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What we learned at the Oz GP

Written by Ben Blaschke

1. Mercedes is the team to beat. Okay, so we figured that might be the case after they dominated pre-season testing, but until we saw them in race conditions we couldn’t be too sure. As it turned out, Lewis Hamilton took pole position and although he was forced to retire early in the race due to mechanical problems, his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg cruised to victory by 26 seconds.

2. It will be a tough year for Sebastien Vettel. A disastrous pre-season and a disastrous opening race of the season don’t bode well for the four-time world champion. Vettel struggled through qualifying to start in 13th, then was forced into retirement early in the race due to ongoing engine troubles. That’s good news for F1 fans who had become sick of the Red Bull procession in recent seasons.

3. Flouting the new rules won’t be tolerated. If there was ever any doubt over how strict officials would be during the early rounds as teams get used to the new rules in 2014, they were quickly dispelled with Aussie Daniel Ricciardo disqualified for using too much fuel. Each team is allowed just 100kg of fuel each race this year compared with 150kg last year. Red Bull reportedly exceeded the limit and just hours after he became the first local to finish on the podium in Australia, Ricciardo’s dream result was stripped from him.

4. Williams is back! Yep, this once great team endured a nightmare 2013 – scoring just five points all year – but they are back with a vengeance this season with Valtteri Bottas looking particularly impressive in finishing fifth. Poor old Felipe Massa was taken out at the start but it seems Williams will figure in a lot of podium finishes in 2014.

5. Keep an eye on Kamui Kobayashi. The Japanese driver earned a reputation in the past for his hyper-aggressive style and ability to constantly outbreak his rivals in order to overtake. It looked like that aggression had gone too far in Melbourne when he hit the back of Felipe Massa at the start, but it was later revealed his brakes had failed. Still, we look forward to seeing him go nuts again in 2014 for his new team Caterham.