Nico Rosberg dominated the season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix as unreliability played dividends in what was a dramatic race.
Taking the lead from Hamilton off the line, the German never looked back as he comfortably finished 24.5 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, as the pole sitter dropped down the order before retiring on lap 3 due to a misfiring cylinder.
There was disappointment too for defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel who also succumbed to an engine failure, after stating: “this is ridiculous, guys” when struggling to pass Chilton’s Marussia.
Red Bull did show signs of overcoming pre-season testing issues as debutant Daniel Ricciardo claimed second place at his home Grand Prix. Kevin Magnussen became the first Danish driver to step onto the podium for McLaren, whilst Button finished fourth.
The Dane impressed on his first race for the Woking based outfit, a great start saw him overtake Hamilton into turn one, a move which emulated the former McLaren driver’s debut back in 2007 at the same track.
Magnussen maintained a fast pace throughout the race and hounded down the home favourite and equally impressive Ricciardo in the final few laps, but didn’t quite have enough to snatch second.
Both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen overcame ‘technical problems’ to finish fifth and eighth respectively, with the Force India of Hulkenberg finishing in a respectable seventh place.
Lotus endured a dreadful start to the season as both cars failed to finish, whilst the Williams of Felipe Massa was taken out by an over enthusiastic Kamui Kobayashi, who judged his breaking horribly wrong into the first corner.
And the Brazilian was quick to condemn Kobayashi: “”I don’t see a difference between what happened to his start and what happened to Grosjean when he did a crazy start at Spa.”
When asked of what action should be taken against the Caterham driver, he replied: “I hope they give a hard penalty because you cannot do that.”
Massa’s team mate Bottas had a storming race, showing the true potential of the much improved Williams as he recovered brilliantly from a puncture to claim sixth place.
The Finn, who received a 5 place grid penalty going into the race for a gearbox change, had been as high as sixth before contact with the wall left debris stricken across the track, bringing out the safety car in the process.
There was also a solid result for Toro Rosso, who collected the last of the points with an excellent performance coming from rookie Daniil Kvyat on his way to becoming the youngest ever driver to score a point in F1, at the age of just 19 years, 10 months and 18 days.
More retirements came in the shape of Bianchi and the second Caterham of Marcus Ericsson, as reliability woes resulted in only 14 cars finishing at an exciting spectacle in Melbourne.
The new era of turbo charged F1 is well and truly underway as the teams head to Malaysia in two weeks’ time.