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Verstappen hopeful Red Bull can repeat Malaysia GP performance

Verstappen hopeful Red Bull can repeat Malaysia GP performance

This was only his second F1 win in his career and it kept Red Bull in a solid third spot in the constructor's championship.

The last victory for Vettel dates back to the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break, allowing him to climb at this time 14 points in front of the pilot Mercedes.

After a dismal performance two weeks ago in the Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel desperately needed to win some points and close the distance between him and rival Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen, who started third on the grid, ended up gaining a position after Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari was taken back into the pits after it wouldn't start, no thanks to an engine issue. It shows that the works that we did since our poor start in Melbourne pays off, and the development goes in the right direction.

Hamilton is nearly at the point where a string of second places would be enough for him to be world champion for a fourth time, even if Vettel were to finish first in every remaining race.

The Dutchman, starting third on the grid, inherited second spot when Kimi Raikkonen's vehicle was wheeled off before the start, but cruised up behind Lewis Hamilton to take the lead early in the race.

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Having been visibly moved as the Dutch national anthem played on the podium, he pointed to his early move on Hamilton as the turning point. "We need to see tonight if we can improve the balance of the vehicle and then we can see if we can challenge the Ferraris".

Five more rounds remain in the championship this season with the next race being held at Suzuka this week. "Yeah, it's unbelievable. It's a very tough race but of course incredible to win", said Verstappen.

"Obviously they [Red Bull] had the upper hand on us today. I think it was okay, P4 was probably the best we could get".

The three-time world champion Mercedes driver has 281 points while Vettel, who fought from the back of the grid to finish a strong fourth, has 247 points with five races left.

Malaysia has been a happy hunting ground for Red Bull over the years - this was their fifth win in Sepang since 2010. They turned blistering laps while both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled with an unknown problem. We knew Lewis would be thinking about the chamopionship so we told Max 'now is your moment, ' he threw it up the inside and it worked. With new tyres Vettel set fastest lap after fastest lap, obliterating the race lap record at Sepang which has stood since 2004.

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