The Malaysian Grand Prix could be a crucial race going into the final two months of the 2017 season.
Mercedes currently boast a 102-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ standings, with Ferrari needing a near-miracle at the Sepang International Circuit to claw back any significant ground.
Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position ahead of Kimi Raikkonen by 0.045 seconds, while Sebastian Vettel was forced to start from the back of the grid due to an engine problem during qualifying.
While the Mercedes driver is set to enjoy a much easier day out than if both Ferrari rivals were hot on his tail, he feels great sympathy for the German.
"Sebastian… I mean, he would have been up there with us," Hamilton said, per the BBC.
"He'd been driving well all weekend, very, very quick, between him and Kimi.
"Very unfortunate for him, but of course we just have to continue to focus on our job and try to maximise every opportunity that we get collectively."
VERSTAPPEN - HAMILTON INCIDENT
But even with the top two drivers unlikely to be involved in one of the customary head-to-head duels, there’s been plenty of action to enjoy in Malaysia.
Hamilton has featured in one of the most exciting incidents in the race so far, though not quite for the reasons we’ve become accustomed to over his ten-year career.
The Brit was overtaken by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the fourth lap and although the move itself was a joy to watch, the Dutchman’s reaction is even better.
Verstappen found a way past Hamilton at high speed down the straight at Sepang, to which he told his team via radio: “That’s how we do it!”
Check out the brilliant manoeuvre as well as his hilarious reaction via the BBC below.
Verstappen has since led the race with Hamilton and Red Bull colleague Daniel Ricciardo following closely behind.
Should the 20-year-old hang on to the front position, it would be his first win and third podium finish of the season.