Australian Grand Prix victor Nico Rosberg’s feted teammate bumbled, his team’s main rival bungled, while Fernando Alonso is just happy to be alive after a terrifying mangle.
Mercedes’ Rosberg triumphed in Sunday’s dramatic season-opening Formula One race at Melbourne’s Albert Park which was marred by Alonso’s horror crash.
“I’m extremely happy to be here. It was quite a scary crash,” Alonso said.
“(I’m) thankful for the safety of these cars … I’m alive thanks to the job of the last 10 to 15 years of Formula One.”
Alonso avoided injury after his McLaren clipped a rival, pitched against a wall, barrel-rolled through gravel and then flipped twice before smacking into another wall.
“You see the sky, then the ground, then the sky, then the ground,” the Spaniard said.
“You want to stop but it doesn’t stop. It keeps going and going and going.”
Alonso’s crash came as Rosberg capitalised on errors by others to win ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third and Australian Daniel Ricciardo was pleased to finish fourth in his Red Bull.
Rosberg benefited after reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton botched the start – from pole position, he slipped to sixth by the time he cleared the first turn.
“I did the best I could with a difficult start,” Hamilton said.
Mercedes’ main team rival Ferrari later rued tactical errors in a race where choice of tyre was pivotal.
Ferrari’s Vettel, who sped between Hamilton and Rosberg to take the first-turn lead, paid for his team’s decision to opt for soft tyres which were less durable than the medium compounds favoured by Mercedes.
“We went for the aggressive route,” Vettel said.
“Maybe with hindsight we could have done something else. But I’m not willing to blame anything or anyone.”
Rosberg, who raced 40 of the 57 laps on a medium tyre, said his team’s tyre strategy delivered victory – his second triumph in the past three Australian grands prix.
“The strategy was crucial today so I’m really thankful the team did a great job on that front,” Rosberg said.
Local hope Ricciardo also opted for softer tyres, meaning he had to pit again in the race’s later stages.
“I thought there was a podium on offer, at different stages we were sitting third and then second but I knew we had to pit again,” Ricciardo said.
“We were still not as quick as Ferrari or Mercedes but at parts of the race we weren’t really far off.”