Rosberg storms to Australian GP victory
16 March 2014 – Nico Rosberg delivered a crushing performance to win Sunday afternoon's season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver, who jumped Lewis Hamilton at the start before his team-mate retired, led home Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen.
After the rain-hit qualifying session 24 hours ago, drivers were greeted with dry conditions at the start of the race, with further showers staying away despite ominous grey clouds hanging over the parkland circuit.
As the lights went out – slightly later than planned after Jules Bianchi caused an aborted start when his Marussia stalled – it was Rosberg who made the best getaway, immediately jumping past Ricciardo and Hamilton.
But while one Mercedes proceeded to pull away in the early stages of the race, Hamilton's Silver Arrow hit technical trouble, with the team forced to retire the Briton after just three laps due to a misfiring cylinder.
Despite a Safety Car period threatening to throw the order up in the air, the top three positions remained the same until the chequered flag, with Rosberg crossing the line more than 20 seconds clear of his nearest rival.
Ricciardo's second-place finish marked not only his first podium for new team Red Bull, but also the first rostrum appearance of his Formula 1 career. The Australian was the team's only finisher, after reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire his RB10 in the early stages amid further engine-related problems.
Two seconds back, Magnussen mirrored Hamilton's McLaren debut by finishing third, recording Denmark's first ever Formula 1 podium finish in the process. The youngster finished just ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, who brought himself into contention by pitting earlier than his rivals when the Safety Car was deployed.
Despite late technical scares, both Ferraris made the finish to collect points. Fernando Alonso took fifth, while Kimi Räikkönen salvaged eighth after his crash during the second phase of qualifying on Saturday.
Williams's Valtteri Bottas – who battled back to sixth after causing the aforementioned Safety Car phase by clipping the wall and picking up a puncture – and Force India's Nico Hülkenberg split the Scuderia drivers.
Toro Rosso concluded a fine weekend at Albert Park by completing the top ten positions and taking the final points on offer. Jean-Éric Vergne finished ninth, with Daniil Kvyat an impressive 10th on his Formula 1 debut.
There were numerous incidents throughout the Grand Prix, starting with Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa's dramatic collision at the first corner. The Caterham driver misjudged his braking point and slid uncontrollably into the rear of Williams rival Massa, leaving both drivers on the spot and the latter calling for a severe penalty.
After Hamilton and Vettel's high profile retirements, Marcus Ericsson ground to a halt in the second Caterham machine and Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean stopped on track with MGU-K issues.
Attentions now turn to Sepang, where Rosberg and McLaren arrive as the respective championship leaders.
The second round of the 2014 Formula 1 season takes place in Malaysia from March 28-30