Ricciardo revels in double Red Bull Malaysia podium, defends Vettel move

Max Verstappen capped a ideal birthday weekend with victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix and then hailed his Red Bull team for giving him an "unbelievable" auto.

Meanwhile Vettel insists he is confident of reeling in Hamilton after Ferrari proved they have the fastest vehicle heading into the final five races.

The Dutchman set about stretching his advantage as Hamilton struggled to match his lap times, and he was a comfortable leader throughout, taking the chequered flag ahead of the Briton and Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Asked if the Sepang performance left Red Bull expecting more wins in the remaining races this season, Horner replied: "For us, each race is like a Cup final and we will just go for it". "You know, especially after the season I've had, I think this victory came at a very good time", said Verstappen, whose father Jos - a former Formula One driver himself - and sister Victoria were moved to tears. "Really happy we managed to do a good qualifying again, the auto [was performing well] except maybe the final run in Q3".

In Singapore, Vettel had started from pole only to crash on a rain-soaked first lap as Lewis Hamilton won from fifth on the grid to extend his championship lead.

Ferrari had looked quickest in Sepang practice, but engine problems consigned Sebastian Vettel to the back of the grid and then eliminated front row qualifier Kimi Raikkonen before the start.

"I don't know what he felt (for Vettel yesterday)", said Raikkonen.

Hamilton now leads Vettel by 34 points in the championship with only five races to go, starting with the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka next weekend.

"I did not really know how close Max was and I was having some problems with the vehicle and was struggling with battery power", said the Brit.

The Dutchman is already the F1's youngest ever driver to win an F1 race at the Spanish GP in Barcelona a year ago. Valtteri Bottas had a bad race, finishing in fifth behind Sebastian Vettel and way, way behind teammate Hamilton.

"This double podium is a very positive result for us today", Ricciardo said.

'We need to see now what the problem was.

"I said when Max's luck would change it would change in a dramatic way and it's hard to believe the last time he was on the podium was at the beginning of April in China". We appreciate you guys having us and all the support you've given us.

Vettel's last win came at the Hungarian GP before the summer break, moving him 14 points clear of Hamilton.

  • Kyle Peterson