Nico Rosberg dominated round one of the 2014 F1 World Championship in Australia on Sunday, leading from start to finish in his Brackley-based Mercedes.
Third fastest in qualifying, Rosberg took advantage of his team-mate and polesitter Lewis Hamilton’s slow start to grab the lead on the approach to the first corner. It was a position that Rosberg would never surrender as the German cruised to the chequered flag to take an early lead in the 2014 standings.
He said afterwards: “This is a dream start to the 2014 season for me. The team gave me a fantastic Silver Arrow to drive and I was able to control the race from the front.
“This gives me great confidence as we head to Malaysia for the next race. The team has shown that we have a good car and it’s a winner. To score victory in the first race of the year under the new regulations is a major boost for me and my dreams of winning the championship.”
While Rosberg was able to celebrate an ideal start to the 2014 season, British team-mate Lewis Hamilton was left to reflect on what might have been.
Fastest in qualifying, Hamilton lined-up at the start of the race as favourite for victory, but it was soon evident that he had problems after a slow start from the grid, and quickly he was forced to retire with his engine firing on only five cylinders.
“This was not the start we wanted,” Hamilton said afterwards. “As soon as the race started I knew that the car was down on power and that I wouldn’t last long. The car felt slow at the start and it didn’t feel good and we need to look at what went wrong and make it better for the next race.”
Daniel Ricciardo crossed the finish-line in second position, but he was excluded from the results after his Red Bull was found to have breached fuel consumption rules, meaning a podium finish for both McLaren cars, including F1 debutant Kevin Magnussen, who finished second.
Further down the grid, Daniil Kvyat became the youngest driver in the history of F1 to score a World Championship point after the 19-year-old Russian finished ninth on his F1 debut in Australia. Kvyat, who drives for the part Bicester-based Toro Rosso team, said afterwards: “I did not expect this to happen on my F1 debut. The team did a great job.” His team-mate, Jean-Eric Vergne, also finished in the points, taking eighth, while the Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team saw both of their cars finish in the top ten with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Sergio Perez tenth.
The 2014 F1 season continues in Malaysia next weekend.