Rosberg storms to Australia victory

By on Sunday, March 16, 2014
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Nico Rosberg won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after pole sitter Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire.

Rosberg took the lead at the start and was never headed while Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen took sensational podiums.

UPDATE: Daniel Ricciardo disqualified from Australian Grand Prix

Max Chilton failed to get away for the formation lap and team-mate Jules Bianchi stalled at the start, forcing the start to be delayed as an extra formation lap was required.

Once the action got underway it was Rosberg who snatched the lead while Magnussen's lurid McLaren was narrowly avoided by Fernando Alonso. Kamui Kobayashi misjudged the start and hit Felipe Massa, causing both drivers to retire. A furious Massa compared Kobayashi's actions to those of Romain Grosjean at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix.

Problems soon struck other drivers. Esteban Gutierrez spun at turn three while Mercedes retired Hamilton in order to save his engine after the team discovered a misfiring cylinder. Sebastian Vettel also retired early on due to problems with his Red Bull RB10. The German had no power from the outset and soon pulled into the pits, ending his winning streak which extended back to July last year.

The safety car was deployed on lap 12 after the Williams of Valtteri Bottas hit the wall. The Finn had made progress from 15th on the grid and was hounding Alonso for fifth when he clipped the wall on the exit of turn nine. He was able to pit for repairs, but debris from Bottas's tyre required proceedings to be neutralised.

Most of the field took advantage of the safety car period and pitted for fresh tyres. Rosberg continued to lead from Ricciardo, with Magnussen running a few seconds further back in third. Nico Hulkenberg lead a train of cars which included Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Jean-Eric Vergne and Kimi Raikkonen.

Bottas began fighting back through the field as he passed the Marussia and Lotus drivers in quick succession and also dispensed with Kvyat. Marcus Ericsson made it to the halfway point on his Formula 1 debut but retired due to an oil pressure problem. Pastor Maldonado lasted far longer than practice form suggested but he pulled off the track on lap 32 with an MGU-H problem.

Button opted to stop earlier than his rivals and made the undercut, jumping Hulkenberg and Vergne, who pitted a lap later. Alonso stayed out longer to jump Hulkenberg but he also lost out to Button. Raikkonen locked up and went off track, allowing compatriot Bottas to gain track position. The top three pitted for a second time without changes to the race order.

The second Lotus of Grosjean retired with 10 laps remaining after running outside of the points throughout the race. Bottas's fightback continued as he pounced on a mistake by Vergne to move up to seventh.

Magnussen began to close the gap to Ricciardo as the laps counted down while Bottas made the move on Hulkenberg for sixth. Vergne ran wide which allowed Raikkonen through to eighth.

Sergio Perez finished outside of the points for Force India after an early puncture, while the Sauber duo of Adrian Sutil and Gutierrez didn't trouble the points and finished a lap down, ahead of Chilton.

In the end it was Rosberg who controlled proceedings as he opened his 2014 season with a fine victory, ahead of first time podium finishers Ricciardo and Magnussen.

Button was fourth, ahead of Alonso, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Vergne and Kvyat.

16Nico RosbergMercedes58Winner325
DSQ3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault58+24.5 secs2
220Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes58+26.7 secs418
322Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes58+30.0 secs1015
414Fernando AlonsoFerrari58+35.2 secs512
577Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes58+47.6 secs1510
627Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes58+50.7 secs78
77Kimi RäikkönenFerrari58+57.6 secs116
825Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault58+60.4 secs64
926Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault58+63.5 secs82
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes58+85.9 secs161
1199Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari57+1 Lap13
1221Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari+1 Lap20
134Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari+2 Laps17
NC17Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari+8 Laps18
Ret8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault+14 Laps22
Ret13Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault+28 Laps21
Ret9Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault+30 Laps19
Ret1Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault+54 Laps12
Ret44Lewis HamiltonMercedes+55 Laps1
Ret19Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes+57 Laps9
Ret10Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault+57 Laps14

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