'Gremlin' at Mercedes after poor practice pace

Max Verstappen- Red Bull Racing. Credit Octane

With Vettel at the back of the field, Raikkonen will lead Ferrari's charge after missing out on pole by a mere 0.045 seconds.

"I don't think there's much assessment necessary", he countered.

It was accepted that the McLaren would look stronger around the Marina Bay Street Circuit thanks to their strong chassis, but will again struggle due to lack of power from the Honda engine in Malaysia.

"When you arrive on weekends knowing reliability is good, it's a great feeling", Hamilton said in the Mercedes motorhome on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the organiser of one of the support events apologised to spectators after every vehicle ran out of fuel and embarrassingly failed to complete the race.

- Reuters picSEPANG, Sept 30 ― Kimi Raikkonen deposed Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel at the top of the timesheets in the final practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix today as Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton continued to struggle.

He now has a mountain to climb as he is 28 points behind Hamilton in the title chase.

"I think we have a very quick auto this weekend so we should be able to make up a lot of ground", said the record four-times Malaysia victor, who consoled his heartbroken mechanics after getting out of his vehicle.

First, the previous weeks' Formula One "What to Watch" articles stressed how tight the points race was heading into Singapore.

Yet given it was here, at Sepang previous year, Lewis expired from the lead with a knackered engine and his 2016 hopes in disarray, you don't need to tell the Englishman his fourth crown ain't quite in the bag just yet.

"We just have to maximize every opportunity we get", Hamilton said, offering some sympathy to Vettel. He has finished in the top 5 in all but two races this year.

Both rivals accept that it will be an all-out war as the remaining six races will be held on a variety of circuits that appear to favour each of their car's in equal measure.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, Vettel stressed the need to move on from the incident. There, however, have been plans to eventually increase it to 25 races since new owners Liberty Media took the reins.

"But we've not been very good at high speed here".

"Obviously it's a while ago, but for sure one of my nicest memories here was 2015, my first win with Ferrari", Vettel revealed. Before qualifying I was thinking of going back to the new package because Valtteri's and my times were very similar and Valtteri seemed really happy with it and so I didn't want to carry a penalty going into qualifying. Pierre Gasly as well as his teammate Carlos Sainz set impressive lap times to climb out of the drop zone as the checkered flag fell on the session. Even if the results were missing in the last three races and we lost the lead, I still have hope. I'm developing a lot with this team and getting better.