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Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1 season 2014

Circuit information
CircuitAlbert Park
TimezoneGMT +10:00
Race debut1996
Length5.303 km
Distance307.574 km
Line offset0.000 km

The first race of the 2014 season was hotly anticipated, as it was the first opportunity to see how the drivers and teams coped with all the changes to the regulations and within their own organisations. It was a weekend only slightly affected by rain, leaving the race to unfold naturally with one safety car, seven retirements and one driver not classified, plus a post-event disqualification.

Event overview

The early practice sessions in Melbourne showed the form from pre-season testing was continuing. Mercedes power units were performing well, whilst Renault-powered cars looked set to struggle. It was Lewis Hamilton though, in the works Mercedes, who became the first driver to stop out on track in first practice, with what the team deemed a simple problem to fix.

It wasn’t so easy for Esteban Gutiérrez and Valtteri Bottas, who both found themselves with a grid penalty after third practice on Saturday. The pair had limited running due to gearbox issues on their Sauber and Williams respectively, and a subsequent five place grid drop was imposed for changing the components.

It didn’t make a huge difference to Gutiérrez, as the Sauber driver dropped out in first qualifying. He was joined by both Lotus drivers, who had suffered from very limited running throughout practice. Pastor Maldonado didn’t complete a full lap, therefore failing to qualify with a lap time. The FIA later gave him dispensation to race, despite being outside the 107% cut off.

Kimi Räikkönen struggled in the damp conditions, and towards the end of the second session crashed his Ferrari into the wall. That brought out yellow flags, which caused some post-race concern in the stewards office, but eventually no one was found to have failed to slow for the sector in question. Surprisingly, Sebastian Vettel was one of the drivers who couldn’t improve on his own time, and dropped out of the top ten – the first time he’d failed to reach Q2 since midway through 2012.

At the front, it was Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton vying to be the best Mercedes driver out there, with Daniel Ricciardo putting on a good show for the home crown. Hamilton snatched pole position from the Australian, with Rosberg settling in on the second row of the grid. The German was alongside a very impressive Kevin Magnussen, who outperformed his teammate and snapped up fourth place.

An extra formation lap had to be completed before the race began on Sunday, with both Marussia drivers failing to get off the grid. They joined Romain Grosjean starting in the pit lane. Out on track, when the lights eventually went out, Rosberg dashed forward from his third place to take the lead.

Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham lost braking power, which sent the Japanese driver straight on into the first corner. He collected Felipe Massa along the way, knocking them both out of the race. The Williams team focused their hopes on Valtteri Bottas, who was putting in a good performance, until he made contact with the wall and had to pit unexpectedly. After the mechanics patched him up, he made it back up to sixth place, which wasn’t a bad result for the team.

Lewis Hamilton’s luck went from bad to worse, as within five laps he was out of the race, losing power and coasting to a halt. Sebastian Vettel suffered a similar fate, dropping out of the running early on. Daniel Ricciardo was having a better time of it, chasing Nico Rosberg for the lead. The German had a huge advantage, however, and easily took the chequered flag, ahead of the home favourite. Behind them, Kevin Magnussen had held his own on his debut race to pick up a trophy from third place. Jenson Button was close behind, helping the team pick up enough points to move into the lead of the championship. The rest of the top ten was locked out by Ferrari, Force India and Toro Rosso – Daniil Kvyat also picking up points on his debut.

Neither Lotus driver made it to the end of the race, but both completed far more running than they had at any point during the weekend. Marcus Ericsson also retired, making it a double DNF for Caterham as well. Marussia saw Max Chilton cross the line for another classified finish. Jules Bianchi saw the chequered flag but wasn’t classified, having been stuck in the garage at the start and finishing eight laps down.

After the race, the stewards took a closer look at the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, and deemed the car had an illegal fuel flow greater than that allowed in the regulations. They disqualified him from the race results, bumping everyone else up a place. Red Bull confirmed their intention to appeal the decision.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
14 MarFridayFree Practice 101:30
GMT +00:00
GMT +11:00
Free Practice 205:30
GMT +00:00
GMT +11:00
15 MarSaturdayFree Practice 303:00
GMT +00:00
GMT +11:00
GMT +00:00
GMT +11:00
16 MarSundayGrand Prix06:00
GMT +00:00
GMT +11:00

All content in the series Australia 2014