Nico Rosberg claimed the fourth Formula One victory of his career in an action-packed start to the season in Australia. Lewis Hamilton began the race in pole position, but had to retire on just his third lap due to a misfiring cylinder and from that point on, his team-mate assumed complete control of the race to put Mercedes in the frame as potential challengers for the Constructors’ Championship.
Despite finishing qualifying in third, Rosberg took the lead at the very first corner and never looked like relinquishing his advantage. His job was made easier by a host of early retirements including Hamilton, and current World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Finishing behind Rosberg was Red Bull debutant Daniel Ricciardo, who had thought he had been awarded second place, only to be disqualified around six hours after the race had finished because he had broken fuel consumption rules. This meant that Kevin Magnussen, in his first ever Formula One outing, was promoted in his place, while Jenson Button made up the podium places, edging out Fernando Alonso. Fellow Briton Max Chilton finished twelfth.
Another success story was Valtteri Bottas who, having begun his maiden race in tenth position, had a nightmare start when he collided with the wall and lost one of his back wheels. However, he remarkably managed to haul his way up the field and finished fifth.
With eight drivers failing to finish the race, it was certainly an eventful start to the season.
What is interesting is that Red Bull may struggle to replicate their march to the title this time around. The next leg will take place in Kuala Lumpur in two weeks’ time.
Image courtesy of Vavel