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03/07/2016 2016 Austrian Grand Prix - Sparks Fly in Spielberg

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29/05/2016 Hammertime in Monaco!

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01/05/2016 2016 Russian GP Review - Rosberg Domination

17/04/2016 2016 Chinese Grand Prix - Rosberg Demonstration

03/04/2016 Bahrain 2016: Stunning Debut.

20/03/2016 2016 Australian Grand Prix Review

Older stories here

Australian Grand Prix 2014

F1 is back! Melbourne Australia once again rang with the scream of the pinnacle of motorsport. For some, however, the return to the track brought them down to earth with a crash: Bottas started the year with a gearbox change, as did Gutierrez, dropping both drivers 5 places before their seasons even began.

The first ever 18-minute Q1 saw both wind and rain, the last scuppering Lotus just as Maldonado started a fast run that saw him repeatedly running off track. In the end the Enstone team were the two slowest cars in the session, with Chilton and Bianchi for Marussia finishing 17th and 18th, Gutierrez 19th but dropped to 21st due to his penalty, Ericsson 20th in the only Caterham to fall in Q1, then finally Grosjean and Maldonado.

Q2 was negated for the final 30 seconds, with Raikkonen finishing the session in the wall with his front wing in pieces. Although he was in the top 10 when he crashed he dropped to 12th behind Button's McLaren. Vettel could manage only 13th while his teammate finished the session 2nd. Sutil put the lead Sauber 14th, beating Kobayashi's Caterham and Perez' Force India.

Q3 saw its first 12-minute running, with both Mercedes, both Toro Rossos, both Williams', Hulkenberg's Force India, Alonso's Ferrari, Magnussen's McLaren, and – much to the fans' pleasure – Ricciardo's Red Bull. Kvyat was the second driver of the year to bin the car, wiping out the front wing but keeping the car fundamentally intact.

Hamilton stole pole from Ricciardo, the other Mercedes taking 3rd alongside Magnussen. 5th was Alonso alongside Vergne, teammate Kvyat 8th and Hulkenberg split the Toro Rossos. Williams ended up 9th and 10th, Massa ahead of Bottas, the latter dropping to 15th on the grid for Sunday's race.

Grosjean left the garage too early to make sure he got to the grid, earning a drive-through penalty before the season even began. Chilton joined him starting from the pit lane after the car choked on the formation lap, although starting at the same time as the rest of the grid would be too tall an order for the faster qualifying Marussia. However, the start was then aborted when the sister car also stalled giving the team ample time to get them both to the pit exit before the lights tried again to start the race. Unfortunately for Bianchi, complications meant he finally got going more than 5 laps down.

Carnage ensued in the first sector, Massa taken out by Kobayashi's Caterham failing to brake. Gutierrez lost half his wing at turn 3 while Vettel seemed to have no power. Hamilton was in 5th by the end of lap 2, the engineers briefly calling him to retire before changing their minds. At the end of the 3rd lap Hamilton voted to retire and pulled into the pits. Vettel somehow was carrying on with a similar lack of power despite now being behind Chilton, but that wasn't to last.

Bottas was on fire in the early laps, culminating in him taking 6th around the outside of turn 4 from Raikkonen's Ferrari. However, a little too much speed into turn 10 saw the rear-right tyre torn from the car. The Safety Car made its first appearance of the year, prompting Button to pit the McLaren. Rosberg's Mercedes did the same, followed by Ricciardo, Magnussen and Hulkenberg. Both Ferraris also took the opportunity.

Bottas cleared Gutierrez on the restart, Bianchi unlapping himself from teammate Chilton. He was 12th within a couple of laps, with only Maldonado and Kvyat between himself and points.

Rosberg was rubbing salt into Hamilton's wound, setting fastest lap after fastest lap as he pulled away from Ricciardo. Further back Bottas was warned of a hardware issue with his DRS. It did seem to work very effectively when used to clear Kvyat.

Ericsson ended Caterham's weekend rather prematurely, his car parking at turn 4. First blood to Marussia, therefore, in the battle of the younger teams. Maldonado parked the Lotus on lap 31, going about 30 laps longer than most expected either car to manage.

Hülkenberg and Vergne pitted on lap 33, covering Button from a lap earlier. The McLaren, however, did make the undercut work. Alonso elected not to cover the 2009 champion but was looking likely to also fall behind.

Bottas cleared Raikkonen for the second time after the Ferrari locked up yet again. Meanwhile Alonso lost out to Button but narrowly jumped Hulkenberg. The fight between Bottas and Raikkonen pitted together, Raikkonen locking up even at low speed on the pit entry. It later emerged that Ferrari were running with electrical problems on both cars – seemingly with the KERS given both cars had locking issues.

Magnussen pitted a lap later, coming out very close to Ricciardo.

Grosjean's KERS failed after 45 laps, causing the second Lotus retirement of the day.

Bottas took 7th from Vergne making a rare mistake, the Williams focusing in on Hulkenberg for the final 10 laps.

Raikkonen took 8th from Vergne, the Toro Rosso losing the back slightly into turn 13.

Nico Rosberg took a dominant victory by almost an entire pit stop from Daniel Ricciardo, taking a popular home podium. Magnussen in his debut race took 3rd, exactly as Hamilton did 7 years before. Button followed his teammate home in 4th, ahead of Alonso, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Vergne and the other super-rookie Kvyat. Perez, Sutil, Gutierrez and Chilton also finished, as did Bianchi although not classified. Retiring were Grosjean, Maldonado, Ericsson, Vettel, Hamilton, Massa and Kobayashi. The history books will also record that this was the 100th win for a Mercedes engine in Formula 1.

Sadly for Ricciardo he was subsequently disqualified due to fuel flow rate irregularities, thus promoting everyone up a position. As a result, Perez now takes the final point and McLaren lead the constructors' championship with 33 points over Mercedes' 25. Ferrari follow with 18 points, Williams with 10, Force India with 9 and finally Toro Rosso with 6.



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