The Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia will host the second grand prix of the 2015 season takes place, where Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, will most likely, resume their so called “boring” rivalry.
The Mercedes pair were in a league of their own in the season-opener in Melbourne two weekends’ ago as Hamilton continued his impressive 2014 form with victory in the Australian Grand Prix.
The major talking point was about the reliability of the cars, or more accurately the lack of reliability. The field was already running at a reduced number throughout the weekend as recently saved Manor-Marussia failed to make it out of the pits, before a string of withdrawals and retirements hit Sunday’s race. The rest of the field was heavily compromised, as they were not able to live up with the pace of the Mercedes cars, with Sebastian Vettel, finishing as the best of the rest, a distant 33 or so seconds behind. Quit threats ensued following the race, with Christian Horner, reportedly, issuing an ultimatum, for the grid to be made in equal in terms of performance, if not Red Bull will leave F1, but that doesn’t like change the scenario in terms of the race, this weekend.
It won’t get any easier for the teams at the second race of 2015 in Malaysia this weekend. The suffocating humidity and heat at the Sepang International Circuit wrings the life out of cars, and teams will be pushing their cooling solutions to the maximum. With Fernando Alonso, and Valtteri Bottas, set to return for the race, the action in Malaysia is expected to step up a notch. The other challenge drivers can expect to face at some point during the race weekend is rain, which tends to fall in heavy bursts in the later afternoon at Sepang. The teams have not yet had significant wet weather running with their new cars. The long straights, with double DRS zones, help in the ease of overtaking. Tyres might not be a problem, as Pirelli plan to bring their most durable tyres for this race.
With Mercedes set to dominate yet again, the rest of the field will likely have an intriguing race, for the points positions. Williams and Ferrari are likely to consolidate their position as the best of the rest, while scrapping it out for the final podium place. Red Bull, seem to have hit troubles, with verbal barrages aimed at, engine supplier Renault in the past few days, and Malaysia might just turn out to be a nightmare, owing to the long straights, and the deficit they have in straight line speed. After finishing the race in Australia, courtesy of Jenson Button, McLaren, are in a state wherein finishing races at this stage, is a step taken forward. With their engine running in conservative mood, they should at least be back to full driving strength providing Alonso does return. Force India, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Sauber are likely to fight it out for the points finishing places, while Manor, will surely have done well, to start in Malaysia, after not leaving the garage in Australia.
All in all, the Malaysian Grand Prix, could surely spice things up. (Aniket Mohan)