'Gremlin' at Mercedes after poor practice pace


That represents a drastic 42-point swing in favour of the Briton, who has won all three races since the summer break and has momentum on his side as the season moves towards its climax at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 26 at Yas Marina Circuit.

Bottas was optimistic the team could have a better Saturday.

Hamilton, now top of the drivers' standings with 263 points after 14 rounds wants to redeem himself as he did not achieve a great result in Sepang past year.

Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen said on Thursday things have not been so bad for Ferrari despite it not winning in the last three Formula 1 races.

Ferrari does not have the quickest vehicle at most circuits, despite what Hamilton often claims, and Vettel knew he needed to absolutely maximise his result at a place where Ferrari was unquestionably strong, and Mercedes particularly weak.

His victory less than 300 miles south in Singapore a fortnight ago could yet prove vital as Vettel retired following an opening-lap shunt.

Hamilton, the only black driver in F1's history, urged his followers to read about the issue, signing off his message with #Takeaknee. "It is one of the worst Fridays I can remember", said Wolff.

"For the rest of the day we'll concentrate on that, getting those four kerbs welded back down again. It's been very tight the whole season", he said. Thanks to everyone involved, can't wait to start my first @F1 GP this weekend. Here's a look at the odds to win this race.

"To be honest, I don't know if we're going to miss it".

The German has only made the podium in half of the races during that time and his early retirement in Singapore means he needs to come out fighting if he is to claim a fifth title.

"Last year there were a lot of mistakes, this year I'm trying to make sure I stay focussed and not make many mistakes", Hamilton said.

Verstappen was runner-up to Ricciardo previous year and is hoping to go one better this time around.

"I think it would have been more hard if I had lost the vehicle somewhere in the race", the German, a record four-time victor in Malaysia, said. That failure cost him 25 points and ultimately the title that went to now-retired team mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton defiantly has momentum coming to Malaysia. "In the morning we had wet conditions and only managed a few laps". We take a look at the main talking points ahead of this weekend's race.

Ricciardo appears particularly strong, with his second-place finish in Singapore earning him a seventh podium position in the past 10 races.

"Of course it's a turning point when you go from being behind all season long and now two races being in the lead".

At around 7/5 we think this is a very decent bet.

But Vettel believes there is still plenty more work for the Scuderia to do. "Just that it has become more hard".

Vettel didn't allow himself to get too carried away with Mercedes' struggles, and said he fully expects them to get their act together tomorrow.