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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

31 MAR - 03 APR 2016

China: Silver Arrows To Be Shangaied Again?

Two races into the season the names at the top of the Drivers’ Championship are familiar – but not in the expected order.

Lewis Hamilton leads on 43 points but the Mercedes man’s closest challenger is not his teammate, Nico Rosberg, but new Ferrari front-runner Sebastian Vettel.

While Vettel is just three points behind Hamilton, Mercedes already have a 24-point advantage over Ferrari – and they were stung by defeat in Malaysia.

Malaysian Grand Prix Report

Sebastian Vettel inspired delight from Sepang to Maranello on Sunday when he ended Ferrari’s two years’ in the wilderness and claimed his first triumph in red with a stunning success at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Italian team had gone 34 races without a win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix and were not expected to challenge, let alone end, Mercedes’ recent supremacy, demonstrated so clearly with their one-two finish at Albert Park earlier this month (March).

Sepang: Slippery When Wet

Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team reach Malaysia in the lead in both world championships – and they return to a venue where they were dominant in 2014.

Hamilton claimed pole from Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, he won the race from teammate Nico Rosberg and set the fastest lap.

At 5.543 kilometres, Sepang offers a fascinating mix of corners fast and slow, two long straights and three tempting overtaking spots: into Turn 1, into Turn 15 and the hairpin at Turn 9.

Should Dan be desperate?

On the face of it, there are hard yards ahead for 18 of the 20 guys in the Formula 1 field this year as Messrs Hamilton and Rosberg run away at the front.

In Melbourne they were over half a minute ahead of their nearest pursuer, Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari.

Our own Dan Ricciardo was sixth – and lapped. That’s unbearable for a front-line driver, a man who won three races in 2014 and was promised better weapons in his fight for more success in 2015.

Who's the Terminator now?

Lewis Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger had Albert Park rocking with laughter on Sunday when they met on the podium after the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Race-winner Hamilton, surprised to see who was the post-race interviewer, was more animated than he had been all weekend. ‘It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, man!’ he beamed.

After a few minutes’ banter that delighted thousands of fans, Arnie said to Lewis: ‘I know what you’re going to say now.’

2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix - Race Report

Lewis Hamilton claimed the 34th victory of his career when he led Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg home at Albert Park, the two Silver Arrows a crushing 33 seconds ahead of the third-placed Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

World champion Hamilton laid the foundations of his second Melbourne victory with a superb start from pole position as Rosberg struggled to keep the fast-starting Williams of Felipe Massa behind him.

Wattie won but Niki was quicker

It’s more than 30 years since it happened, but Niki Lauda still bristles at the memory of the United States Grand Prix at Long Beach in 1983, the last event at which McLaren qualified with two cars so far distant at the back of the grid.

Why?

‘It was because we started at the back of grid, of course,’ said the straight-talking Austrian, now non-executive chairman of Mercedes F1 team. ‘And because I didn’t win!

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