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Ferrari takes extra F1 power unit elements for Vettel in Malaysia

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Ferrari has opted to make the most of Sebastian Vettel’s failure to feature in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday by taking fresh power unit elements for its Formula 1 title contender to use.

An issue in final practice at Sepang forced Ferrari to fit its fourth and final engine of the year to Vettel’s car ahead of qualifying, only for a problem with the turbocharger to sideline him once again.

Already resigned to starting last in Malaysia, Ferrari took the opportunity to claim three new power unit elements for Vettel, with the usual 20-place grid penalty having no effect on his starting position.

Ferrari’s move was confirmed by the FIA ahead of the race after a request was filed with the stewards on Saturday night to take a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H.

The decision means Vettel has these additional power unit elements to use between now and the end of the season, easing concerns about a possible grid penalty during the height of his title fight with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

The damage may already have been done, though. With Hamilton starting on pole in Malaysia, Vettel is facing the prospect of the 28-point deficit growing significantly on Sunday.

The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2am on Sunday.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.