The Australian Grand Prix was a straightforward affair but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to look out for in Malaysia.
The first is whether Nico Rosberg will be able to respond to Lewis Hamilton’s dominant race performance. Although Rosberg topped the opening free practice sessions, from Saturday onwards Hamilton took control of the Grand Prix. Perhaps Malaysia will see the opposite with Hamilton dominating free practice, but Rosberg responding in qualifying and the race.
Just behind the Mercedes is Ferrari and Williams, where it will be interesting to see how Williams respond to Ferrari’s performance. Although some speculated whether Susie Wolff would replace Bottas for Malaysia, I would expect Bottas to be fit since he has twelve days to recover from his back injury. Assuming Bottas does race in Malaysia, he might be able to challenge Vettel and Ferrari more than Massa was able to in Melbourne.
Sauber were able to challenge and beat Red Bull, thanks to Felipe Nasr. Is his performance a one off? Or will Malaysia show that Nasr is completely up to speed with F1 and that Sauber will be consistent points scorers? Although they may need to be looking behind them as Toro Rosso will be hoping that they can join the Sauber/Red Bull fight.
Force India were able to pick up points and will hope to do the same again, although this could be difficult if both Lotus cars are able to finish as Grosjean and Maldonado were able to qualify in the top ten. Although this won’t guarantee points as Lotuses race pace is still relatively unknown compared to other teams.
Having managed to complete 56 laps, McLaren will surely be aiming for more of the same and expecting Alonso to return.
Manor arrived in Melbourne but were unable to compete due to software issues which the team will aim to have resolved before Malaysia so that they can finally go racing.