Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, March 16 at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit. According to Formula 1, the first race of the new turbo V-6 era brought expected retirements, rookie surprises, and an important disqualification when all was said and done in the land down under.
Nico Rosberg completed 57 laps in 1:32:58.710, according to Formula 1, finishing out in front from a third place spot on the grid. Rosberg also set the fastest lap of the race at 1:32.478.
Initially coming in a triumphant second, native Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull was disqualified hours after the race due to a charge that his team did not follow the required fuel flow rate, a matter the FIA mentioned in its statement was "outside the control of the driver." This meant that third place finisher, rookie Kevin Magnussen of McLaren, took the second spot followed by Jenson Button of McLaren in third. The McLaren two-three finish means that McLaren now jumps out in front in the constructors' championship with 33 points over Mercedes with 25.
Four-time constructor champions Red Bull had problems early on in the race when its quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel had to retire after three laps with power unit problems. In all, seven cars and drivers did not complete the race -- besides Vettel, Hamilton of Mercedes; Grojean and Maldonado, both of Lotus; Ericsson and Kobayashi both of Caterham; and Massa of Williams all did not make it to the finish line. Hamilton, who started the race on pole, had power issues that forced him back to the pits.
Finishing positions in the Australian Grand Prix were as follows, according to F1:
1. Rosberg, Mercedes
2. Magnussen, McLaren
3. Button, McLaren
4. Alonso, Ferrari
5. Bottas, Williams
6. Hulkenberg, Force India
7. Raikkonen, Ferrari
8. Vergne, Toro Rosso
9. Kvyat, Toro Rosso
10. Perez, Force India
11. Sutil, Sauber
12. Gutierrez, Sauber
13. Chilton, Marussia
NC Bianchi, Marussia
About his win, Nico Rosberg commented, "It’s been an amazing day. I’m just over the moon really. It’s incredible, everybody has worked so hard over the winter and now to have such an amazing Silver Arrow to drive is just unreal. This thing was unbelievably quick today and the reliability was good also, so it was just the perfect start to the season. I’m really thankful to Mercedes, they have done an amazing job over the winter."
Hours before the fuel flow disqualification came down, perhaps ironically, Ricciardo was asked about the issue of needing to watch fuel. He said, "Yeah, I think at the start of the race it was a bit of guessing. Some laps I would try and push and not really conserve and then when I felt I had enough gap then I would start conserving. We were basically learning all the time today. First time that we’ve done a race distance so I think we’ll take a lot out of it but in the end I think the system we have to reach the fuel target is not bad, considering we haven’t done too much work on that yet. I think we survived quite well."
Rookie F1 driver Kevin Magnussen was asked about McLaren and whether the team that did not stand on the podium at all in 2013 might take advantage of its lead in the constructors' championship now and run with it. He replied, "Yeah, who knows? We will certainly try our best. I know the team is massively motivated to stay on top and they are a team that should be at the top of Formula One. So, what can I say? I’ll do my best and they will do their best. Who knows?"
The Formula 1 racing series moves to Kuala Lumpur at the end of the month for the Malaysia Grand Prix, March 28-30.
German Rosberg leads the drivers' championship with 25 points; Dane Magnussen is second with 18. As mentioned above, McLaren now leads the constructors' title after the first race with 33 points with Mercedes' in second at 25.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. She is working on a book about racers and racers. Check out her blog at "Motor Sport Muse."