Malaysian F1 Grand Prix 2015: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2015

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain gets up from his car after after the second practice session for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia Friday, March 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Andy Wong/Associated Press

The second instalment of the new Formula 1 season kicks off in Malaysia, after Mercedes once again proved their superiority in the opening race of the season.

World champion Lewis Hamilton led a Silver Arrows procession in Australia, with Nico Rosberg crossing the line close behind in second place.

The extreme heat of Malaysia will prove a stern test for every driver, with car construction and reliability under huge duress in the afternoon sun.

Hamilton has already experienced serious telemetry issues in his practice sessions, and if his Mercedes cannot go the distance, we might find a surprise winner of Sunday's race. 

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Here are the start times for the grand prix, including where you can catch the action and race preview:

Date: Sunday, Mar. 29

Time: 7 a.m. (BST)/2 a.m. (ET)/3 p.m. (Local) 

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TV Info: Sky Sports F1 (UK), NBCSN (US)

Malaysian F1 Grand Prix: Driver Line-Ups
TeamDriver 1Driver 2
MercedesLewis HamiltonNico Rosberg
Red BullDaniel RicciardoDaniil Kvyat
FerrariSebastian VettelKimi Raikkonen
LotusPastor MaldonadoRomain Grosjean
McLarenFernando AlonsoJenson Button
Force IndiaNico HulkenbergSergio Perez
SauberMarcus EricssonFelipe Nasr
Toro RossoMax VerstappenCarlos Sainz Jr
WilliamsValtteri BottasFelipe Massa
MarussiaWill StevensRoberto Merhi
Formula1.com

Mercedes' Opponents To Dent Silver Arrows Challenge

Thomas Lam/Associated Press

After the dominance of the German constructors in 2014-15, Mercedes will feel a sense of invincibility going into the new season.

The processional finish of Hamilton and Rosberg in Australia will only have fuelled their confidence going into Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, but practice has shown the race might be a tighter affair than expected.

Rosberg found himself only third fastest in P2, per Formula1.com, as Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari sped ahead of his time to prove the fresh pace of his Italian beast. 

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Hamilton was once again the alpha male of the pack, as the only driver dipping below the 1:40-mark, but the British driver suffered consistent engine problems, limiting him to just 16 laps on the track.

And the world champion highlighted how his lack of practice has "heavily compromised" his plans, despite proving he is still the fastest driver in the world, and talked up the improving performance of the Ferrari car, per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport:

Whenever you lose a session—and pretty much half of the second—it definitely doesn't help. But the team did a great job to rebuild the car and that was crucial.

...

The Ferraris look great. It's surprising to see how good their times are. We'll see whether that continues through the weekend. My lap wasn't spectacular. There are some improvements I can make with the balance and the settings but they were just all brought from the last race. I'm sure we will improve it a little bit.

I got a fairly decent lap but we haven't dialled the car in, changed the differential settings or changed the set-up at all. So there is definitely some work to do. My tyres seemed to be lasting quite well and hopefully it will be good this weekend.

Joshua Paul/Associated Press

Red Bull and Williams both joined Ferrari in promising Friday performances, but the eye was caught by Max Verstappen who took his Toro Rosso into eighth fastest in P2.

The Belgium-born 17-year-old—son of former Benetton F1 driver Jos Verstappen—has shown hints of flair and brilliance in his car, and clearly has a naturally bold approach to the sport.

Sky's F1 team described him as one of the best rookies in motor sport this season, speaking of his amazing speed for one so young:

Joshua Paul/Associated Press

If Hamilton can keep his car on the track, he is undoubtedly the overwhelming favourite to win in Malaysia. But he suffered similar reliability issues early in his challenge last season, and those same problems seem to have repeated themselves now.

Rosberg always looked very much second best to Lewis in the championship opener, but he will be looking for a stronger qualifying session than his second practice.

Ferrari could finally break the Hamilton-Rosberg podium axis on Sunday, especially if Sebastian Vettel can recover his world-championship form in his new car. 

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Raikkonen is always a danger on a flying lap, but if his car's performance can be replicated by Vettel, who finished third in Australia, then a surprise win might be on the cards if Hamilton retires. 

This is a race for Mercedes to lose, but that will not shred the hopes of their competitors, who are showing good signs of early season pace.

Daniil Kvyat was just half a second off Hamilton's top P2 pace, and he will feel he has a strong chance of a podium finish in his new Red Bull.

But the weather conditions will have a serious effect on the race, with temperatures soaring to tropical levels.

All of the teams are entering the realm of the unknown in terms of their reliability, but Malaysia will offer all a litmus test as to how the extreme conditions will hurt their cars in the coming months.