October 2, 2016 / 8:37 AM / 2 years ago

Hamilton retires while leading in Malaysia

Formula One - F1 - Malaysia Grand Prix - Sepang, Malaysia- 2/10/16 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain returns to the paddock after his car caught fire during the race. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SEPANG, Malaysia (Reuters) - World champion Lewis Hamilton retired with a blown engine while leading Sunday’s Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix, severely damaging his chances of claiming a fourth driver’s title.

Hamilton, who started on pole, had been leading comfortably from Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen when his engine burst into flames with 16 circuits of the 56-lap race remaining.

The Briton’s Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg was elevated to third after Hamilton’s retirement but appears set to finish fourth after picking up a 10-second time penalty for his role in a collision with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Rosberg is now course to extend his lead in the overall drivers’ standings to 20 points with five races remaining but Mercedes must now wait for at least one more race to wrap up the constructors’ title.

Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Editing by John O'Brien

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