Formula 1 News

Australian Grand Prix: driver review

After an action packed season opener in Melbourne, we review each drivers race.
Sunday, March 16, 2014


March 16, 2014 (F1 Plus / Rosie Baillie) - Heading into the season opener of a new era of Formula One, no one really knew what to expect and the Australian Grand Prix proved to be an exciting adventure into the unknown.


We take a look at how each driver did at the opening round of the 2014 season.


Note that all drivers that are classified apart from Nico Rosberg have gained a position due to Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification.


1. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 25 Points

Most people seemed to have teammate Lewis Hamilton pegged for the win, but it was the German driver who took the win at Albert Park.


Rosberg made a brilliant start climbing from third to first on the opening lap. From then on he drove a controlled race to take his fourth career win.


‘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.’ Rosberg said.


2. Kevin Magnussen - McLaren - 18 points

A fantastic start to his F1 career saw Magnussen take the third step on the podium after qualifying fourth. Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification means Magnussen is promoted to second.


On the opening lap Magnussen passed Lewis Hamilton for third and remained there for the rest of the race. Towards the end of the race he began closing in on Ricciardo but fuel saving meant he wasn’t able to get close enough to try and make a pass for second place.


Magnussen thanked the team for their efforts on the podium saying, ‘I just had exactly what I needed the whole race.’.


3. Jenson Button - McLaren - 15 points

The McLaren driver dashed into the pits upon hearing that the Safety Car had been deployed and managed to make up three places.


Button held onto his position and looked as if he might be able to pressure and pass teammate Magnussen at one point.


The performance of both Button and Magnussen puts McLaren top of the constructors’ championship and if Sunday’s performance is anything to go by, the MP4-29 looks like a vast improvement on its predecessor.


Ricciardo’s post-race qualification now means that Button finishes on the podium.


4. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 12 points

Considering the Ferrari’s weren’t running at full power a fifth place (he is promoted to fourth due to Ricciardo’s disqualification) finish for Alonso is pretty impressive.


The Spaniard said he was happy that both cars reached the finish line but the gap to the race winner was too big and needed to be closed.


35 seconds down on the leader is too big a gap and to work out what we need to do to close that gap, we will need to analyse the race, work out what are the strong and weak points on the car and with that in mind, the laps I did behind Nico can provide very useful information.’ said Alonso.


5. Valtteri Bottas - Williams - 10 points

The Finn’s fifth place finish means that Williams have already scored more points in 2014 than they did in total during 2013.


Bottas started 15th and was up to 10th by the start of the second lap. The Finn made some great passes and was up in fifth by lap nine and looked as if he could be on track for a podium.


A tap to the wall resulted in his right rear tyre coming off and left him limping back to the pits. He then went on to work his way back to the front of the grid.


6. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India - 8 points

On his first race back with the team, Hulkenberg finished seventh and was later promoted to sixth following Ricciardo’s disqualification.


The German struggled with graining on the front left tyres when using the soft tyres, which meant he wasn’t able to push as hard during his first two stints.


Hulkenberg said his finishing position was a positive way to start the season but felt their competitors had better pace than them right now.


‘it looks like some of the cars around us have a bit more pace at the moment.’ Hulkenberg said.


7. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 6 points

Like his teammate Alonso, Raikkonen’s car was not running at full power either due to an electrical problem.


The Finn suffered with graining on his front tyres which left his car with little grip.


The speed was good, but at one point I was suffering with graining on the front tyres, I had very little grip and a lot of understeer. From then on, the car’s handling was not the same.’ said Raikkonen.


Raikkonen initially finished eighth but due to Ricciardo’s disqualification, he was gained a position.


8. Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso - 4 points

The Frenchman’s ninth place finish was converted to an eighth place finish following Ricciardo’s disqualification.


Vergne was happy with his finish, especially as the car was difficult to drive and they had brake problems.


‘This is obviously a good result, even though the car was very difficult to drive. We had problems with the brakes which made us lose a lot of time but at the end we are all satisfied to finish the race with two cars in the points.’ Vergne said.


9. Daniil Kvyat - Toro Rosso - 2 points

The Russian had an impressive start to his F1 career initially picking up one point but Ricciardo’s disqualification means he now picks up two points.


He began closing in on teammate Vergne towards the end of the race but was unable to seal the deal as he had to save fuel.


Kvyat said it felt ‘amazing’ to pick up points during his debut race.


‘I never expected to score a point in my first race, so it feels amazing.’ Kvyat said.


10. Sergio Perez - Force India - 1 point

The Mexican didn’t have a great start after former teammate Esteban Gutierrez made contact with him, giving him a puncture. The early pit stop put Perez back in further down the field and he had to work his way forward from there.


He was unable to match his teammates performance and was disappointed to have not scored points at the first round of the season. Ricciardo’s disqualification means that Perez is now 10th and picks up the last point.


11. Adrian Sutil - Sauber

Powertrain issues meant the German driver had a slow opening stint. Force India then decided to switch Sutil to a one stop strategy after the Safety Car was deployed, but it didn’t work out quite as well as planned.


On top of that Sutil said the car wasn’t quick enough but he did reach his goal of finishing the race.


‘In addition we were simply too slow, but we managed to finish the race, which was our goal.’ Sutil said.


12. Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber

After qualifying 20th, the young Mexican did a good job of finishing 12th. He originally finished 13th but Ricciardo’s disqualification meant he gained a place.


Like his teammate, Gutierrez said the car was lacking speed, specially on the straights.


‘In general we are missing speed and it’s a challenge to be able to compete at the front like this.’ he said.


‘As a team, we need to make sure we put everything together because the lack of speed we have on the straight is quite significant.’


13. Max Chilton - Marussia

The Briton initially finished 14th but Ricciardo’s disqualification means he moves up to 13th. It may be a last place finish but Chilton’s 13th place could prove crucial to the team in the constructors’ championship later in the year.


After qualifying 17th Chilton was forced to start from the pitlane behind Grosjean after he got stuck on the grid just before the opening lap.


Not classified - Jules Bianchi - Marussia

The Frenchman stopped on the grid just before the lights went out, forcing everyone to do another warmup lap.


Bianchi rejoined the race a few laps in and spent the rest of the race a few laps down. Though he was never in contention for points, his running will have given the team crucial information they can use to move forward.


Retired - Romain Grosjean - Lotus

He started the race from the pitlane as Lotus broke parc ferme to work on his car. Things went from bad to worse when he received a drive through penalty for leaving his garage prior to the 15 minute signal.


Grosjean managed to work his way up to 12th before being forced to retire from the race with a KERS issue.


Retired - Pastor Maldonado - Lotus

The Venezuelan was running towards the back of the grid when he was forced to retire due to a KERS issue, making it a double retirement for Lotus.


Retired - Marcus Ericsson - Caterham

Unlike the other rookies on the grid the Swede didn’t have a great first race and retired on lap 29 with an oil pressure issue.


Ericsson was running ahead of Chilton while he was in the race and felt that without the oil pressure issue, he could have finished ahead of him.


‘My first ever live pitstop a Grand Prix went really well but then unfortunately an oil pressure problem forced us to stop – we don’t know what caused that yet but if we hadn’t had that I think we’d have finished ahead of the Marussias as I was pretty comfortable ahead of Chilton until the issue.’ he said.


Retired - Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

While the reigning world champion wasn’t expected to win the race, it was a surprise to see him retire just five laps in with engine problems.


Retired - Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes

After sticking it on pole and having a good weekend all round, Hamilton was the favourite to win the Australian Grand Prix. The Briton was forced to retire on lap three due to a misfiring cylinder.


‘It’s unfortunate but that’s racing and we will recover from this. We have a great car and engine, and the pace was really strong today as Nico clearly showed.’


Retired - Felipe Massa - Williams

The Brazilian’s race was over before it had even started when Kamui Kobayashi ran into the back of his car, sending him off into the first corner.


Massa was furious when interviewed during the race and told Sky Sports F1 that he didn’t think what Kobayashi did was any different to what Grosjean did at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix and received a race ban for.


Retired - Kamui Kobayashi - Caterham

A retirement probably wasn’t what Kobayashi had in mind on his return to the sport. Heading into the first corner he was unable to stop and clipped Raikkonen.


More worryingly perhaps, the Caterham’s nose went right under the back of Massa’s car which sent him off at the first corner.


Kobayashi initially apologised, believing it was his fault but it later turned out that he had no rear brakes going into the first corner.



Disqualified - Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing

It was a dream come true for Ricciardo when he stepped onto the podium to take second place at his home race.


Unfortunately, five hours later he was disqualified after it was discovered that his car was exceeding the fuel flow rate.


Red Bull Racing have appealed the decision and released a statement expressing that they feel confident that they have done nothing wrong.


‘Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane. The Team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.’



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