Ferrari 1-2 again in 3rd and final practice for Malaysian GP

Ferrari 1-2 again in 3rd and final practice for Malaysian GP

Ferrari 1-2 again in 3rd and final practice for Malaysian GP

Hamilton had been off the pace all weekend in practice but his Mercedes stormed back in qualifying to set a lap record of 1min 30.076sec, a whisker ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

"We have built our advantage over Ferrari in the last two races because of them shunting out in Singapore, Sebastian's engine problems in qualifying, and Kimi's problems in the race", Wolff said Sunday in the Mercedes motorhome.

"It feels like I have no turbo", he said over team radio.

Vettel - pushed out to 18/1 to win the race - had been quicker than Hamilton all weekend but required an engine change after a problem towards the end of final practice.

"I'm just very down, I must say because you can not just say "well we've scored more points than Ferrari" - we've lost so much pace this weekend". So a surprise to be up here but I'm very grateful.

He said: "Malaysia had a good run but the emergence of Singapore and its iconic night race in the city's centre also had an effect and perhaps the time is right".

"It's part of motor racing", Vettel told Sky Sports.

The Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) race, a support event at the Petronas Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix, ground to an embarrassing halt at the Sepang Circuit today.

Both Red Bull and Ferrari were quicker than Mercedes for much of the weekend and, even though the team now head to the Japanese Grand Prix in a week's time in a stronger position, Hamilton admits there is work to be done on an inconsistent vehicle. "It's more hard to be consistent and, in the very worst cases, you can develop cramps or even problems with your vision". "Anything can happen - you saw that in Singapore two weeks ago how everything can change".

The start-line carnage that wiped out all three drivers' hopes cleared the way for Hamilton to win from fifth place on the grid.

Having been dropped by the senior team in 2016 in favour of Max Verstappen, the Russian must be feeling pretty unwanted on the subs bench. Vettel was lapping almost one second faster than Hamilton and overtook Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, even though Bottas started fifth.

He was therefore out of touch with championship rival Lewis Hamilton and had no chance to win.

The Italian team could at least take some heart from Hamilton struggling for pace in the opening laps, with the triple champion losing the lead to Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the fourth lap. Before qualifying I was thinking of going back to the new package because our times were similar and Valtteri seemed happy on it so I didn't want to carry a penalty going into qualifying, you want every little millisecond you can get. "We'll see. In terms of speed we should get back to the leading group and we'll have to see how far up [we can be]".

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