As we all know, the opening race was a bit topsy turvy and its difficult to draw a definitive pecking order, but Mercedes showed an encouraging performance. In the dry Q3, Hamilton out-qualified the ferrari’s by 0.5 secs and ended 0.6 behing the pole sitter in P3. Given Hamilton done two laps on those supersofts in Q3 as opposed to everyone else’s one lap, the gap could have been a bit closer, nevertheless, the Mercs seems up there in quali in Hamilton’s hands anayway.
Mercedes had a very solid race with Hamilton but were a bit unfortunate Rosberg had his failure. As Ross Brawn has confirmed, Hamilton was initially on a 2 stopper thus preserving his tyres and pacing himself accordingly, but once they realised their tyres weren’t up to the job, they switched back to a 3 stopper, so Mercs didnt really maximise their result given the switch in strategies. Their initial planned 2 stopper explains why they were so slow in the opeing couple of laps compared to the RB and Ferraris (plus Hamiltons laps had done 2 flyers in Q3 opposed to others solitary lap).
In conlusion, i think Mercs tyre wear is at the same level as that of Ferrari and Red Bull with only Lotus clear step ahead in tyre usuage, i expect them to be challenging for a podium in Malaysia. Also i think the pecking order in Qualifying is: RB,Mercs,Ferrari,Lotus…, race trim: Lotus,Ferrari,RB,Mercedes