As with any season opener, there were plenty of stand out performances. In reality, we could have given this award to a handful of drivers for their heroics in Melbourne.
The race winner Nico Rosberg put together a masterful performance to win by nearly 30 seconds. But, when you look at it rationally, his only real challenger was his Mercedes teammate, and his
engine powertrain gave up on him after only a few laps.
Home hero Daniel Ricciardo hauled his Red Bull to 2nd on the grid on Saturday and emulated the feat on Sunday to the cheers of the crowd. Now, with the question marks surrounding Red Bull and Renault for most of the pre-season, of course it looks impressive. But then you remember he drives for Red Bull, so he’s only meeting the high standards we expect from them (edit – and now he’s been stripped of the place too).
Valterri Bottas put together a string of impressive overtakes, but you can argue that he wouldn’t have had to do them if he hadn’t had an argument with one of Albert Park’s walls. Daniil Kvyat belied his inexperience to not only finish in the points, but hold his own against World Champions Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.
No, we’ve given it to another complete novice. Someone whose first weekend driving a Formula One was one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory. All be standing for Kevin Magnussen, boy wonder.
Drove imperiously in the wet during qualifying, the young Dane stole a march on Lewis Hamilton at the start and settled into a mature rhythm and hound Ricciardo down in the closing laps. He kept his nose clean, nailed his pitstops and generally looked like a seasoned veteran from start to finish.
3rd was great, but the newly inherited 2nd is even better. Take a bow Kev, you’re our Top Dog for Oz!