By LOREN HAZELWOOD
Nico Rosberg crossing the line in Melbourne. Credit: AFP
After a strong pre-season testing, Formula One favourite Mercedes proved too strong at the weekend’s Grand Prix with driver Nico Rosberg taking the victory at Melbourne’s Albert Park street circuit.
Rosberg managed to win the first Grand Prix of the season by over 23 seconds, with Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo crossing the line in second place. However, he was later disqualified due to the fuel flow reading after the race.
Because of Ricciardo’s disqualification, McLaren’s rookie driver Kevin Magnussen stole the show, finishing second on the podium for his first ever Formula One race.
Mercedes was the strong favourite to win right from the start with driver Lewis Hamilton putting the car on pole position during qualifying.
The start of the race saw everything unfold, with Rosberg getting the jump and leading into the first corner.
Ricciardo was right behind in second place, making the country proud as he put the new Red Bull on the front row.
Turn one also saw the first crash for the season with Williams driver Felipe Massa being forced off the circuit after Kamui Kobayashi’s car had a rear brake-by-wire failure, causing Kobayashi’s Caterham to crash into the side of Massa.
With Rosberg and Ricciardo leading the pack, Hamilton started to fall backwards with the Mercedes V6 Turbo-charged engine having a failing cylinder, forcing him to retire early.
Reliability issues also saw current world champion Sebastian Vettel having to retire with the car down on power, while the two Lotus cars raced by Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado both stopped on the circuit with few laps to spare.
The battle of the race was further down the field with William’s driver Valtteri Bottas making a great comeback and managing to finish in fifth position after brushing the wall and damaging his rear right tyre.
McLaren’s new car was looking strong, with driver Jenson Button also finishing on the podium due to Ricciardo’s after-race penalty.
Meanwhile Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in fourth place.
German Rosberg currently leads the Formula One Drivers’ Championship, with Round Two of the FIA Formula One Championship being held at Malaysia from 28-30 March.