Rosberg dominates Australian Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg claimed the first win of the season for Mercedes. The German dominated Australian Grand Prix after a brilliant start from the second row of the grid, taking the lead ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull as polisitter Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire after three laps due to a misfiring cylinder which had cost engine power.
McLaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen clinched an impressive podium. The Dane eventually gained the second place as the stewards decided to exclude Ricciardo because his car was not in compliance with article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula 1 technical tegulations. Under that article, cars are limited to a fuel flow rate of 100kg/hour, as measured by an FIA-homologated sensor on the car. Following the decision, Red Bull notified the FIA of its intention to appeal.
Rosberg led every lap of the race to win by 24 seconds at the chequered flag. He made two pit stops on laps 12 and 38, running a tyre strategy of option/option/prime, and set the fastest lap on lap 19. Jenson Button ended third. Briton took full advantage of the safety car on lap 11, when Valtteri Bottas hit the wall at the exit of Turn 10. Jenson’s pitstop was incredibly well timed, allowing him to duck in to the pitlane at the last moment on lap 11 to make his first stop (3.10s). He capitalised on the situation to emerge sixth. After the second stop on lap 32 Button passed Fernando Alonso and finished fourth.
Ferrari leaves Melbourne with 18 points in the bag as Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, but with a clear sign there is plenty of work to do in the ten days before the Malaysian Grand Prix. Electrical glitches on both F14 T and some tyre graining problems for Raikkonen meant the Italian team was unable to show its true performance level in the first race of the season.
Sahara Force India enjoyed a positive start as Nico Hulkenberg scored the sixth place using soft/soft/medium tyres. Both the Toro Rosso ended in the top 10, with Jean-Eric Vergne eighth ahead of Daniil Kvyat who managed to earn two poins at his debut. The other Force India of Sergio Perez finished 10th after a very difficult race; on lap one Mexican was hit by the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez and suffered a puncture that dropped him to the back of the pack.
An other accident at the start of the race involved Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi and the Williams of innocent Felipe Massa. Japanese driver accepted responsibility for the incident. World Champion Sebastian Vettel complained on the grid formation lap that his Red Bull was down on power and retired after five laps.
That was an incredible day for us. – said Rosberg – To start the season with a win is unbelievable and I have to say a big thank you to everybody who was involved in building our car over the winter. I always dreamed of having such a strong Silver Arrow and now it seems we are there. In the race, everything went perfectly for me. My start was great and I was able to push from there until the end, with our fuel consumption well under control. However, despite our success today, we also know that there is still some work to do. We saw over the weekend that reliability is still a concern and it prevented us from having a strong two-car finish. We have two weeks to improve that. I am very much looking forward to Malaysia and I would love to race again tomorrow!
AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX
1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes F1 W05 – 1h32:58.710 – 57 laps
2. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes MP4-29 – 1h33:25.487 +26.777
3. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes MP4-29 – 1h33:28.737 +30.027
4. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari F14 T – 1h33:33.994 +35.284
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes FW36 – 1h33:46.349 +47.639
6. Nico Hulkenberg – Sahara Force India-Mercedes VJM07 – 1h33:49.428 +50.718
7. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari F14 T – 1h33:56.385 +57.675
8. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault STR9 – 1h33:59.351 +1:00.441
9. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault STR9 – 1h34:02.295 +1:03.585
10. Sergio Perez – Sahara Force India-Mercedes VJM07 – 1h34:24.626 +1:25.916
11. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari C33 – 1h33:06.851 +1 lap
12. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari C33 – 1h33:12.956 +1 lap
13. Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari MR03 – 1h33:21.069 +2 laps
Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari MR03 – 1h34:32.241 +8 laps
Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault E22 – 1h12:24.165 + 14 laps
Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault E22 – 50:16.969 +28 laps
Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault CT05 – 47:15.386 +30 laps
Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault RB10 – 5:42.384 +54 laps
Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes F1 W05 – 3:26.415 +55 laps
Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham-Renault CT05
Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes FW36
Daniel Riccardo – Red Bull-Renault RB10 – excl.