We would have beaten Vettel: Horner

Yet the mood after Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix was nearly despondent, despite Hamilton finishing in second place and Vettel fourth.

Had Raikkonen lined up in second place in Malaysia, rather than retiring before the start, and Vettel not been sidelined in qualifying, there is every chance that Ferrari and Red Bull could have kept Hamilton off the podium.

Hamilton is odds-on for a third F1 title in four years with Mercedes, and fourth overall.

It came 24 hours after Vettel failed to progress beyond first qualifying due to a power problem and two weeks after the Ferrari pair, together with Verstappen, crashed out at the first corner of the Singapore GP.

"There´s no doubt this session was also a tough moment for Ferrari, with Sebastian unable to take part, but there are no points scored on Saturday", said Wolff.

Hamilton had endured a torrid Friday as his Mercedes took a dislike to an aerodynamic upgrade package.

During the time that Schumacher was with Scuderia Ferrari, they won five world championships. "I am not that anxious to be honest, but we need to get on top of the problem".

"I don´t really know what happened to Sebastian. Yeah, it's awesome. It's a very tough race but of course incredible to win".

"The race is tomorrow not today".

He said: "You can never predict how the rest of the season will go but we keep improving the auto and it is looking positive".

With five rounds remaining, Hamilton's worry is clearly that despite his healthy championship lead, there might be little Mercedes can do to ensure he has race-winning machinery at his disposal. But it never worked, with Raikkonen becoming the first retirement of the race.

Verstappen cruised around the track until the window for pitstops opened, while Vettel's pace was impressive as well―he quickly moved up to fifth, setting his sights on Bottas. This marks the second win for the Dutch driver and made for quite the birthday weekend as he just turned 20 years old. "But always unlucky situations", Marko said. Chassis-wise, for sure we are the best now. But just as he closed within a second of Ricciardo and a place on the podium those tyres gave up on him and he was forced to see out the race behind his former teammate at Red Bull.

The 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix may have been the last Malaysian Grand Prix, but it wasn't a classic race. Sunday's race was Malaysia's last.

  • Julie Sanders