The 2014 Formula 1 season has kicked off to a dramatic start as anticipated.
The 2014 Formula 1 season has kicked off to a dramatic start as anticipated. The introduction of the new turbo engines have certainly shaken up the sport and, as some would say, very much for the better. With four time constructors champions Red Bull having finally been knocked off their reigning pedestals it seems it is finally someone else’s turn to take to the podium.
Following abysmal testing sessions in both Jerez and Bahrain Red Bull were looking the unfavourable team to be backing going into the new season. Mercedes and McLaren were the favoured with the Mercedes engines faring better than those of the Renault, ensuring Lotus were also left out in the cold.
Shock and flaw
The season opener took place in Melbourne with an abundance of drama and shock performances. Mercedes were the favourites with Nico Rosberg taking the win. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was on form for the whole weekend and looked set for a podium finish but engine issues forced him into retirement early on in the race. Also left at the wayside was quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel who also suffered with engine failure.
The shock podium came in the form of rookie McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen who managed an incredible third. In his first race for Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo, who has replaced fellow Australian Mark Webber, produced a stunning drive to take second, making him the first Aussie to ever take a podium at a home race.
In a dramatic dispute surrounding new fuel sensors installed in the cars Ricciardo was later disqualified moving Jenson Button up into third. More surprise came as, at the end of the weekend, McLaren were leading the constructors championship and they looked on the up after an appalling 2013.
The new changes caused seven retirements in Melbourne as the drivers struggled to get used to their cars. Valtteri Bottas once again shined, finishing 5th in his Williams whilst Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat finished a highly respectable 9th. Retirements boosted Marussia driver Max Chilton into a fantastic 13th.
Mercedes: A dominant force
As Formula 1 took to Malaysia Mercedes were once again on top form with Hamilton back to his best as he took the win. Rosberg followed with Vettel able to make third. Force India upped their game with German Nico Hülkenberg finishing in 5th. Ferrari were off for most of the weekend and could not compete with the other top teams.
Into Bahrain it was another 1-2 for Mercedes with Hamilton narrowly stealing the top spot from Rosberg. The pair provided plenty of wheel on wheel action as they vied for the elusive win. The team in the pits created more excitement for the audience with their lack of team orders, trusting the drivers to take each other on sensibly.
Force India were once again on form with Sergio Perez finishing a fantastic third and taking their second ever podium finish. Perez was left without a drive at the end of 2013 when McLaren chose to sign Magnussen over the Mexican but he has surely begun to prove himself at a lower team. Hülkenberg once again finished 5th with Ricciardo and Vettel either side of him. Ferrari had another dire weekend with both Force India’s and Williams’ finishing ahead of them.
Moving on to China it was yet another Mercedes washout as Hamilton and Rosberg took the two top spots. After Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali quit in the week ahead of the race Fernando Alonso managed a surprise third, dedicating the podium to the Italian. The Red Bulls finished in 4th and 5th with a shock team orders announcement as Vettel was asked to move over for Ricciardo. The German obliged, seeming to have mellowed since becoming a father over the winter.
Kvyat once again finished in the top ten, proving himself as one of the best youngsters out there at the moment. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean qualified well and was on for a top ten finish when gear issues left him facing retirement. Both McLaren’s finished out of the top ten, a slight dampener on their good season so far.
The next race takes place in Barcelona where a few teams will be bringing updates but it already looks set for another Mercedes win.
What are your predictions for the rest of the F1 season? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: ph-stop / Flickr