Rosberg Takes Opener In Australia

Nico Rosberg crosses the finish line to win the Grand Prix of Australia Sunday in Melbourne. The German won the race by over 24 seconds ahead of the nearest finisher. [Photo by Getty Images]

MELBOURNE, Australia- Just when many thought that pole sitter Lewis Hamilton could be the first winner Sunday at the Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park, the first race of the new turbo era went to another driver—His teammate Nico Rosberg.

The German took the lead from the start of the race and never let go, finishing up with a 24 and a half second gap over an impressive Daniel Riccardo, who just edged out McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen for second. Unfortunately, Riccardo was disqualified later for exceeding the fuel flow rate. Team Principal Christian Horner of Red Bull stated that he will appeal the decision and expects to overturn the verdict.

“As we got into the race we could see a significant discrepancy between what the sensor was reading and our fuel flow, which is the actual injection of fuel into the engine, was stating”. Said Horner. “That is where there is a difference of opinion.”

Things got exciting right at the start as well, with the first incident happening even before the starting lights went out as Max Chilton stalled his Marussia on the warm up lap, and teammate Jules Bianchi and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean also encountered the same situation, leaving all three drivers to begin the race from the pit lane.

Once the race got under way, Rosberg took advantage of both Hamilton and Riccardo slow starts, and shot into the lead. However, the first right hand turn has always caused a lot of trouble, and Kamui Kobyaschi found this out by braking too late and striking Felipe Massa, putting both out of the race. Since the incident happened where both cars ended up off the track, the race continued under the green flag. Sebastian Vettel, the defending and four time world champion, also dropped down the grid, complaining of low power. Hamilton did not fare any better, and by lap four, was out of the race. One lap later, it was Vettel’s turn to depart as the complete failure of the power unit could not take him any further.

Rosberg held the first ten laps of the race with a four second lead over Riccardo, until two laps later when Valterri Bottas stuck the turn ten wall slightly, which was good enough to flatten his right rear tire. Bottas managed to cruise back to the pit lane, but his incident left part of a rim out on the track, which brought out the safety car for five more laps.

But the restart only fueled Rosberg’s desire to win even more, as the German increased his lead to 10 seconds by lap 29 , and continued even further ahead, completing the race distance with a final gap of over 24 seconds over Riccardo.

Jenson Button had a tough start but remained consistent to finish fourth in his McLaren, while Fernando Alonso had a quiet day to take fifth. Bottas recovered for his incident earlier in the race to finish sixth, while Nico Hulkenberg took seventh in his Force India entry. Kimi Raikkonen finished in eighth, while the two Toro Rosso drivers, Jean –Eric Vergne and Dani Kvyat, rounded up the top ten respectively.

Rosberg afterwards thanked all the people responsible that worked hard for him thoughout the winter that helped in his first win of the season.

“That was an incredible day for us.” He said. “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.”

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