Winners and Losers at the Australian Grand Prix

Winners and Losers at the Australian Grand Prix

17 March 2014 – Teams and drivers departed the first round of the 2014 Formula 1 season with varying emotions. Some enjoyed a successful weekend which could kick start a promising campaign while others have been left with a long road ahead. GPUpdate.net presents the winners and losers from the Australian Grand Prix.

Winners

Nico Rosberg missed out on pole position but he swept into the lead at the start and was never headed across the 57 lap encounter. The victor could barely contain his enthusiasm at his fourth Formula 1 win as he referred to his car as 'unbelievable' and 'dominant'. His winning margin was in excess of 20 seconds, showing the advantage which Rosberg utilised. There will be low moments, after all, team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffered a mechanical failure, but Rosberg is in the prime of his career. Years of toil with Williams and Mercedes have made him a better driver while he has worked hard to iron out his deficiencies and shun the reputation that he is not a top driver. He knows that 2014 presents him with a golden opportunity of becoming a champion and he’s started in commanding fashion.

There was a divide at McLaren towards the end of last season as the team conversed on whether to retain Sergio Pérez or promote youngster Kevin Magnussen. Ron Dennis supported the latter and his choice was rewarded in Australia as Magnussen achieved the best result for a rookie in 18 years. The Danish driver carried himself with confidence mixed with a sense of managing expectations. Qualifying in fourth place was an extraordinary result considering his inexperience with both the conditions and the circuit, while he did extremely well to keep the car out of the wall after it snapped away from him at the start. Even so, few would have predicted that Magnussen would finish on the podium – beating Jenson Button in the process – and even the man himself looked astonished at what he had just accomplished. It was a measured performance that marked the arrival of a star.

There was a collective surprise towards the end of last year when Toro Rosso announced that Daniil Kvyat, not António Félix da Costa, would be promoted to a Formula 1 seat for 2014. Critics suggested that Kvyat was too young and was being rushed into the seat courtesy of the potential commercial opportunities that came with having a Russian driver. The reigning GP3 champion evidently has natural talent – anyone who paid attention to junior series last year would testify this – but after Toro Rosso’s woes pre-season few anticipated Kvyat to finish in the points. He qualified inside the top 10 and in the race Kvyat hung on to the coat tails of Kimi Räikkönen and team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne, eventually finishing three seconds behind his more experienced stable mate. In doing so, he took ninth and claimed the record of youngest points scorer, which was previously held by Sebastian Vettel – and he didn't turn out too badly! 

Losers

Expectations of Red Bull were low and consequently it was a surprise when the pace – and reliability – was evident throughout practice, leading to hopes that the team would score handsomely. But matters deteriorated for Sebastian Vettel as a power unit problem crippled his RB10 in qualifying and continued into the race, leaving him significantly off the pace even before his early retirement. The permanently grinning Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a fruitful weekend as he converted his maiden front row start into a first podium. He lapped up the support of the ecstatic Australian crowd which was "a moment I'll never forget". But the stewards excluded his car for contravening the fuel flow rate regulations. The stewards said that the FIA gave Red Bull plenty of chances to reduce the fuel flow rate while the team hit back by claiming they used their own sensors after the unreliability of the FIA's methods. Red Bull remains adamant that Ricciardo's car was legal and they will appeal, but it was a messy start to their title defence after an initial upturn in fortunes.

Lotus endured a chastising time in Australia as the lack of preparation with the E22 was publicly exposed. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado missed sessions due to problems with the power unit and when the car appeared on track it was off the pace and lacking in braking ability. Both drivers suffered off-track excursions and were ill at ease with their new car. But that's not to say that the E22 can't be competitive later in the season. Despite the car being in its infancy and clearly miles away from its potential, Grosjean's fastest lap of the race was only 2.3s slower than the quickest lap, set by Rosberg. The car also ran for 45 successive laps, around 25 more than it had managed in one stint beforehand. Lotus is clearly behind and in reality still in the testing phase but the E22 evidently improved across the course of the weekend and there’s little doubt that the team will be competitive later in the year. Nonetheless, this was a humbling experience for the squad which won in Australia 12 months ago.

Sauber hadn't captured the attention pre-season and you'd have been forgiven for thinking that they didn't even take part in Australia. They did, but their mid-grid start and running around outside of the points hardly instilled confidence that this will be anything other than a below-par season. There were mitigating circumstances. Esteban Gutiérrez suffered a gearbox problem and started from the back before spinning on the first lap, requiring a trip to the pits. Adrian Sutil was hit by a power unit problem and his strategy was scuppered by the appearance of the safety car. However, finishing 11th and 12th – ahead only of the Marussia drivers – was not awe-inspiring. They at least got both cars to the finish but their race pace was consistently slower than their midfield rivals, who all picked up a decent haul of points. Sutil and Gutiérrez could find themselves only infrequently collecting top 10 finishes barring a dramatic turnaround. Still, they managed such a feat in 2013 and the work will be ongoing at Hinwil to repeat the feat.

Phillip Horton
Twitter: @PHortonF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 28 August 2016

  2. 21:18

    GP2 photos: Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps

    GP2
  3. Seven GP2 drivers handed time penalties 21:17

    Seven GP2 drivers handed time penalties

    Seven GP2 Series drivers have been handed 10-second time penalties for a DRS infraction during the Sprint Race at…

    GP2
  4. 17:43

    F1 photos: Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps

    F1
  5. Magnussen 'will be ready' for Italian GP 17:41

    Magnussen 'will be ready' for Italian GP

    Renault's Kevin Magnussen says he will be fit to compete at next weekend's Italian Grand Prix after a frightening accident at…

    F1
  6. Alonso: Spa showing was 'unthinkable' 17:32

    Alonso: Spa showing was 'unthinkable'

    Fernando Alonso says McLaren-Honda's performance at the Belgian Grand Prix, which yielded a Q3 appearance and points, was…

    F1
  7. Hülkenberg hails 'massive' Force India result 17:04

    Hülkenberg hails 'massive' Force India result

    Nico Hülkenberg lauded a "massive" result for Force India as the team moved above Williams in the scrap for fourth position in…

    F1
  8. Vettel plans to talk to Verstappen over conduct 17:03

    Vettel plans to talk to Verstappen over conduct

    Sebastian Vettel says that he is planning to speak with Max Verstappen over his driving standards when the dust has settled on a…

    F1
  9. Räikkönen: Verstappen actions 'not correct' 16:21

    Räikkönen: Verstappen actions 'not correct'

    Kimi Räikkönen feels that Max Verstappen's driving was "not correct" after the pair went wheel-to-wheel during the Belgian…

    F1
  10. Verstappen unhappy with Ferrari drivers 15:57

    Verstappen unhappy with Ferrari drivers

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen labelled Sebastian Vettel as "illogical" and rebuked criticism from Kimi Räikkönen, following…

    F1
  11. Hamilton surprised at podium from back row 15:45

    Hamilton surprised at podium from back row

    Lewis Hamilton says third position at the Belgian Grand Prix exceeded his expectations as he moved forward from the back row of…

    F1
  12. Ricciardo: Red Bull achieved maximum result 15:32

    Ricciardo: Red Bull achieved maximum result

    Daniel Ricciardo reckons Red Bull achieved the maximum result possible as he secured second position at the Belgian Grand…

    F1
  13. Rosberg says he had race 'under control' 15:25

    Rosberg says he had race 'under control'

    Nico Rosberg says he had everything "under control" as he cruised to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix, his sixth triumph of the…

    F1
  14. 14:55

    In full: 2016 Belgian Grand Prix race result

    F1
  15. Rosberg wins dramatic Belgian Grand Prix 14:51

    Rosberg wins dramatic Belgian Grand Prix

    Nico Rosberg triumphed in an incident-packed Belgian Grand Prix, which was split in two after a heavy crash for Kevin Magnussen…

    F1
  16. Magnussen taken to hospital with ankle cut 14:26

    Magnussen taken to hospital with ankle cut

    Kevin Magnussen has been transported to hospital for routine checks after sustaining an ankle injury during a high-speed crash…

    F1
  17. Belgian GP halted after Magnussen crash 13:31

    Belgian GP halted after Magnussen crash

    Sunday afternoon's Belgian Grand Prix has been suspended after 10 laps following an enormous accident for Renault driver Kevin…

    F1
  18. 12:42

    Follow the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix live!

    F1
  19. 12:22

    Revised starting grid for the Belgian GP

    F1
  20. Mercedes breaks seal on Hamilton's gearbox 12:16

    Mercedes breaks seal on Hamilton's gearbox

    Mercedes has broken an FIA seal on Lewis Hamilton's gearbox ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, in a move that will enable him to…

    F1
  21. Giovinazzi beats Malja to victory in Belgium 10:12

    Giovinazzi beats Malja to victory in Belgium

    Antonio Giovinazzi claimed his third GP2 victory of the season as he passes Gustav Malja mid-distance during the Sprint Race at…

    GP2
  22. Honda confirms 60-place penalty for Alonso 09:58

    Honda confirms 60-place penalty for Alonso

    McLaren engine supplier Honda has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will take a 60-place penalty for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix…

    F1
  23. 09:01

    GP3 photos: Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps

    GP3
  24. Aitken takes maiden GP3 victory at Spa 08:58

    Aitken takes maiden GP3 victory at Spa

    Renault youngster Jack Aitken secured his maiden GP3 victory during a race punctuated by Safety Car periods at…

    GP3
  25. Steiner: Gutiérrez grid penalty 'very unfair' 08:42

    Steiner: Gutiérrez grid penalty 'very unfair'

    Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has labelled Esteban Gutiérrez's grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix as "very unfair…

    F1
  26. Hamilton prefers grid over pit lane start 08:33

    Hamilton prefers grid over pit lane start

    Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton says he was always eager to start the Belgian Grand Prix from the grid, rather than…

    F1
  27. Software issue hurt Williams in qualifying 07:22

    Software issue hurt Williams in qualifying

    Williams has confirmed that both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were hampered by a software problem on their power units…

    F1
  28. Video of the Day: Ricciardo in Los Angeles 05:04

    Video of the Day: Ricciardo in Los Angeles

    Daniel Ricciardo, along with a close group of friends, visits Los Angeles to experience its car culture.

    F1
  29. 04:34

    IndyCar photos: Saturday's Firestone 600

    Indy
  30. Rahal steals Texas victory from Hinchcliffe 04:32

    Rahal steals Texas victory from Hinchcliffe

    Graham Rahal will be credited with leading one lap in a race that spanned two months, but he led the lap that matters most…

    Indy
  31. Saturday 27 August 2016

  32. 17:38

    F1 photos: Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps

    F1
  33. Pérez: Force India maximised qualifying 17:36

    Pérez: Force India maximised qualifying

    Sergio Pérez reckons Force India maximised its potential by claiming sixth and seventh on the grid for the Belgian Grand…

    F1
  34. 17:08

    GP3 photos: Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps

    GP3
  35. Leclerc controls GP3 opener in Belgium 17:06

    Leclerc controls GP3 opener in Belgium

    Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc claimed his third GP3 Series victory of the season after dominating proceedings at…

    GP3
  36. Ricciardo 'not too disappointed' with qualifying 16:56

    Ricciardo 'not too disappointed' with qualifying

    Daniel Ricciardo says he is "not too disappointed" with his fifth-place grid slot in Belgium, given this weekend's precarious…

    F1
  37. Button: Q2 lap as good as 2012 pole run 15:50

    Button: Q2 lap as good as 2012 pole run

    Jenson Button reckons the lap he posted to reach the final phase of qualifying in Belgium was as good as his run to pole…

    F1
  38. 15:48

    GP2 photos: Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps

    GP2
  39. Gasly extends advantage with third GP2 victory 15:46

    Gasly extends advantage with third GP2 victory

    Pierre Gasly moved into a 23-point advantage in the GP2 Series as he cruised to his third victory of the season at…

    GP2
  40. Hamilton: Spa 'worst time' to take penalties 15:17

    Hamilton: Spa 'worst time' to take penalties

    Lewis Hamilton says the Belgian Grand Prix has proven to be the "worst time" to take his engine-related grid penalties, given…

    F1
  41. Räikkönen felt pole position was possible 15:03

    Räikkönen felt pole position was possible

    Kimi Räikkönen felt that pole position was within his and Ferrari's reach at the Belgian Grand Prix, after finishing within…

    F1
  42. Verstappen: Red Bull can be 'very pleased' 14:42

    Verstappen: Red Bull can be 'very pleased'

    Max Verstappen reckons Red Bull can be "very pleased" with its efforts during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, as he…

    F1
more news