F1 2014 Australian Grand Prix result: Rosberg wins, Hamilton retires

Nico Rosberg won the 2014 Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Nico Rosberg won the 2014 Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton retired from the season-opening 2014 Australian Grand Prix as Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg took the chequered flag in Melbourne.

Lewis Hamilton on track in his Mercedes ahead of 2014 Australian Grand Prix qualifying [Picture: Mer

Lewis Hamilton on track in his Mercedes ahead of 2014 Australian Grand Prix qualifying [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Mercedes-Benz

There were contrasting fortunes for the Silver Arrows pair around the Albert Park track in Melbourne today (Sunday).

Lewis Hamilton leads the 2014 Australian Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Mercedes teammate Ni

Lewis Hamilton leads the 2014 Australian Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Pole-sitter Hamilton retired after two laps after a problem with his power unit. The Mercedes team later confirmed is was an issue with a “misfiring cyclinder”.

Lewis Hamilton after claiming pole position for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix with Mercedes colleag

Lewis Hamilton after claiming pole position for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix with Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Mercedes-Benz

The official Mercedes AMG F1 Twitter feed, @MercedesAMGF1, tweeted during the race: “Update on @LewisHamilton: We were forced to retire his car due to a misfiring cylinder”

Nico Rosberg shows off his trophy for winning the 2014 Australian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz

Nico Rosberg shows off his trophy for winning the 2014 Australian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Mercedes-Benz

While the 2008 F1 world champion from Hertfordshire was forced to watch the action from the Mercedes hospitality area, teammate Rosberg coasted to victory, with the Silver Arrows challenger by far the fastest car out on track.

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The German Mercedes driver, third on the grid, was comfortably quicker than the rest and he took the chequered flag for his fourth F1 win by nearly half a minute.

Australian Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo took second place in his home race with 21-year-old McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen completing the podium on his F1 debut.

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However, Red Bull newcomer Ricciardo’s podium place in under threat due to a fuel consumption irregularity and FIA stewards are investigating. The Australian was subsequently disqualified but Red Bull are appealing the decision.

Jenson Button was fourth across the line as McLaren showed promising form after last year’s woes, the 2009 F1 world champion being elevated to third following Ricciardo’s penalty.

Fernando Alonso was fifth for Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas sixth for Williams in the provisional results, before Ricciardo’s disqualification.

Having qualified fastest on Saturday, race favourite Hamilton was forced to retire his car after two laps owing to a misfiring cylinder, which had cost engine power since the start.

Hamilton said: “My start didn’t feel great today and I had a lot less power than usual when pulling away, so it was obvious immediately that something was wrong.

“It looks like we only had five cylinders firing and, while I wanted to keep going, we had to play safe and save the engine. It’s unfortunate but that’s racing and we will recover from this.”

Despite today’s mishap, Hamilton added: “We have a great car and engine, and the pace was really strong today as Nico clearly showed. Big congratulations to him and the team for achieving the win, it’s a fantastic result for us.

“Of course I’m disappointed with my own race and when I think about all the work that has gone on back at our factories, it’s tough to have a costly hiccup.

“However, we have achieved an incredible amount to get here, to be at the front and to be so competitive; we will bounce back and learn from this. There is a very long way to go this season.”

Grand Prix winner Rosberg claimed first place off the line and led every lap of the race to win by 24 seconds at the chequered flag.

Rosberg said: “That was an incredible day for us. To start the season with a win is unbelievable and I have to say a big thank you to everybody who was involved in building our car over the winter.

“I always dreamed of having such a strong Silver Arrow and now it seems we are there.

“In the race, everything went perfectly for me. My start was great and I was able to push from there until the end, with our fuel consumption well under control.

“However, despite our success today, we also know that there is still some work to do. We saw over the weekend that reliability is still a concern and it prevented us from having a strong two-car finish.

“We have two weeks to improve that. I am very much looking forward to Malaysia and I would love to race again tomorrow.”

There were mixed emotions for Mercedes Motorsport chief Toto Wolff.

He said: “It was a day of light and shadow for us. Nico did a perfect job this afternoon: a great start and a really controlled drive all the way to the final lap.

“He delivered the car’s performance how he needed to, when he needed to, and took a very composed and deserved victory.

“On the other side, we were disappointed to lose Lewis so early after a misfiring cylinder forced him to retire.

“He had done everything right this weekend until that point and it was a situation beyond his control.

“We know that reliability will be crucial to this long season and we will be working hard to improve the situation for the race in Malaysia.”

Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe echoed Wolff’s comments.

He said: “Today’s race was all about delivering on the potential we had shown in testing and on the hard work that has been put into this project since its beginning.

“It was fantastic to get the win on behalf of the hundreds of people in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart who have contributed to our performance over several years.

“A special mention must also go to Ross [Brawn]. I have come relatively late to this campaign and would like to thank him for the contribution he made in the years leading to this point, which we can now build upon.

“It was hugely disappointing for all of us that Lewis was not able to convert his pole position but this is a day to focus on our success rather than failures.

“We know that this season will be more of a marathon than a sprint and that reliability will play a decisive role. After taking a moment to savour this win, we will be hard at work to improve further for the next race in Malaysia.”

After an aborted start, there was mayhem when the race did get underway in Australia as Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa were involved in a collision at the first corner and the safety car was later deployed on lap 11 to allow marshals to clear debris from the track after Bottas brushed the wall at the exit of Turn 10.

Like Hamilton, Red Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel retired from the race in the opening stages.

Among the other non-finishers were struggling Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

It was a much better day for Hamilton’s old team McLaren, with both Magnussen and Button finishing on the podium after the stewards had disqualified Red Bull rookie Ricciardo.

Starting from fourth and 10th respectively, both McLaren drivers began the race on Pirelli’s Option tyre.

Magnussen stayed fourth in the opening laps despite a scary sideways moment as he powered off the start line, and Jenson ran in 11th place after steering clear of the first-corner chaos.

Both men gained a position after Hamilton’s retirement on lap three.

Button took full advantage of the race’s Safety Car on lap 11, and his first pitstop was incredibly well timed, allowing him to duck into the pitlane at the last moment on lap 11 to make his first stop, switching to another set of Options. He fully capitalised on the situation to emerge sixth.

His Danish colleague stopped a lap later – also under the Safety Car – and took on a set of Options.

Throughout the middle stint, both cars held position, Button sitting closely behind the battling Fernando Alonso, while Magnussen maintained a steady gap to second-placed Daniel Ricciardo.

McLaren boxed Button early, on lap 32, to switch to Primes, using the undercut to vault both Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg, and emerge fourth.

He began to close down his teammate, but his slightly older rubber meant he ultimately held this position until the flag.

Magnussen’s second stop on lap 37 allowed him to narrow the gap to Ricciardo. He closed to within a second, but was just unable to pass the Red Bull driver.

Nevertheless, as a result of Ricciardo’s exclusion, Kevin’s second-place finish makes him the most successful F1 rookie since Jacques Villeneuve managed the same feat in the 1996 Australian Grand Prix, also in Melbourne.

By virtue of getting both cars to the finish in high-scoring positions, McLaren also leads the constructors’ championship.

Rookie Magnussen was delighted to finish in the points. He said: “It’s just fantastic to be on the podium! What happened today just feels surreal. Being on the podium in the first race of my Formula 1 career – it’s amazing.

“Where do we go from here? Well, we need to continue improving. And I’m sure we will.

“I’ll try to learn as much as I can, and to carry this experience forward to Malaysia.

“It’s a completely different circuit, so there’s no guarantee we’ll have the sort of speed we showed here today, but I’m sure the team will keep pushing as hard as they’ve done already this year.

“I’m very happy, and I’m sure the guys are happy to be leading the constructors’ world championship, as indeed I am too. That’s a big boost, and the guys completely deserve it.”

After starting 10th, Button was also delighted with his finishing position and he congratulated his new McLaren teammate.

Button said: “It was a great drive by Kevin today – I had a lot of fun chasing him and Daniel down at the end of the race, but my tyres were several laps older than theirs, so it was always going to be tricky.

“Still, I had a good race – the car’s balance wasn’t quite right when I was in traffic – I struggled with understeer when I was behind people – but the car worked very well in clear air.”

He added: “As a team, I think we can be very proud of the job we did today. I don’t think we expected to be leading the constructors’ world championship at the end of this weekend, but I think the pace in the car is generally there: in clear air, we seem capable of fighting every team except one.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car in Malaysia.”

McLaren Mercedes racing director Eric Boullier added: “To be in first place in the constructors’ world championship is a very nice feeling, but let’s not forget that today’s race was only the first of 19, and I’ll be a lot happier if we’re still in first place in the constructors’ world championship after the 19th race!”

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