Malaysia would reject F1 even if it was free, says promoter

Sebastian Vettel smashed the all-time Sepang lap record Friday as Ferrari put the pressure on Lewis Hamilton before a track fault brought an early halt to Malaysian Grand Prix practice on Friday.

Haas driver Grosjean was unhurt and immediately returned to the pit-lane, where he told the media he had not noticed the cover, which had been freed from its normal position by Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari moments before.

The new ICE fitted to Vettel's auto was his fourth of the year, but Ferrari could yet install a fifth engine - incurring a now futile further grid penalty - and will start the Grand Prix in 20th.

"I myself am not able to sit in front of the television and watch from lap one until whatever lap (for) two hours".

The musical chairs always starts from Monza time onwards and doesn't cease till all the 'I's are dotted and 'T's are crossed by the end of the year.

"I think in the dry the podium is there, especially with Vettel down at the back", he said, wary of the ever-present possibility of rain in tropical Sepang.

"We had such a hard day yesterday (Friday), did not know where we stood and did not know whether we could fix the issue, it was hard to sleep", said Hamilton.

Hamilton won the German constructor's only race to date in 2014 and was desperately unlucky not to win a second a year ago - his engine blew up on lap 40 of the 56-lap race while leading, gifting Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo victory.

A fourth straight win and Hamilton will be homing in on regaining the crown he lost to Rosberg in 2016.

He also finished first there during the 2008 F1 season.

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The guest list included Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, Brexit leader Nigel Farage and Fox News host Sean Hannity. It would also cause more headaches for McConnell in the next two years. "That guy Roy Moore is way, way out there".

Lewis Hamilton was widely tipped to struggle in the twisty street circuit of Singapore but benefited from Ferrari rivals Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen crashing at the first corner. Malaysia is a tough race, with high temperatures and cornering speeds.

The German will now start at the back of the field.

"I didn't sleep well last night", the 32-year-old British driver said.

"It's painful when you get that close", said Raikkonen.

"I'm very grateful to the team".

Despite the team originally saying the change was precautionary, the team later indicated that the problem with the first engine could not be fixed at the track, so it would be wrong to consider the decision to make the change ahead of qualifying as a mistake.

But even if another engine mishap befalls Hamilton, the three-time world champion is very much in the box seat after Singapore, says Alan Baldwin, Reuters motorsport correspondent.

Vettel has looked like giving Hamilton a run for his money for much of the season but recent results have left him lingering.

"We had such a hard day yesterday, hard to know where we stood", Hamilton said.


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