Five talking points for the Malaysian Grand Prix
Five talking points for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit this week:
Kuala Lumpur: Five talking points for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit this week:
-- Can Rosberg catch Hamilton?
It is early days but the 2015 title race may well boil down to Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg after they left the other teams trailing in Melbourne.
Although he finished well clear of the chasing pack, second-placed Rosberg cut a reflective figure after being comprehensively out-run in both qualifying and the race by his British stablemate.
"He drove like a world champion all weekend," admitted the German. Neutrals will hope Rosberg can find a way of reeling in the reigning world champion and puncturing a confidence which currently looks unassailable.
-- Red Bull need to find their roar
Considering their recent dominance of F1, Red Bull`s call for measures to help teams catch up with Mercedes raised a few eyebrows after the season-opener in Australia.
Hints at quitting the sport upped the ante but regardless of any moves by Formula One`s regulators, Red Bull first need to get their own house in order.
Problems with their Renault engine prevented Daniil Kvyat from starting the race, while Daniel Ricciardo came in sixth out of 11 finishers.
A more credible showing in Malaysia would not hurt their campaign for new regulations to slow Mercedes.
-- Alonso boost for McLaren
The early part of the year has not been kind to McLaren but their season can get under way in earnest with the return of Fernando Alonso after his February crash in testing.
The two-time world champion impressed in an underwhelming Ferrari car last season and he is well qualified to lead a resurgence by the British team.
McLaren started from the back of the grid in Melbourne and Jenson Button trailed in last, but there is quiet optimism around the team that they can make up significant ground this year.
-- Nasr leads the new kids
Max Verstappen`s outing at the record-breaking age of 17 years and 166 days in Melbourne put the focus on youth in F1, but it was Felipe Nasr who led the way for Generation Next with a superlative drive on debut.
The 22-year-old Brazilian made light of legal challenges surrounding Sauber`s line-up to finish fifth, the best debut by a Brazilian driver -- outstripping even the late, great Ayrton Senna. Several million Brazilian eyes will be on the young hopeful to see if he can add more points in race number two.
-- Can Malaysia top the Terminator?
Ricciardo slammed the Australian Grand Prix as "boring" but the podium ceremony was anything but. After a processional win for Hamilton and Mercedes, the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Hollywood`s Arnold Schwarzenegger appearing on the victory podium to interview the winners.
With stars of stage and screen often to be seen in the F1 paddock, Malaysian organisers may also consider collaring one of them to pep up the post-race proceedings before the champagne lets fly. It makes a welcome change from talk of hybrid technology and double diffusers.