Sepang, Malaysia – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished second to extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel to 34 points, while Ferrari had a weekend to forget after Kimi Raikkonen didn’t even make the grid and Vettel lost a rear wheel in a bizarre smash after the finish line.
Yet there were plenty of other talking points from the final running of the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday:
Alonso feuds with ‘idiot’ Magnussen
A furious Fernando Alonso labelled Kevin Magnussen “an idiot” and claimed the rest of the drivers agreed with him after they clashed on lap 33. Alonso shouted on team radio “Hulkenberg was right”, a reference to the Renault driver calling the Dane “an arsehole” after Magnussen forced him off the track at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July. Magnussen told the German to “suck my balls” in response.
After the race Alonso wasn’t finished. “For his driving, we more or less agree with the other drivers, it’s 19 to one,” he told reporters.
Sick Perez sixth in ‘hardest race’
Sergio Perez was struck down with a virus in Malaysia but somehow managed the almost superhuman effort of finishing sixth for Force India in the most physically demanding Grand Prix on the calendar. Perez felt so bad he thought might have to miss the race and thanked doctors for getting him through despite the heat and humidity. “It was probably the hardest race of my career,” he said.
Despondent Bottas to ‘look in the mirror’
While Hamilton was extending his championship lead at Sepang, team-mate Valtteri Bottas admitted he was searching for answers after finishing fifth behind Vettel – who started from stone last.
“Being honest, it may be the most difficult time of my career so far, in terms of how it feels every time I go in the car,” said Bottas. “If I keep doing races like this for long, that is not going to be a good thing for anyone. Like I said many, many question marks. I need to have a good look in the mirror again.”
Is super cool Max the new Seb?
Red Bull chief Christian Horner hailed victorious Max Verstappen and compared him to four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel. The result ended a tough run for Verstappen, without a podium since China in April.
“Max is a very different character to Sebastian but what you see in standout drivers, you see similarities,” Horner said. “Where Sebastian was very strong under big pressure moments, Max has that ability too. He was so cool today leading the grand prix. He was the coolest guy out there.”
An ill wind surprises Palmer
Jolyon Palmer blamed a gust of wind in Malaysia for wrecking his chance of a second consecutive top-10 finish. Palmer, who will be replaced by Carlos Sainz at Renault in 2018, was 12th and closing on Hulkenberg before he went off and allowed Alonso to pass him.
“We saw there was a big tailwind, which is affecting you in the tow, and you’re in the gust. I turned in pretty much the same as the other laps and suddenly I had no rear. Then just one lap, it was very different to the other laps, it really caught me by surprise.”