Although Lewis Hamilton qualified on pole and finished second in Malaysia, there can be no doubt Formula 1's farewell race at Sepang was one of Mercedes' most difficult of the season so far.
For the first time, it looked as though Ferrari had stolen a definitive march in F1's frenetic aerodynamic upgrade war. That Hamilton reverted to an older specification to limit the damage, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas endured his least competitive grand prix of the year running the new parts, indicated how many questions Malaysia raised for Mercedes.
Conversely, Ferrari's updates worked fine. The Scuderia had the fastest car in Malaysia. It could and should have won the race relatively comfortably. But a freak engine failure on both cars turned Ferrari's weekend into a nightmare, and made Mercedes look much better than it was in reality.