17 Mar 2014

Rosberg wins as Ricciardo disqualified

7:03 am on 17 March 2014

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg has celebrated a dominant win in the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix, 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, capitalised on a good start from third on the grid to snatch the lead before the first turn and drove to the fourth win of his career.

Ricciardo crossed the finish 25 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.

But Ricciardo's Red Bull team maintain they're not at fault, and the team director Christian Horner says they will appeal the disqualification.

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.

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.