Are Mercedes making F1 boring? Rivals fear so

Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:34am EDT
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By Julian Linden

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - No sooner had Mercedes cruised to the checkered flag at Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, their rivals were all but conceding the 2015 Formula One championship was as good as over.

Dominant in 2014, Mercedes were again in a class of their own with double world champion Lewis Hamilton coasting to victory over team mate Nico Rosberg.

Despite taking it easy throughout the 58-lap race, concerned more about saving tires and fuel than checking their mirrors for challengers, Mercedes finished more than half a minute clear of third-placed Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

Only two other drivers finished on the same lap as the Silver Arrows.

"You have to be realistic," said Vettel after his first race for Ferrari. "This weekend it was in their hands and they did a great job, not just as a team but individually.

"They are the favorites, they had a huge advantage last year and I think they did a good job increasing that advantage this year."

Vettel won four titles in a row for Red Bull before Mercedes overtook them last year, and that team's principal Christian Horner said 2015 was looking like another procession.

"On today’s evidence we’re set for a two-horse race at every Grand Prix this year," he said.   Continued...

Second placed Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany (L) and race winner and team mate Lewis Hamilton of Britain spray champange on the podium after the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Brandon Malone