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Rosberg Cruises To Victory in Australia, as Ricciardo and Magnussen finish on the podium
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Posted By:   |  16 Mar 2014   |  9:34 am GMT  |  512 comments

Nico Rosberg justified Mercedes’ billing as 2014 Formula One favourites by producing a faultless drive to claim victory in the Australian Grand Prix, the German finishing some 24 seconds ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen, both of whom claimed their first podium finish.

The fourth win of Rosberg’s career came on a day when only his team-mate could have offered a challenge. However, for pole sitter Lewis Hamilton the chance of battling with Rosberg for the top step never materialised. At the start, the second following Jules Bianchi’s failure to get away, Rosberg shot into the lead while Hamilton bogged down and lost places to the other podium finishers. The problem was due to a broken cylinder, an issue that saw the Briton retire after just three laps.

If this was a disappointment for Mercedes, the pace and dominance of Rosberg’s car will be a consolation. He was significantly after than any other car out there and the winning margin of 24 seconds over Daniel Ricciardo could have been a lot more had the German not backed off and managed his pace for the final 20 or so laps. When he pushed, for example to re-establish his lead after the safety car, we saw lap times over a second a lap faster than his pursuers.

“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,” said Rosberg. “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.”

Ricciardo and Magnussen were elected to finish on the podium for the first time in their F1 careers; Ricciardo after 51 starts and Magnussen on his debut. Ricciardo was however called before the stewards on a fuel flow matter after the race.

It was a disappointing race for defending champion Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver was off the pace in qualifying with software issues and he also suffered a deficit of power in the race. He struggled on until lap five before pulling into the pits to retire.

Out on track Rosberg was able easily to establish a 10-second lead in the opening stint, pitting on the 12th lap due to a Safety Car and then opening up a 15-second lead during his second stint. From there it was straightforward. Rosberg continued to draw away from Ricciardo and crossed the line with 24 seconds in hand over the local hero.

The battle for second came in the final stint, when Magnussen closed in on Ricciardo and threatened to improve on an already stellar drive. He couldn’t find a way past the dogged Aussie, however, and had to be content with matching Hamilton’s 2007 feat of finishing third on his debut. The young Dane has looked comfortable and confident so far and today he was able to lap on a par with three-time Australian GP-winning team-mate Jenson Button, who made use of an early second stop to under-cut Fernando Alonso and take fourth place, a finish that gives McLaren the early lead in the Constructors’ Championship.

In the closing laps Magnussen was unable to pass home-favourite Ricciardo, Red Bull’s latest recruit also giving a fine display of the young talent in Formula One. He had a relatively quiet race, although showing that Red Bull are by no means out of this championship.

Behind Button, Fernando Alonso was able to pass Nico Hulkenberg after being held up for a frustrating 30 laps and brought home some solid points on a quiet day for Ferrari. His team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, finished in eighth place, behind Valtteri Bottas and Hulkenberg.

Bottas and Williams have shown strong dry weather pace in testing but could not replicate this in Saturday’s wet qualifying session. With race conditions dry, the FW36 looked to be the second quickest car on track, Bottas making his way up to sixth place before tapping the wall, causing a puncture and consequently bringing out the Safety Car for debris on the circuit.

After dropping down to 15th place, Bottas benefitted from the safety car he had caused bunching up the field. He powered back through the pack to sixth place, giving Williams more points than they achieved in all of 2013. It was a less enjoyable day for Felipe Massa, however. He was dumped out of the race in turn one when Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi braked too late and smashed into the back of Massa’s FW36.

The top ten was completed by the Toro Rosso pairing of Jean-Eric Vergne and 19 year old rookie Daniil Kvyat, who becomes the youngest points scorer in F1 history.

There were some signs of an improvement in fortunes for Lotus as Pastor Maldonado moved up to eleventh place in the opening phase and knocked on the door of the points positions. But he soon retired on the side of the circuit with Romain Grosjean following suit later in the race.


An accident at the start eliminated Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa, the Caterham slamming into the Williams into turn 1. Although Massa was furious, it emerged when the stewards looked into it that the Caterham had suffered a rear brake failure.

Look out for our UBS Race Strategy Report on Tuesday here on JA on F1, with many behind the scenes details on the strategy and why the race unfolded as it did

Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Race, 57 Laps
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h32m58.710s
2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +24.525s
3. Kevin Magnussen McLaren +26.777s
4. Jenson Button McLaren +30.027s
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +35.284s
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams +47.639s
7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +50.718s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +57.675s
9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +1m00.441s
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +1m03.585s
11. Sergio Perez Force India +1m25.916s
12. Adrian Sutil Sauber +1 lap
13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +1 lap
14. Max Chilton Marussia +2 laps
15. Jules Bianchi Marussia +8 laps*

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1

Boullier has really turned things around for McLaren! Well done.

2

A big congratulations to all the teams! After such massive rule changes they turn up at Albert Park and are fairly reliable, consistent in terms of speed (both between cars and compared to last year) and fuel-efficient (no big fuel-saving variations between teams). My big worry was that we’d see a repeat of Monaco last year because the teams would need to be so careful to try and score a good result. In fact at times we even heard drivers being encouraged to push – “hit the beeps!” – which was good to hear! Wasn’t edge-of-your-seat excitement but was interesting and intriguing. A good race on balance.

3

Both Ellison’s cars don’t perform. Lotus has not been finished because of Ellison departure to Ferrari. Ferrari has not been finished because of Allison late arrival to Ferrari, he just could not change bad design created during 2013.

4

This is so late I am sure nobody will read this, but here it goes.

Thought engines sounded appalling when watching on friday, but tried to assure myself that it had to be this way. By mid race on sunday I found I had forgotten all about it and was just enjoying the racing. New engines have so many positives, and only one real negative (albeit a pretty big one).

Main question to James or anyone.

Cars are limited to 15, 000 rpm. In practice it was mentioned that most cars would run at about 12, 000 for fuel saving purposes. As fuel isn’t an issue in qualifying, were the engines cranked up to 15? Was that as loud as they are going to sound?

5

The best thing by far was said by one of the TV pundits “Last year we had cars that couldn’t exceed the drivers skills, this year we have cars with more performance then the drivers can use at present”. Last year was point and squirt, this year drivers need more feel, more control. Seeing cars going sideways and drivers having to wrestle all that power is far more exciting and they haven’t even started the development race for real yet. Great to see the rookies have such a good first outing too. Only the first race but fingers crossed for more of the same to come 🙂

6

I actually thought that was an excellent GP and am impressed with the new regulations.

The start was exciting, though not an enormous amount happened throughout the remainder. Nonetheless, my attention was held all the way throughout, because: the cars are a lot more interesting to watch, far more twitchy, they look faster even if they are not; the overtaking levels were good, cars could overtake but it wasn’t easy; the fuel limit aspect I thought brought the right amount of intrigue at the end of the race.

Basically, this new formula has got potential. It now seems crazy that we were watching these cars on rails in previous years. Even if the aero guys will claw some of it back, ‘more power than grip’ is surely what a racing car should be. They look like beasts, and were especially exciting to watch in Q1 dry qualifying.

Personally I like the noise, especially the turbo whoosh. It may be that as a spectator it is not loud enough, but on tele it works. Also, I enjoy being able to hear the crowd and tyre squeals.

Finally, obviously very impressed with Ricciardo and Magnussen, as well as Torro Rosso and their drivers. Glad in a way Ham and Vettel didn’t finish, they will inevitably challenge for the championship so it just makes it more interesting in the long run.

At the next race I am expecting, and very much hoping, that Williams get a proper run of it to the podium. Their resurgence is my main point of interest at the moment.

7

The new regs have trashed the sport!

What a S T U P I D farce, slow cars that looked slow, sounded like the engine noise was canned, 10 seconds off the real F1 time for Melbourne at best. I let it go at v8’s but paid drivers are like having the richest kids in a country competing for Olympic gold-not the most fit and best suited.

Stop dumbing down the world so some theoretical nation of politically correct morons ‘feel normal’!

8

DODT – Bottas

9

I don’t understand the need to be pessimistic here. I just simply can’t understand. Shows that the Formula 1 fans are hard to please. Everyone will be cribbing about something or the other. I mean come on!! Compared to the Jerez test, the first grand prix of the season is a tremendous big step in the right direction.

These teams are super intelligent, it was just the matter of getting through the first race to learn what’s up with the new rules. 2 or 3 races into the season.. everyone’s gonna change their minds! Formula 1 is gonna be exciting always! However it may be!

10

Agree, this was just the first race with a lot of changes (that I think should come gradually, for example, new PU and just five for the year?), so I think this was more like a test race, but you now how hard is to pleased everybody especially the older ones (sorry about that but it’s true). For me it was a weird race, but most of the fans I think will get used to it and as always there will be some people wanting to go back in time because their era was better. I think there has been boring races during the whole F1 history.

11

good race. I feel bad for Grosjean as I think he deserved a good car this year but am sooooo happy to see Maldonado’s move to Lotus back fire (at least in this race). The lotus may have potential (as some say) but the Williams will be far ahead by the time Lotus get their act together. Maldonado really left a sour taste after his antics last year.

12

What a difference a year makes. Last year when Vettel won by 30 or more seconds many, many people posting on various blogs were posting of how boring F1 has become, but i’ve read very little about how boring it was when Rosberg totally dominated the race today. For me I simply miss the V8’s and the more traditional engines. These new ones are so high tech and so many electrical things are run off the engine, they are bound to have issues if everything isn’t perfect. If the upcoming races have this much attrition rate well I think that F1 is going to lose a lot of their fan base.

13

Thing I noticed about these 8 speed gearboxes, is there any point? They were taking former 2nd gear corners in 3rd / 4th gears. Where will they use 2nd? Monaco? 1st is a waste. Think it was one of the Williams I noticed getting into 8th and quite high in the revs, interesting to see if they will be bouncing on the limiter at faster tracks, Melbourne isn’t really a fast track and I didn’t see any of the other cars getting into top gear.

14

Saves $ – that is all

15

This makes me really sure I’m not being overcharged when filling up my car, if it’s so difficult to measure fuel flow accurately.

Next time maybe I’ll bring a gallon jug to the station and fill the car 1 gallon at a time.

16

I’ll say it now. Nico or Lewis for WDC. Nico set the fastest lap of the race on lap 19 (i think). He then managed pace to the end. The others didnt even get close to that time in the closing stages, when cars were even lighter!

As for the rookies/younger drivers, they seem to be learning and adapting better than some of the ‘oldies’. They seem more sharper and do not have to ‘unlearn’ previous styles/habits. They will be a force this year (those with competitive cars).

Seems like Ferrari are in trouble and rumours are that they may have gone a touch conservative with design. Definitely seem down on power. Alonso was close to Hulk onto the home straight but was left behind. Kimi was disappointing! Just hope he can get to grips with the car soon. Fear it may take a while though.

An observation and opinion on Vettel. I feel he is going to struggle with the new formula for a few races. Hes had such a brilliant car up until now and now having to drive a car which he cant just stamp on (throttle) the exits may be hurting him. Hats off to RBR/Renault for getting one car to the end and in a competitive fashion too. Albeit for the fuel infringement.

Ummmm. The starts! Theyre going to interesting this year with the torquey engines. Cant imagine one in the wet! Would be very tricky.

Finally, I want to see the ERS/DRS graphic again!! Thought they would have at least developed one. Maybe its not so simple with the new systems.

Onwards to Malaysia 🙂

17

@ Sufyaan

You are spot on mate

Ferrari have gone ultra conservative again this season, Race day performance in australia reflects this. Ferrari car were Abysmal and dismal. Not just that Ferrari were too slow and down on power. Alonso’s struggle to get past a force India for 30 laps clearly reflected the struggles.

what may take a while? Nothing? Ferrari can write off 2014 and can think about 2015. alonso clearly worried about the gap between Mercedes and Ferrari. It’s far to much too do any catch up

It’s a bit of relief for others, because rosberg could have drove much faster. He stated Mercedes have more pace left in the reserve.

Another year of disappointment looms for Fernando, I feel very sorry for a elite pilot like Alonso who have so much talent in abudance and yet Ferrari let him down year after year

18

You can’t judge Vettel being rain / yellow flag / breakdown impacted from the warmup lap. It is still 1:0 to Ricciardo tho.

19

My only concern for Lewis is,that usually he who wins the first race becomes world champion.I hope that does not happen because it will be a big blow for Hamilton to be beaten by his teammate.And finally can someone tell me if there was other drivers that had a dnf in the first race and went on to become champion.

20

It looked & sounded like an endurance race to me right up until the moment I fell asleep. First time I ever zzzzz’d an F1 race in my own timezone.

Disappointed in the new F1. It is as bad as the last 3 years (2011-2013).

21

Looks like WDC will be between Rosberg and Hamilton

22

No doubt

23

I won’t comment until “Gazboy” has imparted his oh so superior knowledge.

24

Great start by Ricciardo though. At least it shows that the Red Bull no 2 driver can get off the line!!

25

Both Lotus cars stopped at a spot where easy removal from the track was available. Yet in each case there seemed to be a lengthy full course yellow when a local would have sufficed. Cameras didn’t provide any viewing, was there something else going on with removing the cars?

26

Hamilton did not bog down, he simply did not have the power and torque to have a speedy getaway or indeed race pace. Getting bogged down implies incorrect clutch control which was not the case.

27

Well…The sound was quite good when all the cars were on the start line just before the race began.

Since the pitch produced by the V6s is lower than the V8s, it’s added a new dimension to the sport in the form’s of the crowd’s cheers. With Mercedes power units so strong and Massa with Williams, I can only imagine what a riot it’ll cause in Brazil which used to be marginally quieter than the V8 engines.

But today in Australia, a star has been born. Kevin Magnussen’s humilty and amazing performance in my eyes is the star of the future. If he keeps this up, Button’s days could be outnumbered especially with Ron Dennis at the helm.

On a parting note, all these rule changes and a German still finished ahead of an Australian (aside the disqualification)

28

Jenson is already packing his bags. Goodbye

29

Yes I suspect to get to Malaysia.

30
Zachary's Disease

Ricardo’s Red Bull disqualified? I’m sure Christian Horner will explain to F1 journalists how silly this fuel rate rule is and how flabbergasted he is at how Red Bull are not allowed to choose their own ‘optimal’ flow rate……..I would be offended on so many grounds if he didn’t. Mainly on the grounds of continuity….I love his interviews where he passionately defends Red Bulls right to “push the boundary with technology”…..and then blatantly ignore that very same “boundary” on any of the following grounds….

1) Adrian Newey is a genius and this rule is preventing him from showing that.

2) Safety….there is a real chance the car could catch fire and explode. If the FIA don’t let us continue to use our modified and highly illegal KERS unit to power the many illegal bits on sebs car, there is a real risk someone could die.

3) Play the victim…..it’s not the fact that we put holes in the undertray when the rule specifically states that there cannot be any holes that got other teams upset…..it’s that the other designers are jealousy of Adrian Newey! Cos they didn’t think to cheat in such an obvious way! Putting holes in the undertray is an easy way of getting a massive amount of performance.

Nuff said

31

Just when have you heard a team boss or any engineer in f1 call Seb’s car Illegal?? Show me an article in any paper or site that says one of the team bosses have complained that Sebs car was illegal. You may have a right to your opinion but you have no right to distort facts. Its like someone saying just because Mercedes is about 1 second faster than the rest of the field they are definitely cheating(which is not true). Mercedes clearly gained an unfair advantage last year by their secret test(isnt that cheating too) but only received a rap on their knuckles.

Its always the misguided fans that have no intellectual capacity to understand that F1 has always been about pushing the boundaries when it come to implementing the rules.

In fact most innovations in recent years have come from different teams and not just from Redbull Take the double diffuser of 2009 definitely not used by Redbull at first. Or the Fduct from Mclaren. Newey might have resurrected the blown diffuser but he dint invent it. The first blown diffuser was invented and raced in 1983. When subsequently the blown diffuser was banned, it was not Redbull but Mclaren that thought of a better solution of using the down washing of the exhaust gasses to feed the diffuser(wrongly called as Conada effect) In truth only Redbull and Sauber were the only team using the less efficent Coanda when they launch their cars. Eventually Redbull copied the Mclaren concept and developed it into 2013, while Mclaren squandered an opportunity to develop what was the fastest car of 2012 and instead develop a new car from scratch for 2013. Apart from that Lotus and Mclaren have been using FRIC(does that make their cars illegal???) How about all the teams pushing the boundaries on the low nose designs. Even though they arent in the spirit of the regulation all the noses are Legal. The Mclaren blocker suspension is another concept which might be termed illegal and might be contested by the other teams but once it is deemed to be legal by the FIA all other teams will copy it. I am pretty sure even before a protest is launched other teams are developing their own version even if they are the ones contesting it.

So your point of Redbull cheating is void and at best an attempt to sully the hard work put in by the Redbull team in getting to the top. Every team that is successful has some disillusion fans/hates coming with conspiracy theory to support their opinions instead of using fact to base their opinions on.

If a team invents or comes up with a solution that exploits the loopholes in the rules, other teams will copy it or contest it and than copy it. There are times when certain loopholes are closed mid season. Sometimes new rules are made in the subsequent year to clamp down on some exploits purely for a cost control and to make sure that the cars are not only legal but also confirm to the spirit of the regulations. Thus a car which might not comply to the spirit of the regulation might still be a legal car. All the noses on the cars this year are legal but dont comply to what the intended purpose was. Hence the rules will be rewritten to close any ambiguity next year to close the loopholes. But that means even if a team has gained an unfair advantage by exploiting the regulation than it is legal to do so.

The blown diffuser and the later iteration of it were both legal and were banned because all teams were wasting lot of money in developing those concepts for incremental gains. Whatever ended up on the Redbull ended being copied by other teams too. Similarly Redbull copied innovations of other teams too.

There are time when certain parts are banned or changes made during a season but they become illegal only after the FIA deems them to be not in conformity with the rules(I.e before the ban or change those exploits were legal).

Finally there are 4 parts to a successful team in F1 The Aero Department, The Mechanical Department, The Engine Department and the Driver. Just as your body cant function without your brain your brain cant function without your body. So their Domination isnt only about Adrine Newey or Sebastien Vettel but the entire Redbull team.

32
Tornillo Amarillo

Go HULK, Go PEREZ! (in the points).

33

Wow, a lot of pessimistic comments! I suspect a lot of variety in podium before cars hit Barcelona. So, don’t throw your towels in yet. It’s not just about pace. It’s about reliability as well.

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