Coming up on Sky Sports F1
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April/May on Sky Sports F1
April sees the F1 calendar's third and fourth races, in China and Bahrain respectively. The opening race in Australia saw Hamilton predictably cruise to victory in the seemingly unstoppable Mercedes W06 2015 car. However, Sepang brought a shock as Vettel ended Ferrari's 15-month wait for a first place finish, an event unmistakably marked by the return of Seb's trademark exuberant radio celebrations.
Those who expected Rosberg and Hamilton to dominate the season from the start will have been surprised by Ferrari's almost immediate capacity to challenge, although Mercedes' mismanagement of tyres clearly played a part.
In China, Hamilton was looking repeat last year's performance, where he flew past the chequered flag almost 19 seconds before his second-placed teammate. This year's race saw more in-team controversy, as Rosberg claimed his teammate deliberately put his race at risk.
Bahrain follows this weekend, on April 19th. Last year was a closer affair than China, as Rosberg pipped Hamilton to victory by 1.085 seconds, while both obliterated the opposition. Expect their rivalry to remain fierce and continue to be a focal point of the 2015 season.
The calendar features two races in May; first the drivers will contest the Spanish Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports on the 10th, followed two weeks later by the famous Monaco Grand Prix. In 2014 Hamilton won in Spain, pipping Rosberg once again, with Mercedes continuing to dominate. Monaco saw Rosberg win, with Hamilton a close second, and Red Bull's Ricciardo landing the third podium place.
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Teams & Drivers
Mercedes enjoyed a frighteningly dominant season in 2014, winning the Constructor's Championship by a massive 296 points. The team has understandably kept the same drivers, after Hamilton won his second World Championship, and Rosberg finished second overall. Their spikey rivalry is great for the fans, but certainly something team principals Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe will be keeping an eye on.
So ridiculously dominant during Vettel's four World Championship wins from 2010 to 2013, it was a shock to the system to see Red Bull so far off the pace in 2014. Nonetheless there was a great deal of promise shown by Daniel Ricciardo, and he's the lead driver this year. Vettel's replacement is Daniil Kvyat, promoted from Toro Rosso and a driver of obvious potential, and only 20 years old.
Ferrari's long-term underperformance has been tackled via the acquisition of Sebastian Vettel, and it's a move that the team has needed. Vettel is ideally suited; he's a star name, has already won the Championship four times and he has made no secret of his love of the Scuderia. Fans of F1 will also be well aware of the Italian team's previous successes with a German driver. He'll be seen as the main man, but teammate and former champ Kimi Raikkonen will have plenty to say on the matter.
2014 was notable for Williams enjoying a third-place finish in the Constructor's Championship, and with the vast experience of Massa alongside the impressive talent of Bottas, Williams can look confidently ahead to a string season. Bottas himself managed fourth last year, and will certainly be a constant threat to rival teams.
McLaren will no doubt prefer to forget about 2014, as British former World Champion Button and teammate Kevin Magnussen struggled for results. After some confusion regarding which helmet would roll, Magnussen was eventually demoted to test/reserve driver, with Fernando Alonso returning to the team he joined as two-time World Champion in 2007. A significant improvement will be needed, and Alonso's exceptional skill will be an invaluable asset.
Force India will be represented by Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg once again; Mexican Perez is a driver yet to fulfil his potential, whilst Hulkenberg will be looking to finally get on the podium for the first time since he began his F1 career in 2010.
The Red Bull feeder team has lost Daniil Kvyat, and this year's car will be raced by 17-year old Max Verstappen, son of Jos, and Carlos Sainz Jr. Max is certainly one to look out for, racing at such a young age but deserving his place on the team after some impressive drives in 2014.
The British team retains the services of Pastor Maldonado, a driver who is arguably as well-known for his reprimands as anything else. He will again drive alongside Romain Grosjean, a driver who could now be considered an F1 veteran, with a number of podiums to his name, but one who continues to wait for a first-place finish.
Sauber's 2014 was extremely poor, failing to yield a single point and littered with retirements. Both cars were out before the end on four occasions, and the only positive to take would be that 2015 cannot be worse. The team has signed up an unproven pair in Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, a gamble probably worth taking as it freed up money to spend on the car.
Expect Manor Marussia to be at the back a lot this season, but the team will no doubt be relieved that they can at least take part, after uncertainty clouded their future post-season. Brit driver Will Stevens is joined by Spaniard Roberto Merhi, and both will be gaining great experience after previously testing for Caterham.
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In-depth analysis & expert punditry
Sky Sports' dedicated F1 channel also has some of the motor sport's most famous names offering opinion and analysis, giving you more insight before and after each race. Martin Brundle's renowned grid walk is the perfect way to warm up for each race, and during each race you'll hear the latest from the pit lanes.
Sky Sports F1 will also ensure you can catch the chaos of qualifying, as well as exclusive interviews with drivers and team principals.
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