Malaysian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

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    Formula One heads to the Sepang International Circuit for the final time, as the Malaysian Grand Prix prepares for its swansong. Join The Roar for a live blog from 6pm AEDT.

    With six races remaining in the title race for 2017, the last ever race at Sepang is a crucial one in terms of the championship.

    The previous race in Singapore saw a dramatic shift in momentum atop the standings, with an imperious Lewis Hamilton emerging with a 28-point lead over Sebastian Vettel – who was left red faced after a controversial first corner incident.

    Sepang presents another race of endurance, with the heat set to challenge the drivers as it did in Singapore. The 5.5km circuit however, possesses more high-speed corners – which with the new cars, should be taken up to 20kmph faster than 2016.

    The race itself is comprised of 56-laps, with weather always variable due yearlong monsoonal rains being present in the region.

    Vettel and Ferrari will be under pressure to respond here, with the pair having had the most victories of any driver or team since the first race in 1999.

    However, the German is set to start the race from the rear of the grid after he failed to set a time in qualifying – with a turbocharger issue forcing him out of qualification.

    Hamilton then starts from his 70th career pole position, having edged out Kimi Räikkönen by the narrowest of margins.

    The Finn will start the race from where he last won at Sepang back in 2008 and appears to be the Scuderia’s sole hope of challenging for the win.

    2016’s race winner in Daniel Ricciardo occupies the second of the grid, behind his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. Red Bull could yet be a smoky once again, if there is tension at the front.

    A strong qualifying for both Force India and McLaren drivers puts them up there to bag a haul of points, particularly such a competitive midfield and constructor’s championship positions being crucial at this point in the season.

    Toro Rosso have replaced Daniil Kvyat for the remainder of 2017, with reigning GP2 champion Pierre Gasly set to start fifteenth in his first grand prix.

    The odds are against Vettel winning a fifth in Sepang, though there is hope that Räikkönen could steal points off Hamilton.

    With such a tantalising race on the cards, tune into the live blog coverage from 6pm AEST on The Roar and see who will take out the last ever Malaysia Grand Prix.