F1 2017: 5 talking points from the rivetting Malaysian Grand Prix
Biggest takeaways from possibly the last F1 GP at the Sepang International Circuit.
Max Verstappen clinched just his second race win of his career and first of this season, at a track that witnessed its last Formula 1 race at least for the foreseeable future. Nineteen of the twenty-one drivers on the grid finished the race, at a track that is very demanding physically.
The 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix was very different from the race two weeks ago at Singapore; no safety car stints, no first corner incidents, no rain (which is rare at Sepang), hardly any yellow flags. Once again circumstances favoured the Mercedes, as they were able to extend their lead in the drivers and constructors championships, on a track that didn't necessarily favour their car set-up.
With the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka within the week, teams rarely had any time on their hand to think about the results too much. As they look ahead, we look back at the biggest talking points from the final race at Sepang:
#5 Pierre Gasly to replace Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso next year?
At the final race at Sepang, Pierre Gasly was driving his first F1 race for the Toro Rosso. And although his 15th place finish does not indicate a lot about his performance over the weekend, he's handled everything thrown at him over the three days quite well.
Gasly didn't get involved in any scuffle on the track and responded far better than many expected. He would have certainly had a strong support from the team if they went ahead and chose him over a more experienced Kvyat for the weekend. To his credit, under the gruelling physical demands, he didn't do anything to hurt his case.
More importantly, Daniil Kvyat has just been abysmal since being demoted from Red Bull. Since joining the team in Spain last year, Kvyat has scored just eight points in 31 races. Compare that to his teammate Carols Sainz (48 points in 2017 alone) and you begin to wonder how Kvyat has gotten such a long leash.