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Formula One

Rosberg wins Australian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg wins the season-opening race while second-placed Daniel Ricciardo is disqualified.

Last updated: 16 Mar 2014 17:19
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Rosberg celebrated his fourth race victory and first since last year's British Grand Prix [Reuters]

Nico Rosberg drew first blood for Mercedes in the new Formula One season with a dominant Australian Grand Prix victory after pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and world champion Sebastian Vettel retired with reliability problems.

The 28-year-old German capitalised on a brilliant start from third on the grid, snatching the lead before the first turn and roaring to a 24.5-second victory under a cloudy sky at Albert Park.

A really good engine, not much problem with fuel consumption. It just all worked perfectly.

Nico Rosberg, Australian GP winner

Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen finished third on his race debut for McLaren, but was boosted to second following Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification.

McLaren's Jenson Button finished fourth but was lifted to third.

The race began farcically, with Marussia driver Max Chilton stalling on the grid before the pre-start installation lap and his team mate Jules Bianchi then repeating the mishap, forcing a second formation lap.

Rosberg, tipped to duel with team mate Hamilton for the championship, celebrated his fourth race victory and first since last year's British Grand Prix, when he was also the beneficiary of technical mishaps to Hamilton and Vettel.

"The car was just really, really quick today," Rosberg told reporters, looking forward with relish to the next race in Malaysia in two weeks.

"A really good engine, not much problem with fuel consumption. It just all worked perfectly."

The gaping margin of victory underscored Mercedes' superior preparations for F1's technical revolution, which saw all teams struggle during winter testing with the new V6 turbocharged hybrid engines.

Hamilton, who snatched pole position at the end of a wet qualifying session on Saturday, noticeably lacked power on his start and was called in by his team to retire on the third lap.

FIA Formula 1 Constructors' World Championship
      Team          Points
1  McLaren           33
2  Mercedes         25
3  Ferrari              18
4  Williams           10
5  Force India         9

Australian Ricciardo disqualified

The race ended in controversy as initial second-place finisher Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull was disqualified for a breach of fuel regulations.

Ricciardo's exclusion from the results tarnished what had been a day of celebration for local fans, who were jubilant that the Red Bull driver had apparently become the first Australian to finish on the podium at his home race.

The team refused an instruction from the race's technical delegate Charlie Whiting to change the fuel-flow sensor before the race and a further request during the race to reduce the fuel flow.

Red Bull immediately announced it would appeal the decision.

"Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane,'' a Red Bull statement said.

"The team and (engine supplier) Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.''

 

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Source:
Reuters
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