“Welcome back, prancing horse.”

So, we’re now two rounds down into the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, and we’ve already had some incredible moments to take away from it. Mercedes not looking quite as invincible as we thought, the resurgence of the prancing horse, Sauber surprising everyone in Australia, as well as Red Bull’s temporary fall from grace while the sister team impresses.

So I thought, let’s sum up all the early goings-on so far. Now, I’ve always said, you don’t really get a true idea of how the field is shaping up until the start of the European season in Spain, but so much has happened, I felt like I had to talk about it, so let’s see the state of play after two very different races in 2015…


Hamilton
Mercedes – 9/10

Well, 2015 confirmed what many already thought about the Mercedes Factory Team – They’re still blisteringly quick.

On a good day, Mercedes can still win any given Grand Prix, at 60% of their true pace, which has only come out on rare occasions since their reign of terror began in 2014. And this is a team that nine times out of ten, are untouchable, something still proven in Australia.

However, the Malaysian Grand Prix has proven one thing that’s been a consistent gremlin in the team since Vettel’s last title year in 2013 – Tyre degradation. A much improved Ferrari team, combined with Mercs struggling in super-hot temperatures has definitely shown a small chink in Mercedes armour. That twinned with a questionable strategic call in running a 3-stopper against Vettel’s 2-stop strategy, showed that there might be a sense of complacency in the Brackley team.

When fast, their strategy work is really straight-forward. When under pressure, it’s been proven, they can crack, like in Hungary last year, where they violated their own “No Team Order” policy. They’ve got to be careful, and for the first time since their run at the top, on raw pace alone, they looked vulnerable. Was Malaysia a blip, or is there something more?

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Ferrari – 9/10

My original preview question to Ferrari in February was “Just how big a rebuild are we talking here?”. Well, Ferrari sure as hell answered the call. They were conservative in Australia, but still took the podium over Felipe Massa, and then stunned the world at Malaysia with Sebastian Vettel beating Mercedes fair and square. It was like being in 2013 all over again.

James Allison’s really built a quality car, light on its tyres, and able to work with Sebastian Vettel’s driving style, maximising its performance. Hell, Kimi Raikkonen’s looked back to near his best too, with Allison’s previous work with Lotus coming to the forefront. It looks like if its a really hot day, Ferrari can challenge for wins, especially if it can stop 1-time less than Mercedes can.

They’ve not been perfect – sloppy pit-stops cost Raikkonen a Top 5 finish in Australia, but they already look far ahead of their two