Throw down the gauntlet

LH44 waves after P1. Image Copyright © Mercedes AMG

LH44 waves after P1. Image Copyright © Mercedes AMG

Issue a challenge. Whatever the conditions. Lets see what he’s got.
Lets see what they’ve got.

Thats what it seemed the LH44 garage was doing in the very wet Shanghai afternoon. Fastest through most of Practise…fastest through Q1 and Q2…by a whole second almost!

Lewis Hamilton is a wet weather specialist and he’s been on Pole in China before. Even those well known facts did little to explain his astonishing 1.3s gap to rival and teammate Nico Rosberg in equal machinery.

The Bulls ran amok in the rain. The underrated Newey-penned RBR10 chassis will sooner or later give the Mercs a run for their money, but for now they’ll have to depend on the elements to level things.

—

P1 Hamilton – Mercedes AMG 1m 53.860s
P2 Ricciardo – RBR Renault 1m 54.455s
P3 Vettel  – RBR Renault 1m 54.960s

 

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Lock out & lock up

The eyes have it. Image Copyright © Mercedes AMG

The eyes have it. Image Copyright © Mercedes AMG

The two Mercedes AMG Petronas cars locked out the front row of the  grid for the first time in 2014. Nico Rosberg set a fighting time in his last run in Q3 and it wasn’t matched nor beaten by teammate Lewis Hamilton because of a mistake.

Under pressure the 2008 World Champion locked up his tyres and aborted the crucial lap.

Only 6 days ago the Mercs were untouchable in Malaysia. Nothing much has changed from the team’s point of view. But Nico reminded everyone that he was indeed the Championship leader currently, even though the other side of the garage has hogged the limelight with consecutive poles and a commanding win.

The big surprises in Qualifying were Alonso in P10, Vettel in P11 and Hulkenberg in P12!
It bodes well for an exciting fight from the middle of the starting grid tomorrow.

A fight for P3 or ‘best of the rest’, behind the Silver Arrows. 

—

P1 Rosberg – Mercedes AMG 1m 33.180s
P2 Hamilton – Mercedes AMG 1m 33.464s
P3 Ricciardo – RBR Renault 1m 34.051s

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Trading times

Front wing

Aero efficiency at Sepang. Image Copyright © 2014 Ajit Devadason

Their relationship comes across as genuine comradeship, the laughter and the asides in public, the friendly jabs on social media, the brand-conscious teammates looking out for each other, for the team.

But one look at the time sheets of the Malaysian Grand Prix makes you wonder. It’s almost like a heavy-weight title bout. Both fighters not giving in. Both trading massive blows. Friday FP1 and Lewis topped the times. Nico came back in FP2 confirming Mercedes’ current form.

The bout continued into Saturday with the German signalling his intentions. To knock out. FP3 was his. Then in a delayed-due-to-rain Q1, he shows what he’s got. But in Q2 Hamilton shows he means business by going fastest. Then to add even more drama in Q3, nature plays its part. Heavier rain. But by then Lewis had beaten Nico to it.

Rosberg now found himself battling for P2 with the defending world champion. The Red Bull driver using rain as a leveller managed to shock the top steps of the podium.

What must be running through each of the top three qualifier’s minds is disguised by the brand commitments and etiquette of present day Formula 1 in the TV interviews.

All eyes on the start. There can only be one winner at Sepang. Come rain or sunshine.

—

P1 Hamilton – Mercedes AMG 1m 59.431s
P2 Vettel – RBR Renault 1m 59.486s
P3 Rosberg – Mercedes AMG 2m 00.050s

 

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Still I rise

LH's lid

Hamilton’s 2014 F1 helmet. Image Copyright © 2014 Mercedes AMG

Timing is everything.

Switch on your flatscreen LED and theres a Bond-like commercial that features a rejuvenated star in a spot called Liquid & Metal. For the Malaysian oil company, Petronas.

Flip open a glossy and you’re assaulted by stunning portraits of F1’s first ever black driver, staring right back at you.

Touch social media on a smart device anywhere and you’ll notice after a few retweets and post-shares from the man himself that he could indeed be a rapper from LA!

Tattooed. Young. Bold. Bling.

These are words you don’t normally associate with Grand Prix racing. But maybe it’s time. Because at Melbourne, Albert Park. Pole belongs to Lewis Carl Hamilton. And the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 brand cannot be happier.

P1 Hamilton – Mercedes AMG 1m 44.231s
P2 Ricciardo – RBR Renault 1m 44.548s
P3 Rosberg – Mercedes AMG 1m 44.595s

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