NEWS FEATURE (dpa German Press Agency)

Mercedes were given a jolt by Ferrari at the Malaysian Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel left Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg trailing. The Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday is an opportunity for the team to show it has been doing its homework.

Shanghai (dpa) – Mercedes are keen to restore the Formula One pecking order after defeat in Malaysia to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel when the teams take to the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Grand Prix.

“We will hit back. It’s not something we want to accept,” Nico Rosberg said of Ferrari’s win at Sepang.

The first Scuderia triumph in 34 races has been described as “a wake-up call” by Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff after Mercedes began the season in Australia with a one-two from world champion Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg.

In Sepang, it was Vettel drinking the champagne, with Hamilton and Rosberg second and third respectively.

“This is something you cannot afford to happen often and, although we had two cars on the podium, we have been looking very carefully at every area where we could have performed better,” Wolff said.

Mercedes might have to take “unpopular decisions” – which could perhaps even mean imposing team orders to their drivers – after Vettel won in Sepang with a two-stop pit-stop strategy, one fewer than both Hamilton and Rosberg.

“Our opposition has raised its game and we must now raise ours even further,” Wolff said.

“As we have said since Melbourne, we expect a season-long battle for both world championships (drivers’ and constructors’) and we must maximise every opportunity.

“China is the next chance to do that – a circuit which has been a good hunting ground for the team. Lewis has a great record here and for Nico, it’s where he made his first step into the winners circle. We have the weapons at our disposal – and we need to make the most of them this weekend.”

Mercedes technical director Paddy Loewe said the team has some new aerodynamic developments for Shanghai, with China presenting a different challenge to Malaysia.

“The most significant weakness was our tyre management during long runs,” he said.

“Exceptionally high track temperatures – even by Malaysian standards – contributed to this, however it is essential to have a car which performs at all circuits and in all conditions, so there is work to be done on that front.”

Hamilton, who leads the standings on 43 points after two races, with Vettel on 40 and Rosberg on 33, says Ferrari are clearly a threat, but he is optimistic of a good result in Shanghai.

“The circuit itself is a different challenge to Albert Park (in Melbourne) and Sepang – but it’s one I really enjoy and it suits my driving style quite well,” he said.

“I won the race last year and have only finished outside of the podium places twice, so the target is definitely to build on that and get back to the front.”

Ferrari meanwhile won’t be getting carried away by Vettel’s win and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s fourth-place finish following an early puncture.

“The next race will be completely different. Mercedes continues to have the pace,” four-time world champion Vettel said after his Malaysia triumph.

McLaren are also hoping for an improvement after a torrid time this year.

Both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button retired in Sepang, while Button was last in Australia and Kevin Magnussen – racing in Melbourne for the injured Alonso – failed to start because of a technical problem.

“It’s a pity we didn’t finish the race in Malaysia. We’d made solid progress up until that point in the weekend, and it would have been a fantastic boost to get a car home in amongst some of the cars in the midfield pack,” Button said.

“Still, it’s a target to aim for in China, and I hope we can build upon our pace and performance in Malaysia.”

Alonso said the team had taken “extremely impressive” steps between Australia and Malaysia

“It was a great feeling to be able to mix it with other cars and drivers, and I hope we can do more of the same in China this weekend,” he added.