It will be hot in Malaysia - and not just where the temperature is concerned, the action out on the track will be 'hot' too. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is certain of that: "Sepang is a challenging high-speed circuit that will show which cars have the best grip and downforce. It will be very hard on cooling systems and impinge a great deal on tyre management." Pirelli reckon that drivers will make an average of four pit stops each.
Furthermore, Whitmarsh thinks that the opening race in Australia didn't reveal the opposition's full potential. "That drives us even more to show as much pace as possible in Sepang," he added. According to Whitmarsh, things were looking promising on paper for McLaren; the updates on the MP4-26 had worked as expected, and the car's performance in Melbourne on the high-speed sections have raised the team's hopes of success in Malaysia.
In qualifying at Albert Park, Vettel had been almost eight tenths of a second up on Hamilton. In the race, the McLaren driver trailed the world champion by 22 seconds at the finish line. Whitmarsh: "Well, it's a fact, there was a bit of a gap separating us from pole position, but we aim to close that gap and get Lewis and Jenson [Button] into a race-winning position."