Mercedes will again occupy two of the first three positions on the grid in Malaysia as Lewis Hamilton pipped world champion Sebastian Vettel to record successive poles in the opening two races of the 2014 F1 season.
Hamilton showed his skill in extremely wet conditions in Kuala Lumpur to edge out Vettel by just 0.055 seconds and in doing so not only made himself the 10/11 favourite to take the chequered flag, but also equalled Jim Clark’s record for a British driver of 33 career poles.
The Mercedes driver must be wary of the man beside him on the grid though, as Vettel has been victorious at the Sepang Internationa circuit in his Red Bull in three of the last four years, giving no small attraction to odds of 4/1
However, if Hamilton can avoid the engine trouble which cost him an early retirement in Australia he has an extremely good chance, as two of Vettel’s three Malaysian wins have seen him lead from the front.
And although a Red Bull has yet again managed to wedge itself in between the two Mercedes cars on the grid to mirror that of Melbourne, the ease to which teammate Nico Rosberg forged a race-winning gap shows Christian Horner’s team still have work to do.
Rosberg, who is the 7/2 second favourite from third, ended up dominating the field in Australia and cruising home 24.5 seconds ahead of disqualified Red Bull man Daniel Ricciardo.
Despite the Red Bull of Vettel showing excellent downforce in Malaysia, there is no doubt that the machine Hamilton has at his disposal in these early exchanges has the greater flat speed.
It’s Hamilton’s race to lose if his car behaves as it didn’t in Melbourne.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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