Complacency – it’s an ugly word and in any sport, it’s not really going to do you any favours. Even one where technology can often get you out of a human bind…
Now let’s be clear. What Ferrari managed in Malaysia was special. The look on Sebastian Vettel’s face for the rest of his Sunday afternoon said it all. It was a remarkable emotional admission for a man who was extremely used to winning championships – never mind grands prix – not too long ago.
The prancing horse has an enviable record around Sepang, which makes it all the more worthwhile to wait a few more races before declaring Ferrari a severe threat to Mercedes’ impending domination.
And of course, what helped put Ferrari and Vettel out in front in Malaysia was Mercedes themselves.
Their beyond-cautious approach qualifying and tyre strategy, plus an almost careless handling of the race on both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s side of the garage meant that the focus and hunger at their red rivals could deliver the tastiest of victories – and leave the silver arrows admitted round two of the 2015 championship was already a wake-up call.
In truth, Mercedes’ position means they can afford one. Their class is far more proven than Ferrari’s form.
But for once, there won’t be any shortage of F1 fans willing a strong challenge to Mercedes from red Italian car and quick German driver.
While Mercedes were complacent, Red Bull were crippled…
And quite rightly, the formerly dominant constructor has finally acknowledged their problems run far deeper than the Renault power unit.
It’s hard not to wonder how much Adrian Newey’s reduced involvement in the car design at Milton Keynes as affected Red Bull’s aerodynamic performance.
At the moment, watching Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat struggling behind even their sister team Toro Rosso, the answer appears to be quite obvious.
So Manor Marussia ran a car and finally ‘competed’ in the new F1 season…
Yet the cynics maintain the team is merely making up the numbers to ensure those millions of hard-earned pounds in prize money do find their way to Banbury.
It it’s true, then the team need leaving alone until they get serious – not that anyone watching the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend would’ve reaslied there was a Manor car on the track. Given Bernie’s public criticism of the team, maybe he put in a request to the director? Stranger things have happened…
♦ Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey