Nico Rosberg underlined his championship prospects after taking an emphatic victory in the Australian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver led home Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in an encouraging start for F1’s new era.
Rosberg controlled the race after taking the lead at the start and won by a margin of 25 seconds. It is his fourth career win and it confirms that Mercedes have the quickest car this season. Despite that their reliability is questionable as shown by Lewis Hamilton.
The pole sitter experienced power problems immediately and was forced to retire the car after just three laps. World champion Sebastian Vettel had his run of nine successive wins ended after retirement. Vettel’s car was low on power from the start and the team, to his frustration, couldn’t save his race.
Englishman Jenson Button finished an impressive fourth in his first race since the death of his father. Button was followed home by Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas. A total of 14 cars finished the race which was more than anticipated in F1’s first step into its new era.
At the start, Hamilton’s car faults saw him fall from pole to 5th. In comparison, Rosberg made a stellar start in third and raced past both Hamilton and Ricciardo to take the lead. Further back, Felipe Massa’s debut for Williams ended in the gravel trap after he was clattered by the out of control Caterham of Kamui Kobayashi.
It was a fantastic weekend for Red Bull’s Ricciardo who drove a measured and assured race to win his first podium. He came under threat from Magnussen late in the race but for the majority he enjoyed an eventless afternoon. Magnussen also impressed on his F1 debut in a weekend where F1’s young drivers outshine the seasoned professionals.
After such an encouraging start to the season the race in Malaysia is highly anticipated. It’s reputation as a car breaker will really test the new cars reliability in what is going to be an eventful and dramatic opening few rounds to the season.