The second Red Bull man Daniel Ricciardo finished third ahead Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who start from the rear of the grid. Malaysian GP victory was the second of Verstappen’s career.
Vettel, who had started in last place following engine problems stopped him setting a time in qualifying, staged a remarkable recovery drive to fourth. The German now trails Hamilton by 34 points in the standings with five of 20 races left.
Major drama was kept until after the finish as Vettel’s car was clipped by the Williams F1 rookie Lance Stroll, wrecking the back wing and leaving the German to hitch a lift back to the pits.
“That’s incredible,” complained Vettel. “Stroll wasn’t looking where he was going.”
Stroll had finished a fine eighth, but the incident was under investigation by the race stewards.
Another disaster for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified second in second, was unable to take part after a fault developed in his car ahead of the formation lap.