Round 1 of the battle of the Mercedes men in Bahrain went in favour of the German Nico Rosberg as the world championship leader beat his teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole for the first time this season. Rosberg's fastest lap was 0.279 seconds quicker than Hamilton, who had to abort his final attempt in qualifying after making an uncharacteristic error in turn 1. Daniel Ricciardo continued his strong showing in qualifying by finishing third quickest, but was well behind the Mercedes duo, more than half a second shy of Hamilton's best time. The unfortunate Australian though has a 10 place penalty carried forward from Malaysia for an unsafe pit release, a decision by the FIA that is more than a touch harsh because the pit crew error in Malaysia already cost him a race, and now he's effectively being penalized twice.
Pre-season favourite Lewis Hamilton got himself on the scoreboard in the Drivers' Championship in style today with a thumping start to finish win in what was a surprisingly largely dry Malaysian Grand Prix. It was a perfect day for Mercedes, with championship leader Nico Rosberg completing a perfect 1-2 for the German manufacturer with Rosberg grabbing second place from Sebastian Vettel early in the race and having more than enough about him to coast home rather comfortably behind his runaway teammate.
Vettel too notched up his first points of the new season with the reigning 4-time World Champion taking the last step of the podium. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo continued to have some absolutely awful luck, blown what should have been a comfortable top five finish thanks to a tyre change which went awry and effectively cost him a lap. As a result, Fernando Alonso continued to his mission of making the best of an ordinary car to take fourth place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India, who converted his strong qualifying position into a fantastic points finish.
Pre-season favourite Lewis Hamilton picked up his second pole position of the season, edging out reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel to top spot in Qualifying at the Malaysian Grand Prix. On what was a typically wet outing in Malaysia, Hamilton's teammate and current world championship leader Nico Rosberg will line-up just behind the Briton in third place along the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Rosberg was a comfortable 0.125 secs ahead of Alonso.
The top six was completed by the leading three constructors themselves with Red Bull newcomer Daniel Ricciardo, who was disappointingly stripped off second place in Australia, taking fifth place ahead of popular Ferrari-returnee Kimi Raikkonen.
A dream debut for Daniel Ricciardo in Red Bull Racing at the Australian Grand Prix soon turned into a nightmare as his second place finish was wiped away from e record books by the FIA for allegedly having breached fuel consumption rules.
Ricciardo finished second at the season opening Australian Grand Prix earlier today with a virtuoso drive, only to learn later that his team had cut corners on the rules. Red Bull on their part though declare that there has been no wrongdoing on their part and they will appeal the FIA's decision.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said about the matter, "I'm extremely disappointed, quite surprised and we will of course appeal. Hopefully through the appeal process, it will be clear the car has conformed at all times with the regulations and we have complied with technical regulations."
As things stand, McLaren are the beneficiaries of the FIA's decision with both their cars being moved up to the podium places with Kevin Magnussen finishing second ahead of his more illustrious teammate Jenson Button, who has been promoted to third. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won this morning's race.
In what can only be described as a dream start to the 2014 Formula One season, the Australian Grand Prix ended with three 'second string' drivers on the podium with Mercedes leading the way with an expected win, but it was Germany's Nico Rosbeg and not Lewis Hamilton who stood on the top step of the podium. Keeping that theme going was local lad Daniel Ricciardo, who finished in second place in his maiden drive in the Red Bull Racing car, while Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen comfortably beat his teammate Jenson Button in the McLaren to grab the last step on the podium.
The race itself will be remembered for those who didn't finish as much as for those who did as pole position man and pre-race favourite Lewis Hamilton retired on lap 3 with an engine problem, while reigning 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel was also forced out of the race a few laps later with battery and engine issues.
Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will start from the back of the grid for the season opening Australian Grand Prix after a tough and trying qualifying session at Albert Park. Romain completed six laps in Q1, however a mapping issue prevented him from setting a lap faster than the 21st quickest. Technical issues with Pastor’s car prevented him from setting a timed lap.
Formula One kickstarted the 2014 season with an almighty bang today at Australia with an absolutely thrilling qualifying session that had its fair share of shocks, surprises and crashes. What wasn't a surprise was the outcome at the very end as pre-season favourite Lewis Hamilton ended the day in Pole Position, but it was the Red Bull of 24 year old local lad Daniel Ricciardo which provided most of the excitement as the happy go lucky Perth lad split the Mercedes cars at the head of the field and came perilously close to stealing pole position himself.
Nico Rosberg, in other Mercedes car, will be disappointed with having to make do with being on Row 2 of the grid after a late excursion onto the grass cost him dearly. Mercedes will be favourites though heading into the race tomorrow to snatch a 1-2, unless the weather plays havoc like it did today.
- Williams to run 20th Anniversary Senna Logo for 2014
- Vettel does three laps on slow opening day in Jerez
- Caterham F1 Team announce 2014 Driver lineup
- Sergio Perez joins Force India in multi-year deal
- Williams F1 Team Announces Strengthened Aerodynamics Team for the 2014 Season
- McLaren's Kevin Magnussen gearing up for debut F1 season
- Red Bull Racing confirms 2014 test driver line-up
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