F1 Power Rankings: Malaysia Grand Prix

With six races left to go in the season, luck has made the championship look like it did six races into the season. Nico Rosberg once again leads the World Drivers’ Championship after a run of bad luck for Lewis Hamilton. Can Nico actually pull this off and win his first Formula One World Championship or is this a little bit of drama to spice up this season? The F1 Power Rankings attempt to answer this question.

#1 Nico Rosberg
Keke’s kid takes the lead atop the World Drivers’ Championship and the Power Rankings as Mercedes goes into another trap race: “As far as the next race goes, or the next one after that and so on… it’s anyone’s game. Red Bull and Ferrari are both pushing us really hard, so there will be some tough weekends ahead. It’s exciting for the fans and pushes us even harder to keep improving, so that’s a great thing. Malaysia didn’t work out perfectly for us last year, so if we can win it this time against such tough opposition that would be really awesome.”

#2 Lewis Hamilton
I don’t think that Lewis is thinking as a sportsman but rather as someone trying to sell the sport: “I have no idea if the momentum will swing back to me or when it might. But we still have six races left, so I just have to keep giving it my all and hope for the best. That’s all you can do as a sportsman. It’s going to take some good results to get back in front and stay there – but I’ve had plenty of those in the past, so there’s no reason to think they won’t come back to me again.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo
It looks like Danny Boy is the only one to check the weather forecast for this weekend: “We usually go there at the beginning of the season so it is going to be interesting going there now with a lot more development on the car and seeing how it performs. I checked the weather and it seems pretty constant all year round so that shouldn’t change much, but Sepang has been resurfaced so that could be interesting for tyre life.”

#4 Sebastian Vettel
According to Pirelli Motorsport boss Paul Hembery, this might be the hardest track on tyres all season: “In terms of extreme conditions that provide a real test for the tyres, Malaysia is right up there with anything else we see all year. That’s because of the extremely high temperatures as well as the high energy loadings through the fast corners. The big unknown for this year is the track surface, which is completely new.”

#5 Kimi Raikkonen

#6 Max Verstappen
I just realized that there are so few wet races now that I can’t remember if Max is any good at wet weather racing: “Malaysia is very humid and very hot, a bit like Singapore… The weather can vary quite a bit as well. We can get some pretty big storms, but then the track can dry up very quickly because of the high temperature.”

#7 Valtteri Bottas
I do believe that #BO77AS wins generic PR quotage of the week: “Malaysia has changed places in the calendar so it’s going to be just as hot and humid as Singapore and another very physical race for the drivers… Overall, it’s an enjoyable track to drive and I’m really looking forward to going back for another year.”

#8 Nico Hulkenberg
The Hulk talks about the impact of the weather. About time someone did more than bitch about it: “It feels strange to be going to Sepang at the end of the season, but it’s also a nice change to mix up the calendar. It’s one of the hottest events of the year and the temperatures make it quite tough on tyre degradation. The tyres will be important here, managing them throughout the race is crucial and it’s an area we really concentrate on understanding with the engineers.”

#9 Sergio Perez
Checo talks about his career-making first podium. He might be making a major career move this weekend too: “Sepang is usually a circuit where rain is a certainty rather than a possibility. It’s where I scored my first podium in Formula One, in 2012, thanks to making the most of the weather conditions. Being in a position to fight for the win came as a shock for me as we did not expect it, but the emotions of that day will stay with me forever.”

#10 Fernando Alonso
Nando says that drivers love Malaysia. I question that because everyone’s complaining about the heat: “The Malaysian Grand Prix is always a fun event and among the drivers’ favourites on the calendar. There’s great food, lively fans and good racing so I hope we can put up a strong fight there. I’ve won this race three times before so I have happy memories, and we’ll be aiming to continue the momentum from the past couple of races and get a strong result there again this year.”

#11 Felipe Massa
Felipe, baby, stay cool. We’re getting the white visor: “Malaysia is another very difficult race in the calendar because of how hot and humid it is. It rains there almost every day, and when it rains it’s normally torrential so it covers the whole track. The race is just so dependent on the weather, but I really hope we can do well there and have a good result.”

#12 Carlos Sainz
Chili thinks that Malaysia is the second hardest race after Singapore. I have a hard time believing that when he should have boiled alive in last year’s race: “I remember that last year, the track temperature for the race was 64 degrees! But it’s still not as tough as racing in Singapore. I’d say Malaysia is the second toughest race, after Singapore.”

#13 Jenson Button
You know, NASCAR / Dogecoin driver Josh Wise does triathlons as a hobby. How would he handle a race weekend in Malaysia? “We always think of Singapore being tough because it’s the longest race of the year, but Malaysia will almost certainly be the hottest race on the calendar. Not only that, but the humidity is immense and the cockpit reaches very high temperatures. As drivers, we’re all well equipped for these conditions as part of our training, but it does take its toll by the end of the weekend. You definitely need to be in peak physical fitness to cope with the heat.”

#14 Daniil Kvyat
Poor Daniil Boy is cracking and so are his jokes: “It will be a challenging race, so let’s see what we are capable of. The only negative part for us this year is that maybe Sepang has too many long straights. We should build chicanes halfway through every straight! (Laughs) It would be nice, eh?! Anyway, having chicanes or straights, nothing changes… Their race mode for Malaysia is ON!”

#15 Esteban Gutierrez
Steve’s PR quotage is a walkthrough of a lap of the Sepang International Circuit. I’d post it but with all the changes to the circuit, who knows if that’s still relevent. At the very least, Steve consistently just missing the points has moved him ahead of Romain for the first time this year so he’s got that going for him which is nice.

#16 Romain Grosjean
Even though his car didn’t make the grid in Singapore, Romain is thinking positively: “Even though I didn’t get much racing in Singapore, you get your body used to the heat regardless with your overall fitness and training. That helps you feel good when you get there. Your body is better prepared to accept the temperatures you encounter. As I didn’t race in Singapore, I’m absolutely ready, physically, to race in Malaysia.”

#17 Kevin Magnussen
This week on K-Mag’s Global Excursion: “Unfortunately on a race weekend there’s not too much time available to explore and sample the local cuisine and I’ll most likely be headed back to the hotel every evening. It’s a long day at the track then you have to train, relax and ensure you get enough sleep to be at your best for the race. Sadly sometimes sampling the local culture has to wait until you’re on holiday.”

#18 Jolyon Palmer
Teammate Jo-Pal has had a bit more luck travelling Malaysia: “I’ve been lucky enough to see a bit of [Kuala Lumpur in the past]; we don’t always have time to see the places we visit much because we have busy schedules. Kuala Lumpur is a really nice city to explore and downtown you can visit the very modern areas with the big famous towers and then you have the more traditional areas and the markets. The city’s got a great vibe.”

#19 Pascal Wehrlein

#20 Felipe Nasr
I think the same PR guy wrote both Sauber quotes. The quote has also been spell-checked since Sauber didn’t. I can’t imagine how things are so bad there that they can’t afford Microsoft Word: “Talking about the Malaysian Grand Prix, the first thing that comes to my mind is the heat and the high humidity. During the last race weekend in Singapore we were already able to acclimatize to the high temperatures – in Malaysia this will help us as the conditions will be the same.”

#21 Marcus Ericsson
Marcus talks about a week in Thailand… I’m not going to make any jokes because I assume everyone else is capable of making the same juvenile joke I would: “The Malaysian Grand Prix is another challenging race weekend due to the high temperatures as well as the humidity. After the Singapore Grand Prix I stayed out and went to a training camp in Thailand to be in the best physical shape.”

#22 Esteban Ocon

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