Australian Grand Prix: Rosberg cruises to victory as young guns steal the show

Podium (L to R) second placed Daniel Ricciardo, race winner Nico Rosberg, Andy Cowell (Mercedes) and third placed Kevin Magnussen

Podium (L to R) second placed Daniel Ricciardo, race winner Nico Rosberg, Andy Cowell (Mercedes) and third placed Kevin Magnussen

Note this report was published prior to Daniel Ricciardo’s  disqualificationfrom second place in the Australian Grand Prix – see report here>>>

It was a walk in the Albert Park for Nico Rosberg, after capitalising on the early retirement of pole winner and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, he proceeded to notch up an historic Australian Grand Prix win in the first race of the Formula 1 V6 turbo era and Round 1 of the 2014 World Championship, while behind him young guns Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen heralded their arrival in the big league with podium finishes.

Rosberg managed a great start from the second row, leading into Turn 1 and simply blasting into the lead as pre-race favourite Hamilton struggled off the line, and got swamped by the pack. By lap three he was out of the race.

Up ahead Rosberg proceeded to edge away, and even an early race Safety Car period failed to give the others a chance. As he crossed the finish line he bellowed over the radio: “Fantastic boys. What a car you have given me, what a car!”

Australian Grand Prix race winner Nico Rosberg

Australian Grand Prix race winner Nico Rosberg

On the podium Rosberg added,  “It has been an amazing time in Melbourne. The support has been fantastic, Daniel got more support than me, but that’s normal. It has been an amazing day. Everyone has worked so hard over the weather and to have such an amazing Silver Arrow is unbelievable. The reliability was good and it’s the perfect start to the season.”

Mercedes lived up to their pre-race favourites tag afforded them by all and sundry, thus the big story was behind Rosberg where Ricciardo in his first race for Red Bull, finished second, scoring his first podium in Formula 1 and that it happened on home soil was a double bonus for the big smiling Aussie who drove a controlled race.

“Just two or three weeks ago, I would not have bet we would be standing up here but full credit to team for an unbelievable turn around. And thanks to the Aussie fans. The support has been completely overwhelming,” declared Ricciardo.

Nico Rosberg led the 2014 Australian Grand Prix from start to finish

Nico Rosberg led the 2014 Australian Grand Prix from start to finish

Two seconds behind the Red Bull, Magnussen became the first Dane to finish on a Formula 1 podium, remarkably taking third in his debut grand prix and leading home his veteran McLaren teammate Jenson Button who finished fourth after starting tenth, ensuring that McLaren leave Australia top of the constructor’s points.

Magnussen’s mature drive belied his experience, he even had a look at Ricciardo late on in the race, before containing his second place ambitions and settling for a solid third place.

“It’s hard to believe and it seems so surreal. The car was so much better than it has been and I had just exactly what we needed for the whole race. The preparation we have done have been fantastic. I have never had a Formula 1 race and you only get limited time for testing, so congratulations to the team for doing such a good job,” said Magnussen afterwards.

Kamui Kobayashi slams into the back of Felipe Massa on lap one in Turn 1

Kamui Kobayashi slams into the back of Felipe Massa on lap one in Turn 1

After the dust settled it would be fair to say that the season-opener was hardly a thriller, but then this was the first race of a new era with far too little testing allowed for such a complex new formula and new technology. The prophets of doom who had predicted no finishers, or Mercedes lapping the field by two laps were way off the mark.

Nevertheless, right from the start there was action as Kamui Kobayashi blotted his return to the pinnacle of motorsport with a charge into Turn 1 which saw him plough into the back of Felipe Massa’s Williams – their races over almost before it began. Credit for the Japanese driver for accepting the blame, albeit cryptically, on Twitter:  “Sorry to Felipe but was not my mistake.”

Needless to say Massa was not happy, “It’s a shame. He can’t start like that and every time he does it will be the same outcome. I did a very safe start but if someone hits you, you can’t do anything about that. It’s not a big difference from what [Kobayashi] did to what [Romain] Grosjean did at Spa and he sat out one race for that.”

Grosjean got a one race ban for his Spa shenanigans in 2012.

Esteban Gutierrez  spins shortly after the start

Esteban Gutierrez spins shortly after the start

On lap three Hamilton pitted for good, after being told to bring it in and retire. The Briton did an extra lap but to no avail, “We knew reliability could be an issue but of course it surprises you when it happens, but it’s early stages and there’s a long way to go so I will remain positive and focus on the next race. You see people pulling away and I felt like I didn’t have power. I kept going as long as I could, but there was no point.”

Six laps into the race Sebastian Vettel’s weekend also came to a premature end as he too coasted into the pits. The world champion explained,  “On the second formation lap we lost power for some reason, we don’t know why. It’s going to be a long season. At the beginning I thought it was OK, but I didn’t get any power from the battery and the engine failed.”

If McLaren enjoyed a renaissance relative to last year, it was another disappointing start to the season for Ferrari. Clearly the F14T is not a challenger for race wins at this point, and yet again the Maranello outfit starts the season on the back foot, with a sub-standard race car which made two of the sport’s most experienced drivers look decidedly ordinary.

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen endured a lacklustre start to 2014

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen endured a lacklustre start to 2014

Fernando Alonso started fifth and finished fifth, apparently unable to mount much of an attack at any time, while Kimi Raikkonen turned 11th on the grid to eighth when the chequered flag dropped to end the race. For a team who have structured their driver line-up and hired some of the greatest minds in the sport with the sole objective to challenge for the titles, this was a poor start to that master plan.

Grand Prix 247 Man of the Match Award goes to Valtteri Bottas, who recovered after early on slamming the wall exiting Turn 10, which resulted in a cracked wheel rim and the tyre flying off. The Williams driver then drove slowly to the pits, changed rear wheel and proceeded to deliver a stirring drive on his way to sixth after rejoining the action in 16th. He received a boisterous ovation as he entered the Williams pit garage after the race.

Nico Hulkenberg at one stage was running as high up as fourth place, and mixing it comfortably with Alonso and the like. But the Force India VJM07 appeared to run out of steam and he eventually finished seventh, ahead of Raikkonen.

The start

The start

Toro Rosso will leave Melbourne pleased with their qualifying performance which saw both cars manage to make it through to Q3, and then 24 hours later both cars finishing in the points with Jean Eric Vergne and teenage rookie Daniil Kvyat finishing ninth and tenth respectively – another great debut on the day as the young Russian bagged a point in his first grand prix.

As expected neither Lotus finished, but at least Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado managed to do some laps, any of which will be of value for the beleaguered outfit.

Marcus Ericsson endured a disappointing grand prix debut, retiring on lap 28 and bringing to an end a torrid weekend for Caterham, perhaps the only glimmer of hope being that the Swedish rookie ran as high as 12th early on in the race.

It was an equally forgettable day for Marussia, which  badly before the race even got underway when both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton stalled their cars on the grid and were forced to start from the pitlane. Chilton survived to finish 14th, while Bianchi finished eight laps behind the winner in 15th.

The end

The end

Force India newcomer Sergio Perez had an inconspicuous debut for his new team, finishing 11th but he was completely overshadowed by teammate Hulkenberg, while Adrian Sutil also had a low key debut for Sauber on his way to 12th place. Teammate Esteban Gutierrez was 13th.

Thus ends the tale of the first round of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, and the beginning of the sport’s brave new era. Our verdict? Could have been much worse, but the foundation has been laid for what is going to be a cracking season of Formula 1 racing. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

Australian Grand Prix, Race Result – Sunday, 16 March 2014

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 57 1:32:58.710 3 25
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 57 +24.5 secs 2 18
3 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 57 +26.7 secs 4 15
4 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 57 +30.0 secs 10 12
5 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 57 +35.2 secs 5 10
6 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 57 +47.6 secs 15 8
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 57 +50.7 secs 7 6
8 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 57 +57.6 secs 11 4
9 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 57 +60.4 secs 6 2
10 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 57 +63.5 secs 8 1
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 57 +85.9 secs 16
12 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 56 +1 Lap 13
13 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 56 +1 Lap 20
14 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 55 +2 Laps 17
Ret 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 49 +8 Laps 18
Ret 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 43 +14 Laps 22
Ret 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 29 +28 Laps 21
Ret 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 27 +30 Laps 19
Ret 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 3 +54 Laps 12
Ret 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2 Engine 1
Ret 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 0 Accident 9
Ret 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 0 Accident 14

Fastest Lap: Nico Rosberg 1:32.478

Note – Bottas qualified P10, drops 5 (gearbox change penalty); Gutierrez qualified P19, drops 5 (gearbox change penalty); Maldonado did not set Q3 time within 107%, started race at stewards’ discretion; Grosjean starts from pit lane (parc ferme changes)

  • Amos James

    Stoner… where are you?

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    i was about to page him… you beat me on it.

  • Tamburello1994

    Switching out one German in a trot for another. Good run for Rosberg / Mercedes.

    Thanks to Mags and Bottas for keeping me awake / interested.

  • Amos James

    It says there are 4 comments on this story, but I can only see 3. Gee, I hope he hasn’t blocked me…. :(

  • Amos James

    Magnussen was pretty good. Great to see a rookie do so well. Maybe McLaren was right to ditch checo for Kev.

  • Stoner

    I am here

  • Stoner

    so what do you say? Alonso was awesome ? finished where he started where everyone else in the race fought each other for places

  • Stoner

    and waiting for you comment

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    yeah, looks like Ferrari got the wrong Finn this time

  • Stoner

    “I hope he hasn’t blocked me…. :(”
    You are over hyping things

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    where are the alonso haters who said kimi would trash alonso in the season opener?

  • Stoner

    Alonso sat on his A** at 5th place

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    magnussen on his first race earning a podium, an experienced perez during his stint as a mclaren driver never got one as far as I remember… there’s the proof.

  • Stoner

    yeah alonslow sat on his A** at 5th place

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    just what I thought, find crappy reasons to support your statements

  • Stoner

    what crappy reason, just the truth that he finished where he started, no big deal

  • Stoner

    what do you think, he was amazing? best driver of the day? please find something interesting that alonso did today?

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    stoner… get your head right. what i mentioned was that those alonso haters saying he would be trashed by kimi on the first race. can’t you read correctly? you should try that one.

  • Stoner

    hmm.. Okay, so who said that ? A lot of alonso fan’s are asking the same question.
    BTW 5th place and 12th place on the grid are really big gap to start with.
    this tussle between alonso and Kimi fan’s(ME) will go on. lets see what the next couple of races show us

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    yet your the first one to respond to what I posted… anyway, im a huge kimi fan as well as an alonso fan so im not taking sides here, im just stating the truth about this race.

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    again, nobody mentioned that alonso was the best today. both ferrari drivers have issues today anyway.

  • Tamburello1994

    The cars are ugly, fragile, and they sound like crap. The gap is even wider now than before. Totally unimpressive so far – all the lipstick in the world can’t dress up this pig – as much as they are trying in the post race show.

  • Amos James

    They are desperately trying to work out why their man was nearly a second slower per lap than alonso.

  • Amos James

    Kimi was behind alonso after SC but went backwards…. scrapping with and being overtaken by toro rossos.

    Alonso was never overtaken on track other than first lap positioning…..

  • Amos James

    See above. Kimi was gifted 8th after hamilton, vettel and massa retired from in front of him. Would’ve been 9th if JEV hadn’t screwed up on the penultimate lap.

    Lock ups, a second per lap slower than Fernando. … scrapping with toro rossos…

    The Ferrari is a mid pack car that deserves to be 8th…

  • Amos James

    I wish O’Ferrari were here. He used to keep trolls like Stoner in line.

  • karlich

    Agree on the sound, but don’t think all of ‘em are ugly. I quite like
    the RB10 even if I compare it to its predecessors. Okay, so the others
    are quite ugly :) The gap? So we will see Merc’s dominate a few more
    races, possibly even the whole season, but that’s okay. The challenge is
    up to the other teams and engine suppliers to step up their game – same
    name of the game like any other season where RB largely dominated. I am
    just glad for RB having done well with and shown great potential of the
    chassis with Ricciardo. So all good if they keep within top 3 or 4.

    But yeah, still can’t make myself like the sound… utterly unspectacular, non awe inspiring droning with muted whistles! On the plus side, fun to watch drivers get caught out on the torque :)

  • Resultant Asteroid

    The sounds are much worse that I thought, and they kept feeding us nonsense that the difference will be unnoticed :-S
    I can put up with the ugly designs (hoping they will evolve anyway), but not with the sounds … the SC sounds much more lively than the F1 cars now.
    Maybe they are trying to ease us into the Formula-E era :-P

  • karlich

    no idea, but they both looked like muppets in those Oakley shades. Ferrari looked like muppets with or without shades as they go in to yet another season with a rather unimpressive car.

  • karlich

    Bit harsh on Kamui I think. From what I’ve gathered on TV coverage, he took the blame even though it was said his break by wire failed and he only had front brakes. Hardly surprising then. I wouldn’t group him in the “brainless” category as say… well I need not mention who ;-)

  • Stoner

    say it like that, don’t blindly hate kimi

  • Resultant Asteroid

    I agree with you on the “same name of the game” point. It’s definitely worth a praise that RB were mixing it up with the much more powerful Merc-powered cars on the top, and in a dry race.
    On a side note, the race proved the “facts” we already concluded yesterday: there was/is a problem with Vettel’s car … end of story :-)

  • Stoner

    neither did he try to over take some one

  • Stoner

    racing is all about over taking others around and being over taken , it part of the game, not just stay where you are and not even give a try

  • Stoner

    Don’t talk about If’s and but’s here. if you think like that then Kimi should be a 3 time world champ(2003, 2005) if not for the tons of mechanical failures and cheaters like alonso can get more by CRASHGATE, SPYGATE, MASS DAMPER, MIND GAMES, DIRTY POLITICS, FAKE SAMURAI… and what not.

  • karlich

    Yeah, not worried about Vettel now that there’s potential in the car and they’re practically good for runner up behind Mercedes. Seb will rebound easily, but good on Dani – that should boost his confidence and hopefully carry through all season for consistent top scores!

    I actually do look forward A LOT to the next races and whole season, despite the miserable soundtrack.

  • Stoner

    TROLL?? LOOKS Who’s Talking

  • ck

    I wish Renault would build better KERS units so that unnecessary incidents like Kobayashi’s don’t happen again

  • Stoner

    The Wheel nut guns are louder that the new crap sounding engines. If not for the sound and looks. damn, feeling nostalgic about the screaming old engines. people at the circuit does not even need ear plugs..

  • Amos James

    Is that the best u can think of? Did kimi overtake? Or did people fall off the road in front of him?

    Yeah, I’m sure Alfonso is fuming about how awesome kimi was, today. Some great racing at the back end of the top ten…. a second a lap slower than Ferrari in fifth.

    Oh…alonso did overtake during the race, beautiful move…. no locking up or spearing off the track…

  • Amos James

    Bahahahahahaha the butthurt is so strong with u.

    You’re the only one talking ifs and buts.

    Raikonnen slow, off the pace, running off the road, making mistakes, lucky to finish in the points.

    Yep…. drive of the day. Alonso must be soooooo jealous

  • Stoner

    “did people fall off the road in front of him?”

    ROFL
    from where do you come up with this kind of stuff?
    What are you smoking?
    LOL

  • Resultant Asteroid

    Agreed, though my guess is Williams are very serious contenders for second place right now (yet to be confirmed ofcourse). The “same name of the game” that you mentioned earlier is the key factor here: which teams will be able to close the 1 sec gap?
    1 sec is big but … achievable with smart planning and hard work (definately easier than the 2+ sec gap that Brawn had in 2009). We already have a backlog that can tell us which teams usually evolve their cars well during the season and which just … justify their paychecks, but with many key resources jumping teams after Interlagos last year, this “snapshot” we have must be revisited/updated, out of fairness ;-)
    Thus I totally agree with you, this season is going to be very interesting.

  • Stoner

    did someone say that Kimi was awesome today, or are you trying to make up fake stuff like the fake samurai

  • Stoner

    alonso did overtake during the race, beautiful move

    and where did he finish?

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    i stated a fact from what happened where alonso despite what haters say about him finished ahead of kimi. i never intended to hate kimi because i dont. only fanboys cant accept reality, thats the point of it.

  • Stoner

    “Kimi was gifted 8th after hamilton, vettel and massa retired from in front of him.”
    “Would’ve been 9th if JEV hadn’t screwed up on the penultimate lap”

    EAT YOUR OWN WORD

  • Stoner

    looks like this guy doesn’t even know what he has been yapping all this while

  • Amos James

    You are. You are an anti alonso troll who mouthed off about the awesomeness of kimi and gleefully ridiculed anyone who dared suggest kimi wasn’t the messiah.

    Now kimi has his best chance if proving he is a true great. New car, new tech, new challenge. … and what happens? ?

    Slow, slow, crash.
    Slow slow, run off track, slow slow

    Now I admit the Ferrari is deserving of eighth and kimi did a solid job, but u only wish to troll and tell tall tales about how kimi did a.much better job than alonso.

    Hahahahahaahh

  • Amos James

    JEV ran off the road for him. Hamilton, Massa both retired from in front if him, too.

    Tell me… who did kimi overtake? I don’t mean in the pits or drove by after they ran off the track…

  • Amos James

    No ifs or buts…..

    Poor stoner can’t read. It must hurt u soooo bad.

  • karlich

    Yeah, unfortunate for Williams today. Even so, if Red Bull managed to progress this far from Bahrain, I wonder how much more they will progress come Malaysia. Of course, everyone else will have moved forward too, but looking at the Bulls’ pace of improvement right now, I hope it bodes well for them against all other teams bar Mercedes factory team.

  • Amos James

    LOL. .. oh this is sweet. Tell us more about how kimi wasted alonso. …

  • Stoner

    Yes i am kind off anti Alonso, for the bad character he is , Bought his seat into ferrari, literally followed where ever Kimi went to. sidelined Massa at ferrari using all his political power.
    I had nothing against Alonso until the un sporty behaviors of his started to come out in the media. I dont want to mentions all the controversies and scandals that he is involved in.
    I never said Kimi is a messiah or something.
    I will respond when trolls bad mouth about him. like you.
    I just enjoy the race and root for Kimi as my favorite driver.
    No politics no mind game no scandals no Bull&h!t, just pure racing.

  • Amos James

    Agreed. I think alonso is a devious so-and-so.

    I like hulkenberg

  • Stoner

    for a start.. THE RACE START ITSELF and the over takes in the first 5 laps

  • Stoner

    Hulkenberg is awesome, he managed to keep Alonso behind for almost the whole race

  • Amos James

    Alonso officially fourth, not fifth.

  • Stoner

    And he has done it before also

  • karlich

    Isn’t this whole internal struggle of who is better than who rather moot? Fezza have far greater issues to worry about. By the looks of it, on a good day, Williams should be ahead of them. Assuming both Red Bull’s and Merc’s finish without major disasters like today, that leaves Ferrari in the midfield – a place where both Nando and Kimi probably won’t care who finishes 9th or 10th. I am sure they have more potential in the F14T and today they also didn’t run without issues, but one thing is certain, they weren’t sandbagging in testing, they haven’t progress much since and they’re truly disappointingly far away from where they hoped to be and most Tifosi hyped them to be.

  • Amos James

    Agreed.

  • Amos James

    No, not quite. .. hamilton, massa and spins…. I mean actual on-track overtakes.

    Please try again. I’m watching replay again to see if u can salvage a scrap of dignity or if u are sticking to fan fiction

  • Amos James

    Such a shame to see ricciardo disqualified

  • RBC

    McLaren are CLEAR number 2, not Williams. Ferrari #3 and Toro Rosso #4. Williams #5.

  • RBC

    Brianne was talking about driving talent, not sunglasses.

  • Amos James

    Prob Williams #2

  • RBC

    I’m with you. Alonso dominated as the Alonso haters said would not happen. Good point.

  • RBC

    When you screw up qualifying then it is easy to overtake people as your car is faster in the race. So Kimi screwed up then he fixed it in the race. Alonso didn’t screw up qualifying or the race.

  • RBC

    I’m with you. Stoner thinks Kimi is a champion as he put himself in 13th place or whatever, then made up places. From 5th it is a lot harder to make up places. He is dreaming.

    On his basis Dan Ricciardo is crap for staring and finishing in 2nd but someone who started in 20th and finished in 15th is a star. He is an idiot.

  • karlich

    They were all pretty close if we ignore Rosberg (and prolly would have been Hamilton too). But where in this ranking do you place Red Bull then?

    From today’s performance in dry conditions, on a track that historically doesn’t suit the RB, I couldn’t see any of those #2, #3, #4 and #5 teams launch a serious attack in Ricciardo’s RB10 which looked pretty composed to me.

  • RBC

    smoke some more you stoner…

  • RBC

    McLaren qualified better and got P3 and P4 in the race. Don’t know what race you saw. They were #2. RBR should be #3 I screwed that up. Anyway sleep time.

  • karlich

    Bummer… I didn’t even catch that news :(

  • Stoner

    Stoner thinks Kimi is a good and naturally talented driver who does not need to play politics to be good at racing

  • Amos James

    Wet qualifying jumbles things. Tho mclaren and Williams good race pace… hard to split

  • http://bryanvcpalacio.weebly.com brianne

    i agree, kimi is a good and naturally a talented driver. but he is also known to be unpredictable and naturally gets bored whenever the car doesnt suit him. you give him a fast car and he will deliver no matter what (mclaren 2005, ferrari 2007), give him a slow car like what ferrari has at the Aussie GP and he will drive it without any interest. thats kimi and yes, ive watched him ever since he was a rookie and im a big fan of a kimi raikonnen in a fast car.