After their double victory and sensational performance in Melbourne, Australian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton and second-placed Nico Rosberg are also the top favourites for the upcoming Malaysia race. The other teams seemed powerless against the outstanding performance of the Silver Arrows. The only rivalry is between Mercedes Formula One team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and will continue in the next race. It will be interesting to see who will stay ahead. According to the bookmakers, Hamilton is heavily favoured to win in Malaysia (winning odds of 1.35).
Ferrari hope for a place on the podium
The best of the rest was four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel on his debut for Ferrari. He came in third and is one of the favourites expected to claim a place on the podium in the next race again. His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen dropped out following problems with his left rear wheel but will also be a hot candidate to get a place on the podium as Ferrari was recording fast lap times and is now back in the battle for the title race.
Chances for the other teams
German driver Nico Huelkenberg sprung a little surprise in his Force India when he crossed the finishing line in seventh position during the first race of the season. His team-mate Sergio Perez came in 10th and also finished in a top-ten spot. Force India is considered a rank outsider in the battle for the constructors’ championship this year (odds of 5001.00) but maybe they can repeat their good performance and secure good positions in Malaysia.
Williams and Sauber also showed solid performances and are both expected to reach that coveted top ten once again. Felipe Massa was fourth for Williams, while Felipe Nasr produced a feel good result for the Sauber team in fifth place. McLaren-Honda was a big disappointment at all. McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen, who was meant to replace Fernando Alonso for the Melbourne Grand Prix, was ruled out of contention after his car broke down with engine problems on the dummy lap to the grid. His team-mate Jenson Button came in 11th. Alonso is expected to return to the cockpit at the Malaysia Grand Prix and maybe he can earn some points, helping to bring McLaren back on the track.
Just 11 finishers in Melbourne
It was not a classic Formula One season opener, and it was not a classic grid either. Local hero Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull finished in a commendable sixth place in a race that saw just 15 cars line up on grid due to spate of technical failures, the smallest starting grid since the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix. There were only 11 finishers and the last man, Jenson Button, was the only driver to finish the race, but out of the points. Few sports are as reliant on technology as the Formula One. Moreover, the heat and humidity in Malaysia can be decisive for the race and will be the most significant challenges for the cars and drivers.