to the gearbox is the first fear in this regard and after throwing new power-unit parts at the Ferrari to avoid any future grid penalties, he could well now be looking at a five-place grid penalty for a unscheduled gear-box change in Suzuka.

The race stewards opted to take no further action on the incident, so no fear of grid penalties or penalty points for either Vettel or Stroll.

The German however laid blame firmly on the door of the Canadian.

‘I went on the outside to pick up a bit of rubber, I think Lance wasn’t looking and wanted to do the same. I think he was looking at his [steering] wheel. I gave him enough room.

‘But it was too late, I was there already, and then there was contact. Completely unnecessary. He just didn’t look and decided to pick up some rubber.’
he told motorsport.com.

On the point of a possible new gearbox he added: ‘I don’t know. We need to see, I’m sure they’ll find a way? not my fault if someone just decides to pick up rubber and hit another car.’

 

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