On a Formula 1 race weekend that has seen the momentum swing back and forth between teams, it was Red Bull who emerged victorious in the Malaysian Grand prix for the second year running as Max Verstappen took a dominant win, the second of his career.

In an eventful race that saw pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton struggle for pace and title rival Sebastian Vettel enjoy a remarkable fight through the field, Verstappen was able to celebrate his 20th birthday weekend in style by bagging Red Bull's second win of the year.

Starting third on the grid, Verstappen made up one position automatically after Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was wheeled back to the pits and failed to start due to an engine issue, with the Dutchman soaking up early pressure from Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.

After defending second place, Verstappen was able to duly latch onto the rear of Hamilton's car before passing for the lead on Lap 4, with Red Bull's superior race pace seen on practice on Friday evident from the outset.

Verstappen was able to easily pull out a lead over Hamilton through the opening stint of the race, running about six seconds clear after switching from super-soft to soft tyres on Lap 27, covering his Mercedes rival who came in one lap later.

With Hamilton left occupied by the threat from Ricciardo and the recovering Vettel, Verstappen was able to ease home to his second race win, his first coming at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix when he became F1's youngest ever victor.

In the race for second, Hamilton was able to ensure he extended his championship lead by pulling clear of Ricciardo and Vettel in the closing stages, taking 18 points from a mixed weekend for Mercedes.

Vettel was able to lay down a stunning pace throughout the race to fight his way up the order, rising from P20 to P13 on the first lap alone, and was all over the back of Ricciardo in third entering the final few laps.

However, some bold defensive moves from Ricciardo stunted Vettel's charge, leaving the Ferrari man to settle for fourth place and see the gap to Hamilton in the drivers' championship grow to 34 points.

Vettel also got caught up in a bizarre incident after the chequered flag when he was hit by Lance Stroll on the warm-down lap en route to the pits, causing significant damage to the left-rear of the Ferrari car. Vettel was forced to abandon his car and return to the pits sat on Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber.

Valtteri Bottas' ailing championship hopes took yet another hit in Malaysia as he limped home in fifth place, over 50 seconds behind Verstappen after failing to match Hamilton in the sister Mercedes for pace all weekend long.

Sergio Perez made a bold tyre strategy work well, with a long first stint lifting him up to sixth at the chequered flag, while Sergio Perez bounced back from illness to take seventh for Force India ahead of the Williams duo of Stroll and Felipe Massa. Perez's teammate, Esteban Ocon, completed the top 10 after surviving a mid-race clash with Carlos Sainz Jr.

Fernando Alonso endured a somewhat quiet race, highlighted by a battle with Kevin Magnussen that saw both drivers complain about one-another's on-track moves. Alonso eventually finished two seconds clear of the Haas driver to take P11, with Magnussen and teammate Romain Grosjean in 12th and 13th respectively.

Pierre Gasly enjoyed a solid grand prix debut to take 14th for Toro Rosso, being its sole finisher after Carlos Sainz Jr. was forced to retire with an engine issue. Jolyon Palmer crossed the line 15th after two spins, with Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg 16th after a late issue emerged on his car. Sauber drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson were the last classified finishers in P17 and P18.


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