Nico Rosberg wins 2014 Australian GP

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG

As I write this belated race report take your mind back to a time where all fuel flow monitors were created equal…

Nico Rosberg cruised to a dominant victory in Melbourne to start what could be a dominant year for the Mercedes AMG team. And yet the headline story is the second place finish by Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo who became the first local to stand on the podium in his home race.

Also deserving of huge plaudits is Kevin Magnussen who earned his spot on the podium with a flaweless debut in his Mercedes-powered McLaren.

Jenson Button had to be content with fourth place and watching his junior teammate steal the limelight. You sense after the season Button and McLaren endured in 2013 both will be over the moon with these results.

Fernando Alonso went quietly about his business and finished fifth. On current form it will be a surprise to see Ferrari win a race in 2014, yet they will be there or thereabouts. They came close in 2009 of course, but can they again build a car commensurate with Alonso’s undoubted talent and guile?

On any other day Valtteri Bottas would be attracting plenty of attention. The young Finn, in only his second season, drove like a man possessed to grab sixth place. His inexperience was on show when he clipped the wall and broke a wheel—and luckily nothing else—but he was able to recover from that, and a five place grid penalty for a pre-race gearbox change, to earn himself some very handy championship points. Without his error he would have found himself fighting for position with two world champions. Not bad after starting from P15.

Elsewhere Daniil Kvyat was another debutant to do well, crossing the line in tenth place for Toro Rosso. He was unable to upset his teammate, though, and Jean-Eric Vergne finished one place ahead in a pleasing result for the junior Red Bull outift. Renault will also be pleased to see three of its cars in the top 10, given four failed to finish (three due to mechanical issues).

Kamui Kobayashi’s return to F1 with Caterham lasted one corner and he took the Williams of Felipe Massa into the gravel with him.

After the race the crowd went wild for Dan Ricciardo as he accepted his trophy for second place. It was a great moment for F1 and motorsport in Australia.

And now is the moment we have to remind you all that Ricciardo’s podium moment in the setting sun was taken away from him by the FIA late in the night after declaring his car had “exceeded consistently the maximum fuel flow of 100kg/h”.

Our Daniel was disqualified and all other drivers move up one position. Ricciardo and Red Bull have no world championship points.

Red Bull have said they will appeal the FIA’s decision and were it not for the fact that the FIA spoke to Red Bull during the race to warn them that Daniel’s car was in breach of the regulations and to fix the problem we might think they were half a chance to have Daniel’s P2 reinstated.

Red Bull will claim they were just doing what they needed to do to remain competetive in spite of (what they will say is) a dodgy fuel flow monitor and that they didn’t actually break any rules.

We don’t expect there will be any joy for Daniel and his team.

If nothing else we do know that the RB10 can go the full race distance and, more tellingly perhaps, that Daniel has the pace to mix it with the best, including the four-time world champ on the other side of the garage.

That gives us hope that someone may be able to challenge Mercedes at some stage during 2014.

2014 Australian Grand Prix final placings*

  1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG – (57 Laps) 1:32:58.710 (25 pts)
  2. Kevin Magnussen McLaren – +26.7 secs (18 pts)
  3. Jenson Button McLaren – +30.0 secs (15 pts)
  4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari – +35.2 secs (12 pts)
  5. Valtteri Bottas Williams – +47.6 secs (10 pts)
  6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India – +50.7 secs (8 pts)
  7. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari – +57.6 secs (6 pts)
  8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – +60.4 secs (4 pts)
  9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso – +63.5 secs (2 pts)
  10. Sergio Perez Force India – +85.9 secs (1 pt)
  11. Adrian Sutil Sauber – +1 Lap
  12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – +1 Lap
  13. Max Chilton Marussia – +2 Laps

Retired/not classified
Jules Bianchi Marussia – +8 Laps
Romain Grosjean Lotus – (43 Laps) ERS
Pastor Maldonado Lotus – (29 Laps) ERS
Marcus Ericsson Caterham – (27 Laps) Oil pressure
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull – (3 Laps) Power unit
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG – (2 Laps) Engine
Felipe Massa Williams – (0 Laps) Accident
Kamui Kobayashi Caterham – (0 Laps) Accident
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull – +24.5 secs (DSQ)

*While we can pretend in our report that Daniel’s result stands the leaderboard doesn’t lie; Ricciardo originally finished second but was excluded after his car was found to have exceeded the maximum permitted fuel flow rate.

2014 F1 world championship – Drivers (Top 10)

  1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG – 25
  2. Kevin Magnussen McLaren – 18
  3. Jenson Button McLaren – 15
  4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari – 12
  5. Valtteri Bottas Williams – 10
  6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India – 8
  7. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari – 6
  8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – 4
  9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso – 2
  10. Sergio Perez Force India – 1

2014 F1 world championship – Constructors

  1. McLaren-Mercedes – 33
  2. Mercedes – 25
  3. Ferrari – 18
  4. Williams-Mercedes – 10
  5. Force India-Mercedes – 9
  6. STR-Renault – 6