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Pierre Gasly to make F1 debut from P15 on Malaysia grid

Hamilton's title rival Sebastian Vettel recovered impressively from the back of the grid in his Ferrari after engine problems in qualifying to finish fourth and minimise the damage to his title hopes. With five races to go in the 2017 season, Vettel will have to win all the races to become the world champion for the fifth time. Birthday boy Max Verstappen got past championship leader Lewis Hamilton early on and never looked back.

This was the last race to be held in Malaysia after the country pulled out of the sport from 2018 and, after an entertaining grand prix, the circuit has certainly finished on a high.

The race itself was won by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, whose season of torrid luck dramatically turned around when he passed Lewis Hamilton for the lead on lap four and simply cruised off into the distance.

Hamilton seemed nearly certain to significantly extend his lead at the top of the championship, but a combination of his own lack of pace and Vettel's relentless charge into the top four reduced the impact of the qualifying no-show.

It was only two years ago at this very same venue that Verstappen raced with the panache of a veteran to become the youngest Grand Prix driver ever to score World Championship points with an impressive seventh place.

Kimi Raikkonen insists his race tactics for the Malaysian Grand Prix will not be impacted by the fact Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel starts from the back of the grid.

"But I didn't see any pace in clear air that they had on the supersoft or soft tyre that was quicker than what we were capable of doing today". We knew going into the race that we didn't have the quickest vehicle; our delta was Ferrari eight-tenths [of a second] faster than us, which they were, and the Red Bulls five, six tenths quicker than us, which they were. "On the short runs it is simple things, we can add some front wing and be more aggressive on one lap with the tire". I have a good feeling about it.

The Red Bull of Verstappen was third on his 20th birthday, nearly half a second behind Raikkonen.

As Verstappen eked out a lead, Ricciardo was attacking the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas for third place.

"We knew going into the race that we didn't have the quickest auto", said Hamilton.

"I think the car's going very well but they tried to fix it and then obviously had some problem". He could be hit with a five-place grid penalty at the next race in Japan if he is forced to change his gearbox, which would deal a further blow to his title challenge. "So I didn't make it very hard for him". We appreciate you guys having us and all the support you've given us.

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