Rosberg dominates season opener at Melbourne

By on

Nico Rosberg has won the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne, comfortably leading throughout the entire race. Country hero Daniel Ricciardo finished second while rookie Kevin Magnussen finished in third place.

The beginning of the warmup lap immediately caused some issues with Chilton stuck on the starting grid, unable to get off the line. The Caterham starting just behind him also got off badly but still managed to get away. Romain Grosjean meanwhile was already set to start from the pitlane.

By the time the lights had to go out for the actual start, Bianchi stalled on the grid, requiring another formation lap. This allowed stewards recover the second Marussia as well and line him up in the pitlane to attempt to start from there.

This time things went fine, but in the first corner, Massa is out already having received a punch from Kobayashi who eliminated himself as well. Two turns further down the road there's another accident, albeit minor. This did require most drivers behind Button to back down, soon creating a gap of 7 seconds between Button who in 11th and the rest of the field, led by Adrian Sutil.

Meawhile, Nico Rosberg made by far the best start, shooting from third to first. Hamilton slotted into second, followed by Ricciardo, Magnussen and then Hulkenberg. The latter managed to pass Alonso at the start and went on to look very impressive in the next few laps.

4 laps into the race, Hamilton is asked to end his race due to an engine problem. Sebastian Vettel also abandons two laps later having complained since the start of the race about a lack of electric power on top of the power created by the combustion engine.

By lap 8, Bottas worked his way up through the field and went on to challenge Alonso for 5th. The Finn looked immensely quick but on lap 10 overcooked the exit out of turn 13, brushing the wall and causing a puncture. He managed to return to the pits without too much difficulties and is lucky that his tyre left on track could not be cleared safely.

On lap 12, the safety car is out, triggering a large number of pitstops. Following the stops where Raikkonen was the biggest loser due to being so close behind Alonso, positions are Rosberg, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Button, Vergne, Raikkonen, Sutil, Kvyat, Maldonado, Ericsson, Grosjean, Chilton, Gutierrez, Bottas, Perez and Bianchi.

At the end of lap 15, the safety car is back in and Nico Rosberg immediately banged in a few stunning lap, gaining 5.5 seconds on Ricciardo by lap 18.

Rain was meanwhile announced at a few corners, but nothing went on out on track.

By lap 27, Bottas returned to 9th and was rapidly coming closer to the cars ahead. Interestingly, the cars from 4th to 8th are all very close, seemingly held up slightly by Hulkenberg. Alonso however doesn't appear to be able to get past the Mercedes powered Force India, even with DRS available all the time.

On lap 29, Ericsson is asked to stop the car as the his Renault engine lost oil pressure. As he kindly did so, the second Caterham is out of the race and the team can start packing up. Another 2 laps later, Maldondo parks his Lotus, leaving 15 cars running in this race.

Button meanwhile is the first to make his final stop, switching from option to prime tyres on lap 33. Perez does something similar, although he's switching from prime to option. One lap later Hulkenberg and Vergne enter the pits, gaining a place to both Ferrari cars. The gap between the two is around 5 seconds while Bottas is very close behind Raikkonen.

On lap 36, Raikkonen completely misses his braking point, easily allowing Bottas to get past. At the end of that lap, Alonso pits and rejoins the track ahead of Hulkenberg, having run the entire race so far looking at Force India's diffuser. Jenson Button, who stopped two laps earlier however managed to jump both, slotting into 4th and leaving Alonso in 5th. The gap between them is around 3 seconds.

One lap later Bottas and Raikkonen pit without position switch.

Following the final stops, Rosberg is still comfortably leading, 16 seconds ahead of Ricciardo. Magnussen is third, less than a second behind Ricciardo. Button is fourth, ahead of Alonso, Hulkenberg, Vergne, Bottas, Raikkonen, Kvyat.

On lap 46 the second Lotus is also out of the race as Grosjean parks his car on the grass.

On lap 48 Bottas moves up to 7th thanks to a mistake of Vergne. The Frenchman had to give it all to keep the Williams driver at bay, but in the end he went just a bit too wide on the entry of the final corner, ending up with his left rear wheel in the gras and a sitting duch for Bottas. Only 4 laps later the Finn moves up another spot thanks to a DRS pass on Hulkenberg at the end of the main straight. Next up is Alonso, but the Spaniard is 12 seconds ahead with just 4 laps left.

As the chequered flag was waved, Rosberg crossed the finish line unthreatened, ahead of Ricciardo, Magnussen and Button. Alonso is the first Ferrari in 5th with Valtteri Bottas in 6th.


16Nico RosbergMercedes AMG58Winner325
*3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault58+24.5 secs2
220Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes58+26.7 secs418
322Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes58+30.0 secs1015
414Fernando AlonsoFerrari58+35.2 secs512
577Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes58+47.6 secs1510
627Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes58+50.7 secs78
77Kimi RäikkönenFerrari58+57.6 secs116
825Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault58+60.4 secs64
926Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault58+63.5 secs82
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes58+85.9 secs161
1199Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari57+1 Lap13
1221Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari57+1 Lap20
134Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari56+2 Laps17
Ret17Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari50+8 Laps18
Ret8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault44+14 Laps22
Ret13Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault30+28 Laps21
Ret9Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault28+30 Laps19
Ret1Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault4+54 Laps12
Ret44Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG3+55 Laps1
Ret19Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes--9
Ret10Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault--14

* Daniel Ricciardo finished second, but was later disqualified due to excessive fuel usage