The only word that can define Sebastian Vettel’s performance in Australia weeks ago is dominant.
From his pole snagging qualifying performance to his twenty-two second race victory, no one was close to the Red Bull driver. Hamilton had his moments, but a damaged under-tray left us wondering if he really had the pace to catch Vettel. In the end he would have to settle for second.
As a result Vettel should be a heavy favourite in this weekend’s race. Looking at Malaysia, temperatures are expected to be much higher and this will remove some of the setup issues.
Then again one can expect the Mercedes and Ferrari teams to return to form as they should not be so at odds with the new Pirelli tires.
As fast the Red Bulls were in the season opener without the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, one has to wonder how the rest of the teams will respond as they will have the extra eighty horsepower available to them in Malaysia.
The biggest question mark over the weekend will be the tires as the teams will more than likely have to make many more stops than in Australia, so pit strategy will definitely come into play.
Drivers like Jenson Button and Sergio Perez could surprise with their abilities to make tires last but Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton are all masters of handling sliding cars. After his performance in Australia, Vettel has to be seen as the favourite.