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 31 August 2014

  2. Will Power finally captures IndyCar title, Kanaan wins Fontana 05:54

    Will Power finally captures IndyCar title, Kanaan wins Fontana

    Will Power's voice cracked audibly as he spoke to his team on the cool-down laps at Fontana on Saturday night.  Three times...

    Indy
  3. Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault 05:00

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault

    Renault drivers receive an unexpected, special welcome whilst arriving at a supermarket car park.

    F1
  4. Saturday 30 August 2014

  5. 18:24

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  6. Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole 15:01

    Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole

    MotoGP championship leader Marc Márquez claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in cool and cloudy conditions...

    MotoGP
  7. Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend 13:18

    Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend

    Pastor Maldonado is anticipating a tough time for Lotus as Formula 1 heads to the high-speed Monza for next weekend's...

    F1
  8. 12:30

    Photos: Red Bull's 50 Formula 1 wins

    F1
  9. Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone 10:48

    Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone

    Marc Márquez set the fastest time during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, before...

    MotoGP
  10. Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition 10:09

    Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition

    SMP Racing driver Mikhail Aleshin is in a 'serious but stable' condition following a violent accident during practice for...

    Indy
  11. Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy 05:00

    Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy

    View the winner's trophy for this year's Singapore Grand Prix, inspired by the Singapore Airlines logo.

    F1
  12. Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash 04:50

    Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash

    Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin has been airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California after a violent...

    Indy
  13. Friday 29 August 2014

  14. Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole 23:57

    Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole

    Helio Castroneves picked up his second pole position of 2014 at the most crucial time possible: On the eve of the...

    Indy
  15. IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport 20:17

    IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport

    IndyCar confirmed today that the Houston street course would not be a part of the 2015 schedule.   Twice a sight of...

    Indy
  16. Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight 19:51

    Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight

    The MAVTV 500 at Fontana will be the ninth consecutive time that the last race of the year will determine the champion, and...

    Indy
  17. 16:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  18. Márquez stays fastest in second practice 15:26

    Márquez stays fastest in second practice

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez remained in charge during Friday afternoon's second practice session for the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  19. Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks 14:53

    Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks

    Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have publicly responded to the clear-the-air talks staged at the team's...

    F1
  20. Ex-Caterham staff start legal action 14:26

    Ex-Caterham staff start legal action

    Ex-Caterham staff have started legal action against the F1 team's new owners, claiming unfair dismissal. Having...

    F1
  21. Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam 14:04

    Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam

    Max Verstappen made his first public outing in Formula 1 machinery on Friday, the 16-year-old getting behind the wheel of a...

    F1
  22. Rosberg accepts responsibility for Spa clash 13:07

    Rosberg accepts responsibility for Spa clash

    Nico Rosberg has "acknowledged his responsibility" and apologised for clashing with team-mate Lewis Hamilton at last...

    F1
  23. Márquez tops opening Silverstone practice 11:08

    Márquez tops opening Silverstone practice

    Marc Márquez set the pace during Friday morning's opening practice session for the British Grand Prix at...

    MotoGP
  24. Verstappen compares driving style to Alonso 09:44

    Verstappen compares driving style to Alonso

    Newly-signed Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen, son of ex-Formula 1 star Jos, claims that his driving style is closest to...

    F1
  25. 09:30

    Photos: Kovalainen drives DTM car

    DTM
  26. Kovalainen completes BMW DTM test 09:29

    Kovalainen completes BMW DTM test

    Ex-Formula 1 driver and Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen made his DTM testing debut with BMW on Thursday, getting behind...

    DTM
  27. Video of the Day: Hamilton at Goodwood 05:00

    Video of the Day: Hamilton at Goodwood

    Watch highlights from Lewis Hamilton's visit to this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.

    F1
  28. Thursday 28 August 2014

  29. 16:11

    Photos: Márquez crosses the River Thames

    MotoGP
  30. Accident at Toro Rosso construction site 14:53

    Accident at Toro Rosso construction site

    Toro Rosso says two construction workers have been injured while working on a new factory building. The outfit reports...

    F1
  31. Webber: Mercedes not a team at the moment 12:04

    Webber: Mercedes not a team at the moment

    Mark Webber says there is a lack of cohesion at Mercedes as its drivers fight for individual glory. While the...

    F1
  32. Video: Caterham takes ice bucket challenge 10:43

    Video: Caterham takes ice bucket challenge

    The Caterham Formula 1 team takes the ALS ice bucket challenge.

    F1
  33. Button admits retirement is possible 10:14

    Button admits retirement is possible

    Jenson Button has admitted that he could be forced into retirement at the end of the 2014 season. McLaren is taking time...

    F1
  34. Jordan: Mercedes rudderless without Brawn 09:49

    Jordan: Mercedes rudderless without Brawn

    If Ross Brawn was still in charge at Mercedes, the collision between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand...

    F1
  35. IndyCar adds New Orleans to 2015 roster 09:12

    IndyCar adds New Orleans to 2015 roster

    IndyCar will race in New Orleans next season, with the Grand Prix of Louisiana being added to the roster. The race will...

    Indy
  36. Video of the Day: Red Bull goes infrared 05:00

    Video of the Day: Red Bull goes infrared

    FLIR, a Red Bull partner, captured some unique footage at the recent Gamma Racing Day in Assen.

    F1
  37. Wednesday 27 August 2014

  38. Vettel gets new race engineer for 2015 15:17

    Vettel gets new race engineer for 2015

    Red Bull has confirmed that Gianpiero Lambiase will become Sebastian Vettel's new race engineer from the 2015 season, after...

    F1
  39. Video: Rosberg's ice bucket challenge 13:30

    Video: Rosberg's ice bucket challenge

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg takes the ALS ice bucket challenge.

    F1
  40. Frijns management denies GP2 speculation 11:58

    Frijns management denies GP2 speculation

    The management team behind Robin Frijns has denied that the Dutchman is pondering a GP2 return. According to media...

    F1
  41. Yamaha 'confident' of Silverstone victory 11:15

    Yamaha 'confident' of Silverstone victory

    Yamaha Team Director Massimo Meregalli says he is "confident" that the Japanese manufacturer has what it takes to claim its...

    MotoGP
  42. McLaren admits drivers 'uncomfortable' over futures 10:33

    McLaren admits drivers 'uncomfortable' over futures

    McLaren admits that the uncertainty over its line-up for 2015 and beyond has left Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen feeling...

    F1
  43. Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Belgium 09:56

    Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Belgium

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net is this season running a feature series entitled Story behind...

    F1
  44. Renault with 'renewed confidence' for Monza 09:00

    Renault with 'renewed confidence' for Monza

    Renault has said it will go to the Italian Grand Prix next week with "renewed confidence". The French manufacturer took...

    F1
  45. Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 7 05:00

    Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 7

    Sauber's Head of Aerodynamics, Willem Toet, continues his talk on the science of F1 wind tunnel design.

    F1
more news