Then MercedesAMG found its pace out on track, with Mr. Hamilton the fastest in Q1 and his team-mate Valterri Bottas quickest in Q2.
"I think in the beginning, straight away the vehicle felt good and I saw Lewis struggling a bit with traction".
"You know, especially after the season I've had, I think this victory came at a very good time", Verstappen told reporters.
"But we really need to make sure we rectify them for next year's cars if we really want to fight both Ferrari and Red Bull when they step up their game".
Lewis Hamilton believes the coming races in Japan and the United States will be crucial to show if Mercedes can overcome the problems it faced in the Malaysia Grand Prix. "Somehow we managed to turn it around and it is a real surprise to be up here with these guys", said Hamilton, who secured his ninth pole of the season at the final running of the race.
"We still have problems with this vehicle and it was magnified here", Hamilton said. The race will disappear from the calendar after Malaysia's government decided that it would no longer cover the US$67 million (S$91.4 million) a year cost of staging the money-losing event.
"We had no idea what was going to happen today", said Hamilton.
He was on superb form in Sepang and never looked in danger of not prevailing once he had passed championship leader Lewis Hamilton at the start of Lap 4 of the 56-lap event.
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"Considering Vettel started last, it's not really that great to be honest", he added. Sebastian Vettel's Formula One title bid could suffer a further setback after a freaky post-race incident at the Malaysian Grand Prix today.
The 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix was very different from the race two weeks ago at Singapore; no safety auto stints, no first corner incidents, no rain (which is rare at Sepang), hardly any yellow flags. Hamilton came second to extend his drivers' championship lead to 34 points over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes are confident of regrouping ahead of a Japanese GP which should suit their W08's package, but Hamilton was still ruing the missed opportunity in Malaysia after Vettel's storming comeback drive.
"In the race, if I tried to go quicker, I just slide more, and struggle more with the tyre temps".
"As a result, we ended up in the secondary group, running a little slower than our true pace, and could not overtake".
With teammate and championship contender Sebastian Vettel failing to set a time in qualifying after suffering with a turbo problem, Raikkonen seemed to be struck by an nearly identical problem on his way to the grid on Sunday.
"I was having problems with de-rate at the beginning of the race and struggling with battery power".
Ricciardo then made it a double podium for Red Bull.