Formula One: Ricciardo disqualified for breach of fuel regulations after finishing second in the Australian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg opened the 2014 Formula One season with a comfortable victory in an otherwise turbulent Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Rosberg took over the lead at the very start and was never really challenged, taking the chequered flag 24.5 seconds ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in Red Bull at Albert Park in Melbourne.

Ricciardo was subsequently disqualified by the race stewards after officials discovered his car consistently exceeded the permitted fuel flow rate.

“It’s been an amazing day. Everybody worked so hard over the winter and having such a fast Silver Arrow is great. It means a lot to be atop the podium,” said Rosberg.

“Now we have to learn from everything we experienced here and improve. The competitors will not be sleeping.”

Local favourite Ricciardo being disqualified meant second place went to Formula One debutant Kevin Magnussen in his McLaren.

“It’s hard to believe. It seems so surreal. What can I say? The car was so much better than it’s ever been. A big congratulations to the team,” said Magnussen.

Jenson Button also benefitted from Ricciardo’s disqualification as he was promoted to the third podium place in the other McLaren ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas in Williams.

Four-time reigning champion Sebastian Vettel went out with power problems in his Red Bull in the fifth lap while pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton retired a lap earlier in his Mercedes.

“We knew reliability could be an issue but of course it surprises you when it happens. But it’s early stages and there’s a long way to go so I will remain positive and focus on the next race,” Hamilton said.

Positive start for Force India

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg scored six points with a seventh-place finish. Teammate Sergio Perez just missed out on points in 11th.

Hulkenburg, who started seventh, indulged in fighting for fourth position throughout the race with the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. The German did the first 33 laps of the race on soft tyres and completed the last 24 on mediums.

“Seventh place is a positive way to start the season. I was very happy to see the chequered flag — the first time I’ve done so in Melbourne — and it’s important to score some good points early on. I made a strong start and enjoyed good track position for the first two stints when I was running up in fourth,” said Hulkenburg.

“It was a shame to lose two positions at my second stop but it looks like some of the cars around us have a bit more pace at the moment. I want to thank the team for the amazing job they’ve done over the winter and this weekend to get us to this point.”

RELATED NEWS

Red Bull confident in Ricciardo appealMarch 17, 2014