There are six races to go in this season's Formula One calendar, and with eight points currently seperating championship leader Nico Rosberg from his team mate Lewis Hamilton it has all the signs of a title race that will go down to the wire.
Where the previous two seasons had Hamilton on imperious form, close to taking the crown by this point, this year has seen Rosberg raise his game and match his rival. Hamilton has not been racing well at times throughout this season, and the constant pressure from Rosberg has done much to put him off. Rosberg's consistency has been superb, with eight wins to Hamilton's six, as well as matching Hamilton for pole positions so far. The latter is an especially impressive feat, given that raw speed over one lap has long been considered an area where Lewis Hamilton had an edge over every other driver on the grid.
The Malaysian grand prix itself has ben moved from March to October in order for the track to be upgraded. A new surface and new drainage will help given the race often ends up being wet, and the reprofiling of nine corners will put a new emphasis on tyre grip as well as the aerodynamics of the cars themselves.
It will be a slightly new experience for all the drivers, then, so who do we expect to shine? With its long straights, Malaysia will remain a track for fast cars and the Mercedes is still the pick of the bunch. With the momentum swinging his way again our hunch is that Nico Rosberg is going to be the man who puts his car on pole, and the best place to back that is at BetFred, at the decent price of 11/8.
Race day is another story, though. It's much harder to guess who might come out on top over 56 laps, so instead we are going to predict that Sebastien Vettel will manage a podium finish. He's had a tough time in the last couple of races, but this is a track he usually does well on and we think it will suit the Ferrari car. The best place to back that is at Ladbrokes, at a very reasonable 11/10.
If the new profiling means it does become a race about tyre wear then there's one other driver we'd expect to see do well, too. Segio Perez came oh so close to taking his maiden victory at this circuit in 2012, and he has proved many times since that he is a master of making his tyres last competitively much longer than anybody elses.
With the tyre wear and the weather all major unpredictable factors, we fancy a punt on Perez to bring his Force India home in the top six. The best place to back that is at BoyleSports, offering the best price available on the market at 5/4.