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. Wednesday 16 August 2017

  2. 17:22

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  3. Saavedra gets SPM seat for next two rounds 17:17

    Saavedra gets SPM seat for next two rounds

    Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) has announced that Sebastián Saavedra will pilot the No. 7 Honda for the next two rounds of…

    Indy
  4. Iannone urges patience for Suzuki gains 16:12

    Iannone urges patience for Suzuki gains

    Andrea Iannone says Suzuki "learned so much" across back-to-back events in the Czech Republic and Austria, but has urged the…

    MotoGP
  5. Video: F1 2017 game 'Born to Be Wild' trailer 14:24

    Video: F1 2017 game 'Born to Be Wild' trailer

    Watch the latest trailer for Codemasters' new video game, F1 2017, to be released on August 25.

    F1
  6. Vandoorne making 'big steps' at every race 12:19

    Vandoorne making 'big steps' at every race

    Stoffel Vandoorne feels that he is making "big steps" forward at every Grand Prix following a difficult start to his first…

    F1
  7. Video: Mansell's Williams FW14B on track 11:02

    Video: Mansell's Williams FW14B on track

    25 years ago today, Nigel Mansell claimed the 1992 world title with the revolutionary Williams FW14B. Karun Chandhok recently…

    F1
  8. Rabat's title-winning Moto2 bike stolen 10:28

    Rabat's title-winning Moto2 bike stolen

    Tito Rabat's title-winning Moto2 bike was stolen from Marc VDS' base in Belgium on Wednesday, the team has revealed, as it seeks…

    MotoGP
  9. Montoya gets sports car deal with Penske 10:05

    Montoya gets sports car deal with Penske

    Juan Pablo Montoya will return to full-time competition in 2018, after signing a deal to race for Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech…

    Misc
  10. Bourdais given 'all clear' for IndyCar return 09:41

    Bourdais given 'all clear' for IndyCar return

    Sébastien Bourdais has been given the "all clear" to return to IndyCar action following a final check-up with medical chiefs in…

    Indy
  11. Mid-season review: Renault's steady progress 09:02

    Mid-season review: Renault's steady progress

    GPUpdate.net continues its mid-season review by reflecting on Renault's slow and steady progress since its full-time return…

    F1
  12. Video: Sounds of Williams' 40 years in F1 05:42

    Video: Sounds of Williams' 40 years in F1

    Williams has released a spine-tingling film of the various sounds from its 40 years in Formula 1.

    F1
  13. Tuesday 15 August 2017

  14. Video: McLaren's Woking Grand Prix 'plan' 16:22

    Video: McLaren's Woking Grand Prix 'plan'

    McLaren presents a tongue-in-cheek plan to add a Woking Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar.

    F1
  15. In photos: Formula 1 drivers' summer breaks 15:02

    In photos: Formula 1 drivers' summer breaks

    Formula 1 broke up for summer earlier this month, following an intense first half of the season, but what has the grid been up…

    F1
  16. Video: Formula 1 fans go behind-the-scenes 14:12

    Video: Formula 1 fans go behind-the-scenes

    Watch as Mercedes competition winners get a behind-the-scenes experience at this year's British GP.

    F1
  17. Kallio: Top 10 finish 'like a victory' for KTM 12:54

    Kallio: Top 10 finish 'like a victory' for KTM

    KTM test rider Mika Kallio labelled his top 10 finish as "like a victory" for the manufacturer as he displayed encouraging pace…

    MotoGP
  18. Stroll expected 'adversity' in rookie season 11:40

    Stroll expected 'adversity' in rookie season

    Williams rookie Lance Stroll says he braced himself for moments of "adversity" when he stepped up to Formula 1 and is pleased…

    F1
  19. Dovizioso: Marginal gains behind title tilt 10:38

    Dovizioso: Marginal gains behind title tilt

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso says "tiny" gains in several areas are behind his emergence as a title contender in MotoGP, following…

    MotoGP
  20. Redding to show 'full potential' with Aprilia 09:31

    Redding to show 'full potential' with Aprilia

    Scott Redding says he expects to show his "full potential" when he makes the switch to Aprilia for the 2018 season, having…

    MotoGP
  21. Mid-season review: Haas avoids 2017 slump 08:52

    Mid-season review: Haas avoids 2017 slump

    GPUpdate.net's mid-season review series continues with Haas, which has made gradual gains in its sophomore season, following the…

    F1
  22. Video: Importance of teamwork in motorsport 05:36

    Video: Importance of teamwork in motorsport

    SAFEisFAST highlights the importance of teamwork in motorsport with the Castrol Honda WTCC team.

    Misc
  23. Monday 14 August 2017

  24. Video: F1 2017 wet-weather gameplay at Spa 16:32

    Video: F1 2017 wet-weather gameplay at Spa

    Watch a 50% distance wet race at Spa-Francorchamps in Codemasters' new video game, F1 2017.

    F1
  25. Lorenzo: Austria my best race yet with Ducati 15:42

    Lorenzo: Austria my best race yet with Ducati

    Jorge Lorenzo labelled the Austrian Grand Prix as his best race since he joined Ducati at the start of the season, having spent…

    MotoGP
  26. Aprilia backs Lowes to 'express his talent' 14:59

    Aprilia backs Lowes to 'express his talent'

    Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano has backed Sam Lowes to "express his talent" again in the future, following confirmation that the…

    MotoGP
  27. Räikkönen adamant he still 'has the speed' 14:20

    Räikkönen adamant he still 'has the speed'

    Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen insists that he still "has the speed" to compete at the front of the Formula 1 field, despite a mixed…

    F1
  28. Aprilia announces Redding for 2018 season 13:26

    Aprilia announces Redding for 2018 season

    Aprilia has officially announced that Scott Redding will join the team for the 2018 season. Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano had…

    MotoGP
  29. Video: World's Fastest Gamer qualifiers - #1 11:02

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer qualifiers - #1

    Watch the first round of World's Fastest Gamer qualifiers at Silverstone. Virtual racers are competing for the ultimate job in…

    Misc
  30. Yamaha pair pin deficit on rear tyre issues 10:24

    Yamaha pair pin deficit on rear tyre issues

    Yamaha riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi pointed to rear tyre wear as a crucial limiting factor after the duo slumped…

    MotoGP
  31. Mid-season review: STR inches towards goal 08:44

    Mid-season review: STR inches towards goal

    GPUpdate.net resumes its 2017 mid-season Formula 1 review series by taking a look at Toro Rosso's campaign, as the Faenza-based…

    F1
  32. Video: IndyCar 2018 aero kit safety features 05:42

    Video: IndyCar 2018 aero kit safety features

    IndyCar technical guru Jon Beekhuis explains the enhanced safety features of next year's universal aero kits.

    Indy
  33. 04:06

    MotoGP standings after Austrian Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  34. Sunday 13 August 2017

  35. Márquez was 'on the limit' in Austria fight 17:25

    Márquez was 'on the limit' in Austria fight

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez says he was "on the limit" and "decided to go all-in" during his frenetic battle with Ducati…

    MotoGP
  36. Aprilia 'close' to deal with Redding for 2018 16:04

    Aprilia 'close' to deal with Redding for 2018

    Aprilia Racing Manager Romano Albesiano has indicated that the team is close to completing a deal with Scott Redding for the…

    MotoGP
  37. 15:29

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday in Spielberg

    MotoGP
  38. Dovizioso was braced for Márquez lunge 14:51

    Dovizioso was braced for Márquez lunge

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso says he knew Repsol Honda rival Marc Márquez would attempt to wrestle away the lead at the final…

    MotoGP
  39. 14:26

    In full: 2017 Austrian Grand Prix results

    MotoGP
  40. Dovizioso beats Márquez in epic Austrian GP 13:45

    Dovizioso beats Márquez in epic Austrian GP

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso prevailed over reigning World Champion Marc Márquez in a sensational race-long battle for honours at…

    MotoGP
  41. 12:30

    Starting grid for the Austrian Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  42. Viñales: Yamaha losing out on acceleration 09:12

    Viñales: Yamaha losing out on acceleration

    Maverick Viñales feels that Yamaha is losing out under acceleration at the Austrian Grand Prix, as he prepares to start the…

    MotoGP
  43. Schmidt, Aleshin mutually agree to split 07:52

    Schmidt, Aleshin mutually agree to split

    Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has announced that Mikhail Aleshin will not compete for the team in IndyCar across the remainder of…

    Indy
  44. Video: Jorge Lorenzo's Austrian GP helmet 05:54

    Video: Jorge Lorenzo's Austrian GP helmet

    Take a look at the revised helmet livery which will be sported by Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo at the Austrian Grand Prix.

    MotoGP
more news