2015: Malaysian Grand Prix Preview

Following the Australian Grand Prix, where Mercedes picked up where they left off, Formula One has travelled to Malaysia for Round two of the 2015 World Championship. Lewis Hamilton won the first race which was overshadowed by some strange circumstances which saw just 15 cars start.

Manor made it to Australia but never made it out onto the track. As the team battled with software issues, drivers Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were forced to watch from the sidelines. The team believe they are ready for the upcoming weekend having returned to base in the UK between races to “regroup technically”. Manor’s absence brought the grid down to 18 cars and became further depleted when Valtteri Bottas pulled out on Sunday morning due to a back problem. McLaren’s testing woes were compounded when Kevin Magnussen’s engine – which had been turned down along with Jenson Button to try and ensure reliability – let go on his way to the grid. Daniil Kvyat also failed to make it to the grid following his own problems.

It was a perfect weekend for 2014 champion Hamilton who qualified on pole position and then went on to win the race by a second over his team-mate. He also set the fastest lap of the race. Mercedes’ dominance over the rest of the field was devastating, as Sebastian Vettel trailed home over 30s down on Rosberg. It was a positive start to the four time champion’s Ferrari career as he finished on the podium. He finished ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa, impressive rookie Felipe Nasr, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Marcus Ericsson, Carlos Sainz, and Sergio Perez. Button managed to get the second McLaren home but he finished 11th and two laps down.

Circuit: Sepang International Circuit
Number of Laps: 56
Circuit Length: 5.543km
Number of Corners: 15
Lap Record: 1:34.223 Juan Pablo Montoya 2004
Previous Malaysia winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (6 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Hard and Medium

The Malaysian Grand Prix always comes with its own unique challenges as the heat and humidity can affect the drivers and cars. It is a track characterised by long straights and high speed corners and overtaking is certainly a possibility. It has the second longest run to the first corner on the current calendar. Safety cars are a rare occurrence at Sepang, being deployed more often for the weather than anything else due to the large run off areas. Fernando Alonso will return to the cockpit in Malaysia, subject to passing final FIA medical tests on Thursday. He sat out the Australian Grand Prix after suffering a concussion during winter testing.

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