Lewis Hamilton was pleased to end a tough Malaysian Grand Prix weekend by extending his lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship to 34 points.
Hamilton rallied from a tough practice to take pole position on Saturday for Mercedes, only to struggle for race pace and eventually finish second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Vettel fought back from last place on the grid to finish fourth, with his race pace looking stronger than Hamilton’s for much of the 56-lap affair as he rose through the order.
With Hamilton and his Mercedes team extending their leads in their respective championships despite being third-best at times in Malaysia, the Briton was left pleased with his weekend’s work.
“A much better weekend than we anticipated after our Friday. We’ve got a lot of work to do with our car, so considering the issues we did have, it is a good result,” Hamilton said.
“I think Valtteri [Bottas, who finished fifth] obviously seemed to struggle a lot more and I was able to just pull a little bit more out of it I guess.
“These next races are going to be crucial in terms of finding out whether we can iron out some of the creases in the car. But who would have thought the Ferraris would have problems? All we can do is try to capitalize as much on those.
“Naturally, I wanted to win the race and so Max did a fantastic job today but ultimately winning the race is still the goal. So even if you get second, it is not that satisfying.”
With five races to go, Hamilton now leads by 34 points, meaning he remains on-course to claim a fourth world title in 2017.
Hamilton’s fight with Vettel will continue next weekend with the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).
It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).
Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.
The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.
“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”