Mercedes unhappy despite extending lead in F1 title race

  • Mercedes unhappy despite extending lead in F1 title race

Mercedes unhappy despite extending lead in F1 title race

Sebastian Vettel may have lost more ground on Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, but called Ferrari's pace "promising" after fighting from last on the grid to finish fourth.

The Finn will want to prove he deserved a contract extension for next year with a strong performance in Japan, while his team-mate Hamilton will aim to dent Vettel's title hopes still further by beating him in a race he has won twice in three years.

Max Verstappen dominated the race after relieving pole sitter Lewis Hamilton of the lead early on.

Although his second place extends his lead over Sebastian Vettel in the championship to 34 points, Hamilton is frustrated with the issues he faced during the race.

"We've done an exceptional job with what we have", he told Sky Sports. "I need to have a good look in the mirror again". Obviously Kimi [Raikkonen] going out was a big advantage for the Red Bulls and for us because they would have had more pace and I would have been maybe third. We are intervening and we are working on it. But there's nothing we can do, it's the way the auto is. It's further cause to continue to believe in ourselves: "we have the auto, the men, the drivers, the means and the spirit to fight all the way to the finish". It's a fact at some races that the vehicle has turned out to be better but overall, globally, I think it's worked out that we haven't. Vettel echoed Arrivabene's comments on Ferrari's promising pace in Sepang.

"We are confident that with recent additions to the team, coupled with investment in facilities, we will accelerate our progress in the years ahead".

Hamilton said the auto was good at some races, and not at others, but Mercedes would do everything they could to stay ahead.

To add insult to injury, significant damage was done to Vettel's vehicle when he collided with Lance Stroll after finishing the race. The British driver who is being replaced by Carlos Sainz at Renault next season was 12th and closing on Hulkenberg before he went off and allowed Alonso to pass him.

The second Ferrari of Raikkonen had qualified second but the Finn did not make the start due to a battery issue - although Vettel is unconcerned by the reliability.

"That could be another bad surprise this weekend", said Vettel. I was there already and we had contact - it was completely unnecessary. It was a sort of reflex [to take the steering wheel]. "It's not my fault if somebody decides to pick up rubber and hit another vehicle". "That's completely unnecessary. I think he just didn't look and then chose to go and pick up rubber". You don't want to lose a steering wheel.