SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Mercedes will be looking to reassert their Formula One dominance at the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend after they received the loudest of wake-up calls in Malaysia by Sebastian Vettel's revitalised Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two ahead of Nico Rosberg in the season-opener in Melbourne last month, which left the rest of the field trailing and fans fearing the worst.
Another procession was expected in Malaysia but Vettel and Ferrari had other ideas with both winning a race for the first time since 2013, thanks to a car that was much kinder on the tyres in the sweltering heat and a tactical masterclass from race engineers.
Mercedes are now fully aware they have a title fight on their hands from a team who stumbled from one crisis to another in a winless 2014 campaign.
"We left Malaysia with plenty to think about. It may have been a good result for the sport... but for us, it was a wake-up call," Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said.
"Our opposition has raised its game and we must now raise ours even further. As we have said since Melbourne, we expect a season-long battle for both world championships and we must maximise every opportunity," he added.
"China is the next chance to do that... a circuit which has been a good hunting ground for the team."
Hamilton beat Rosberg to the chequered flag in Shanghai a year ago and while recent trends make Mercedes favourites at the circuit, Ferrari won the race in 2013 and will be keen to prevent the Briton from registering a record-extending fourth win in China.