Rosberg wins for Mercedes, Magnussen second

Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:21am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg celebrated a dominant win for Mercedes in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday while Red Bull's home hero Daniel Ricciardo suffered the heartbreak of being stripped of his first podium hours after the finish.

Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and world champion Sebastian Vettel retired early on with reliability problems, the German's exit ending his record run of nine successive victories racked up for Red Bull since last August.

Rosberg, Hamilton's German team mate, capitalized on a brilliant start from third on the grid to snatch the lead before the first turn and roar to the fourth win of his career.

"Brilliant stuff, what a car you've given me! What a car!" the German shouted over the team radio after crossing the line.

Ricciardo crossed the finish 24.5 seconds behind but his joy at becoming Australia's first driver to stand on the home podium was shattered more than five hours later when stewards disqualified the 24-year-old for a fuel flow irregularity.

That promoted McLaren's Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen to second place, making the 21-year-old Formula One's most successful debutant since Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in Melbourne in 1996.

Magnussen's podium was also the first by a Dane in F1.

Team mate and 2009 world champion Jenson Button moved up to third with McLaren, who failed to finish in the top three all last season, leading the constructors' standings.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany drives during the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed