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Redbull’s Max Verstappen wins last ever Malaysian Grand Prix

It was a bittersweet moment for everyone at the stands as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crossed the finish line to emerge champion at the last ever Malaysia GP.

Max Verstappen, who started third on the grid, saw Lewis Hamilton struggling with traction and took the chance to overtake the British racer on the fourth lap, and the race was his from then on.

“I think in the beginning, straight away the car felt good and I saw Lewis struggling a bit with traction and he was clipping a bit more than me, so I used my battery as much as I could so I went for it in Turn 1 and from there I could my own race.” Verstappen told the media after the race.

“The car was unbelievable. I had pace. If I needed to speed up I sped up. Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s a very tough race but of course incredible to win.” he added.

The win was also Verstappen’s 20th birthday present to himself – Belgian-Dutch racer turned 20 on Saturday.

“It was a very tough race and the whole week already I was not feeling too well, so that also doesn’t help in the toughest race of the season but luckily I managed to hold on so that was all good.”

Verstappen finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton with an impressive 12.7 seconds clear of the latter. Redbull racer, Daniel Ricciardo also clinched a podium finish by coming in third. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished fourth.

Here’s the highlights from the race:

 

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“It’s sad to think that this is the last race” – Lewis Hamilton on Sepang’s final F1 bout

Malaysia decided to pull the plug on hosting the Formula 1 race back in November 2016, making this weekend’s race the last one ever.

The decision was announced by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin – the minister cited high cost, limited returns, declining F1 ticket sales and TV viewership figures as reasons to why Malaysia should take a break from hosting the event.

Apart from that, he also didn’t want the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) to turn into a white elephant.

Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz seconded the decision, saying that it’s getting difficult for the sponsors to earn their return of investment from the event.

“F1 attendance is dropping and there is less attraction now. We are spending RM300 million a year for the race,” the minister said.

The main sponsor of the F1 race in KL, Petronas, is also facing a hard time due to the fluctuation of oil prices, and may not be able to continue sponsoring the race.

SIC’s chief executive said that reports for this year’s race showed that TV viewership in Malaysia was the lowest in history.

Aside from the distraught Malaysian fans, British superstar racer Lewis Hamilton also expressed that he is bummed out that this will be his last race in Malaysia.

“It is definitely sad to think this is the last race,” Lewis Hamilton told reporters at the press conference, as quoted by Reuters.

“It’s the most challenging for the car and the team, so they are taking away one of the toughest, if not the toughest, Grand Prix of the season, which will be hard to replace.”

According to Reuters, driver loses around three litres of body fluid in sweat during the 90 minutes of an average Malaysian Grand Prix, and many of them also liken the racing experience to sitting in a sauna – which makes Sepang a tough race to win.

The 2017 Formula 1 Pteronas Malaysia Grand Prix’s final edition in Sepang will take place this weekend from 29th September until 1st October.

Formula1Motorsport

Funds allocated for F1 will be given to drivers instead – Khairy Jamaluddin

The initial news was that the Sepang International Circuit will not be renewing their deal with F1 after 2018, so we still had two more years to go. The contract they have signed is from 2016 until 2018.

However, a recent statement on Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Facebook page clarified and confirmed that 2017 will be the last year that Malaysia will host the event, after a 19-year run.

Photo: Twitter

“The Cabinet has agreed to end the contract to host F1 races from 2018 as it is evident that the returns are diminishing compared to the costs of hosting it,” the prime minister said, according to the statement.

So what happens to the Sepang International Circuit from now on? And what about the funds allocated for F1? Where will it go?

During a live Instagram video on Monday (10th of April), Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was asked what would happen to the funds allocated for the F1 race — now that Malaysia is pulling the plug.

“That’s a very good question.” the minister commented. “It was a tough decision to pull the plug, but it was about time. The returns are not great, viewership has gone down.”

“The money allocated for F1 will be given to the drivers for private development. We will invest more in the drivers, like Jazemann, Akash Nandy, and more. We want to give more to the drivers.” the minister explained.

Investing more in young drivers is always a good thing — it will give them a chance to get world-class training and improve their skills as race car drivers.

Hopefully they can represent Malaysia and win in future F1 events!