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. Tuesday 1 September 2015

  2. 17:42

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  3. Sainz Jr. set for 10-place grid drop at Monza 17:30

    Sainz Jr. set for 10-place grid drop at Monza

    Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr. is set to take a 10-place grid drop for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, with…

    F1
  4. Video: Ferrari previews home F1 race 14:08

    Video: Ferrari previews home F1 race

    Ferrari previews its home Formula 1 race, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, which takes place this weekend.

    F1
  5. Button hopeful deployment issues fixed 12:43

    Button hopeful deployment issues fixed

    Jenson Button says McLaren-Honda has been working hard to ensure that the deployment problems he endured at the Belgian Grand…

    F1
  6. Rosberg targets qualifying, start gains 12:04

    Rosberg targets qualifying, start gains

    Nico Rosberg is focused on improving his qualifying pace and start procedure at the Italian Grand Prix, as he bids to get on…

    F1
  7. Hülkenberg signs new Force India deal 11:27

    Hülkenberg signs new Force India deal

    Nico Hülkenberg will remain as a Force India driver until at least the end of the 2017 Formula 1 campaign, after the 24 Hours…

    F1
  8. Wilson wins IndyCar fan favourite award 11:26

    Wilson wins IndyCar fan favourite award

    The late Justin Wilson was posthumously awarded IndyCar's fan favourite accolade at the end-of-season championship celebration…

    Indy
  9. Niederhauser to make GP2 debut at Monza 09:29

    Niederhauser to make GP2 debut at Monza

    Patric Niederhauser will make his GP2 debut with Team Lazarus at this weekend's Monza round. Niederhauser, who finished 10th…

    GP2
  10. Video of the Day: Kvyat demos F1 car in Russia 05:26

    Video of the Day: Kvyat demos F1 car in Russia

    Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat showcased Formula 1 machinery at the recent Kazan City Racing event in Russia.

    F1
  11. Monday 31 August 2015

  12. Pirelli completes Vettel tyre investigation 17:53

    Pirelli completes Vettel tyre investigation

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has completed its investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sebastian Vettel's failure in…

    F1
  13. Hülkenberg keen to make up for DNS 14:24

    Hülkenberg keen to make up for DNS

    Nico Hülkenberg is hopeful that he can make up for his non-start in Belgium with a return to the points-paying positions at…

    F1
  14. Video: Dixon snatches title with Sonoma win 13:34

    Video: Dixon snatches title with Sonoma win

    Watch highlights as Scott Dixon wins the double-points Sonoma finale to snatch his fourth IndyCar title.

    Indy
  15. Pérez: We must keep aiming for podium 12:06

    Pérez: We must keep aiming for podium

    Sergio Pérez says Force India should continue to target podium finishes over the remainder of the 2015 season, after an…

    F1
  16. Monza tyre selection 'way more sensible' 10:41

    Monza tyre selection 'way more sensible'

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has been praised for making a "way more sensible" compound selection for this weekend's Italian…

    F1
  17. Márquez concedes 2015 title chances over 10:15

    Márquez concedes 2015 title chances over

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez has admitted that his chances of defending his MotoGP title are all but over after he crashed…

    MotoGP
  18. Rossi 'very proud' of British Grand Prix win 09:32

    Rossi 'very proud' of British Grand Prix win

    Yamaha's Valentino Rossi described himself as "very proud" after mastering wet conditions to win the British Grand Prix and…

    MotoGP
  19. Video of the Day: Driven by Data - Heat 05:11

    Video of the Day: Driven by Data - Heat

    F1 brakes reach extreme temperatures, as McLaren outlines in the final part of its technical video series.

    F1
  20. 01:16

    Latest IndyCar photos: Sunday at Sonoma

    Indy
  21. Peerless Dixon beats Montoya to IndyCar crown 01:12

    Peerless Dixon beats Montoya to IndyCar crown

    For the fourth time in his storied career, Scott Dixon has won the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, bettering Juan Pablo…

    Indy
  22. Sunday 30 August 2015

  23. Helmet auction to benefit Justin Wilson fund 21:43

    Helmet auction to benefit Justin Wilson fund

    All of the IndyCar drivers in today's season finale have decided to donate their helmets to a large online auction for the…

    Indy
  24. 14:32

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  25. Rossi reclaims title lead amid Silverstone drama 14:26

    Rossi reclaims title lead amid Silverstone drama

    Valentino Rossi won a wet and dramatic British Grand Prix to reclaim the title lead from Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, while…

    MotoGP
  26. Redding to join Pramac Ducati for 2016 11:17

    Redding to join Pramac Ducati for 2016

    Pramac Ducati has confirmed that it has signed British rider Scott Redding for the 2016 MotoGP campaign. Redding made his…

    MotoGP
  27. Räikkönen hopes to be 'in the fight' at Monza 08:22

    Räikkönen hopes to be 'in the fight' at Monza

    Kimi Räikkönen is hopeful that Ferrari will pose a greater challenge to Mercedes at the Italian Grand Prix, despite Monza…

    F1
  28. Video of the Day: Final Formula E test recap 05:24

    Video of the Day: Final Formula E test recap

    Join Formula E presenter Nicki Shields for a closer look at the final pre-season test at Donington Park.

    FE
  29. 00:42

    Latest IndyCar photos: Saturday at Sonoma

    Indy
  30. Power steals pole, Sonoma lap record 00:36

    Power steals pole, Sonoma lap record

    A consistently fast Will Power stole P1 away from Josef Newgarden after time expired in the final IndyCar qualifying of the year…

    Indy
  31. Saturday 29 August 2015

  32. Whiting: In F1, no one day is like another 15:46

    Whiting: In F1, no one day is like another

    In 1988, after a lengthy stint as an engineer at Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team, Charlie Whiting joined the FIA's technical…

    F1
  33. 15:18

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  34. Márquez smashes Silverstone lap record 15:13

    Márquez smashes Silverstone lap record

    Marc Márquez twice broke the lap record during Saturday's qualifying session at Silverstone to secure pole position for the…

    MotoGP
  35. Häkkinen understands Vettel's outburst 13:18

    Häkkinen understands Vettel's outburst

    Double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen says he "can understand" why Sebastian Vettel hit out at tyre supplier Pirelli…

    F1
  36. Lorenzo stays on top in third session 10:52

    Lorenzo stays on top in third session

    Jorge Lorenzo remained on top with a blistering late effort during Saturday's third practice session for the British Grand Prix…

    MotoGP
  37. GPUpdate's stars of the future: Esteban Ocon 08:20

    GPUpdate's stars of the future: Esteban Ocon

    Across 2015, GPUpdate.net has been profiling some of the most talented up-and-coming youngsters gracing the various junior…

    GP3
  38. Maldonado caused own DNF with 17G impact 07:46

    Maldonado caused own DNF with 17G impact

    Pastor Maldonado caused his own retirement from last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps with a sizeable 17G…

    F1
  39. Video of the Day: Driven by Data - Engine 05:14

    Video of the Day: Driven by Data - Engine

    McLaren showcases how many strokes per second are produced by Honda's engine.

    F1
  40. Friday 28 August 2015

  41. Grosjean sure he would have passed Vettel 16:08

    Grosjean sure he would have passed Vettel

    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean says he is "convinced" that he would have passed Sebastian Vettel for third at the Belgian Grand…

    F1
  42. 15:12

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  43. Lorenzo edges Márquez in second practice 15:03

    Lorenzo edges Márquez in second practice

    Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo edged out Repsol Honda rival Marc Márquez during second practice for the British Grand Prix at…

    MotoGP
  44. Bottas 'expected more' from 2015 car 14:01

    Bottas 'expected more' from 2015 car

    Valtteri Bottas has admitted that he "expected more" from the Williams FW37 this season, but he is hopeful that progress will be…

    F1
  45. GPUpdate lets readers ask Hülkenberg questions 12:02

    GPUpdate lets readers ask Hülkenberg questions

    Earlier in the season, GPUpdate.net gave readers the chance to quiz Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Lotus driver Romain…

    F1
more news