Hamilton wary 
of surprise 
in Sepang

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton was handed a lucky break in Singapore, but the Mercedes driver can take little more than the heat and humidity for granted in Malaysia this weekend.

The Briton needs no reminding of just how fickle fortune can be as he returns to the steamy circuit where his 2016 title hopes suffered a blow that ultimately proved too great to overcome.

Hamilton has a 28-point advantage over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, after the German crashed out on the opening lap in Singapore from pole position and gifting him a third successive win.

The gap between the two is the biggest it has been all year and Hamilton will not need to win another race this year to clinch his fourth title if he triumphs on Sunday with Vettel lower than second.

But the 32-year-old will still be wary of Sepang, hosting its final race before Malaysia drops off the calendar, after last year's engine failure struck while he was leading from pole.

"I think it's going to be very close in the next races," said Hamilton, who has won every Grand Prix since the mid-season break.

"We've just got to stay on our toes and keep trying to extract everything out of this car."

Hamilton won four of the five races after Malaysia last year, but was still unable to stop teammate Nico Rosberg taking the title. - REUTERS

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