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  • Wins by 24.5s from Ricciardo before the Red Bull is excluded
  • Magnussen second on debut for McLaren after close fight
  • Pole-sitter Hamilton and Vettel both retire within four laps

Nico Rosberg won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix from Daniel Ricciardo - - as their team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel both retired early.

Kevin Magnussen inherited second place on his F1 debut for McLaren after a close battle with Ricciardo, who had originally taken his maiden podium in his first race for Red Bull.

Some good strategy from McLaren saw Jenson Button finish fourth - later promoted to third - ahead of Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas, with the Williams recovering from an early puncture to finish fifth. Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen, the Toro Rosso pair of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten.

The early laps appeared to confirm fears of a race of attrition as four cars retired within the opening four laps and three others started from the pit lane. Both Marussias failed to make the start as Max Chilton was left stricken on the formation lap and Jules Bianchi caused the first start to be aborted.

When the lights did go out, Hamilton was slow away allowing Rosberg to shoot in to the lead and Ricciardo followed him in to second place. Magnussen almost dropped it under acceleration but managed to catch the car and avoid contact, but behind him Kamui Kobayashi outbraked himself in to Turn 1 and hit the rear of Raikkonen before wiping out Felipe Massa.

Hamilton and Vettel were clearly struggling after poor getaways and dropped back with power issues, with both retiring within the first four laps.

Rosberg eased away from Ricciardo early on with Magnussen taking third place, while Bottas started making progress through the field as Hulkenberg held up the two Ferraris. However, having muscled past Raikkonen, Bottas then clipped the wall exiting Turn 10 behind Alonso, giving himself a puncture and leaving enough debris to cause the safety car to be deployed.

Almost the whole field opted to pit, but Button was the first driver who was able to and jumped up to sixth as a result having started in tenth place. On the restart, Rosberg rapidly pulled away while Magnussen kept Ricciardo honest for a few laps before the race settled down with Hulkenberg heading Alonso, Button, Vergne and Raikkonen.

Marcus Ericsson retired at the halfway stage, while a few laps later Pastor Maldonado stopped on his first lap out of the pits. Button was again first of the cars fighting over fourth place to pit for the second time and he managed to jump both Alonso and Hulkenberg, with the latter two battling closely as the Ferrari got ahead at his stop.

A close battle developed for second place in the final stint with Magnussen hassling Ricciardo and Button closing in on the pair. However, Ricciardo had enough pace to keep Magnussen at bay and a few laps of fuel saving from the McLaren allowed the Red Bull to get out of DRS range.

Rosberg eased to victory by 24.5s at the front with the next three cars crossing the line five seconds apart. Ricciardo's podium was the first for an Australian in Melbourne, while Magnussen matched Hamilton's achievement of third place on debut for McLaren.



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