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Verstappen beats Hamilton to Malaysian GP win

Red Bull's Max Verstappen took a dominant victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead with second place.

Hamilton's title rival Sebastian Vettel recovered impressively from the back of the grid in his Ferrari after engine problems in qualifying to finish fourth and minimise the damage to his title hopes.

But the German has slipped to 34 points behind the Mercedes driver with five races to go and a maximum of 125 points still available.

Hamilton could do nothing about Verstappen but, despite expressing concern about his car's lack of pace, was pleased to gain ground on Vettel on a difficult weekend for Mercedes.

An easy win after a difficult year

Verstappen has had a torrid season, a series of strong results being lost to reliability problems and driver errors, but he was in control of this grand prix from very early on.

With Raikkonen out of the way, the Dutchman, who turned 20 on Saturday, fended off an attack from Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the first corner and then tracked Hamilton closely in the opening laps before diving down the inside into Turn One at the start of lap four.

Verstappen quickly pulled away, building a seven-second lead within 10 laps and, despite problems with his neck muscles in the closing laps on this demanding track, was always in control.