Mercedes explain Malaysian Grand Prix 'gremlins' as Lewis Hamilton struggles for pace

Hamilton's main rival Sebastian Vettel currently sits 28-points off him in the standings

"Fernando and I tested some different-spec floors today".

Replays showed the Grosjean hit the cover on the Turn 12 inside kerb, after it had been flicked up by Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes, with his right-rear.

Hamilton took full advantage of Vettel's calamitous start at the Marina Bay Street Circuit to win the race extending his lead in the drivers' championship from three points to 28 with six races remaining.

Hamilton was among the drivers to express his sorrow at this race being dropped from the calendar after 2017.

"The conditions present a pretty unique technical challenge for our engineers too, as we try to find the best compromise in terms of performance and cooling over the whole weekend".

Victor of the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix last time out, Hamilton said: "It's been a very hard day".

"Don't ever get it twisted that we don't want to kill each other out there, but there's a respect for one another's ability, and where we come from, and that really works well for us at the moment". Ferrari does not have the quickest auto at most circuits, despite what Hamilton often claims, and Vettel knew he needed to absolutely maximise his result at a place where Ferrari was unquestionably strong, and Mercedes particularly weak. That means that qualifying is perhaps less essential than at most circuits. "I am still allowed to win races if I have the pace".

Hamilton defiantly has momentum coming to Malaysia.

Despite the sizeable deficit he needs to overcome, Vettel has no doubts he can still claim a fifth F1 crown this year.

"Daniel Ricciardo 12 months ago shared a "shoey" €" champagne from his driving boot €" with Max Verstappen after his surprise win.

He added: "I think it's been good racing over the years here".

Looking at Malaysia, we know the weather is very unpredictable and just like the previous Singapore race rain or even a thunderstorm will mix everything up very nicely for punters and fans alike.

However, his engine failed and he retired, so instead of leaving Malaysia with a five-point lead, Hamilton trailed Rosberg by 23 points, and would go on to be beaten by five points at the end of that year.

"The vehicle wasn't working as well as it normally has done this year", admitted chief race engineer Andrew Shovelin. "Now, they get to watch the race in Sepang", he said in a statement.

In April, he accused former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone of making promoters "look like idiots" with comments about how Formula One had charged high hosting fees without delivering what was paid for.

There will be one new face in the pit lane as young French GP2 champion Pierre Gasly, 21, will make his Formula One debut with Toro Rosso after replacing Daniil Kvyat, who has managed just four points this season.