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Merc's Rosberg sets bar in Oz GP

2014-03-16 10:57

NEW ERA: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (centre) celebrates after winning the 2014 Oz GP with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo (left) and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen. Image: AFP

MELBOURNE, Australia - Nico Rosberg drew first blood for Mercedes in the new Formula 1 season with a dominant 2014 Australian Grand Prix victory on Sunday after pole-starter Lewis Hamilton and 2013 F1 champion Sebastian Vettel retired with reliability problems.

Rosberg capitalised on a brilliant start from third on the grid, snatching the lead before the first turn and taking a 24.5sec victory ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo under a cloudy sky at Albert Park.

Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen was third on his race debut for McLaren.


Rosberg, tipped to duel with team mate Hamilton for the championship, celebrated his fourth race victory and first since 2013's British GP when he was also the beneficiary of technical mishaps for Hamilton and Vettel.

Rosberg said over the team radio after crossing the line: "Brilliant stuff, what a car you've given me! What a car!"

The gaping margin of victory underscored Mercedes' superior preparations for F1's technical revolution which saw all teams struggle during off-season testing with the new V6 turbocharged hybrid engines.

The glitches continued; only 14 of the 22 cars finished on a gusty day on the bumpy street circuit which was doused by a brief rain shower early in the race.

Hamilton, who scored pole position from a wet qualifying session on Saturday, noticeably lacked power on his start and was called in by his team to retire on the lap three.

Vettel, 12th on the grid,also struggled at the start and retired only a few laps after Hamilton, also with power performance problems. That ended a nine-race winning streak dating back to the 2013 Belgian GP.


Ricciardo thrilled his fellow-Australians by taking his first podium step from his first race weekend with Red Bull after driving with admirable composure despite being challenged by Magnussen over the closing laps.

Magnussen's podium, the first by a Dane in F1 and the team's first since 2012, was an exact match of Hamilton's first F1 race for McLaren in 2007 when the Briton qualified fourth and finished third.

McLaren's Jenson Button was fourth, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso fifth.

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas finished sixth for his best F1 result after an outstanding race from 15th on the grid. His eight points was more than his team had scored in all of 2013.


The race began farcically. Marussia driver Max Chilton stalled on the grid before the pre-start installation lap and his team mate Jules Bianchi did the same, forcing a second formation lap.

Both Marussias started from the pits lane behind Lotus's Romain Grosjean, who was given a drive-through penalty for leaving his garage before the 15-minute signal before the race.

Japan's Kamui Kobayashi lived up to his reputation as a combustible racer by ploughing into the back of Felipe Massa's Williams going into Turn 1, taking both drivers out of the race and prompting an FIA investigation.

Result from the 2014 Australian F1 GP at Albert Park

1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1hr32min58.710
2 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault +24.525
3 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren +26.777
4 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren +30.027
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +35.284
6 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes +47.639
7 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes +50.718
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari +57.675
9 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault +1min00.441
10 Danill Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min03.585
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes +1min25.916
12 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari +1 lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari +1 lap
14 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Ferrari +2 laps
Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Ferrari 8 laps
Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 14 laps
Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault 28 laps
Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham - Renault 30 laps
Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 54 laps
Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 55 laps
Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 57 laps
Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault 57 laps

Fastest lap: Nico Rosberg 1min32.478, lap 19.

Drivers and Constructors points

1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 25
2 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 18
3 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 15
4 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 12
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 10
6 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 8
7 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 6
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 4
9 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 2
10 Danill Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso 1
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 0
12 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber 0
13 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 0
14 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 0

1 McLaren 27
2 Mercedes 25
3 RedBull - Renault 18
4 Ferrari 14
5 Williams-Mercedes 8
6 Force India - Mercedes 6
7 Toro Rosso - Renault 3
8 Sauber - Ferrari 0
9 Marussia - Ferrari 0
10 Lotus - Renault 0
11 Caterham - Renault 0

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