Daniel Ricciardo qualified seventh in his Red Bull Renault, but it was a Red Bull without wings and he finished a lonely sixth ” and an embarrassing lap behind the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
‘It was a bit of a boring race,’ the Duncraig racer said.
‘Frustrating too. My car just didn’t have the legs to get past the Sauber. I feel for the fans ” it was probably not the most exciting race.’
Up front, the two Mercedes had a runaway win, finishing 34 seconds ahead of third-placed Sebastien Vettel making his debut for Ferrari, who, in turn was 38 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
More than a minute-and-a-half later was the Sauber of young Brazilian sensation Felipe Nasr, with Ricciardo a further 10 seconds astern.
In the closing laps young Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso died and Kimi Raikkonen, who was in line for a potential third place, retired after his Ferrari’s back wheel threatened to fall off seconds after an unfortunate pit stop for fresh tyres.
So 11 cars eventually finished, 10 of them in the points.
It was an ominous start to the 2015 season and with the Malaysian Grand Prix just a fortnight away, former world champion Alan Jones summed up the urgency for Red Bull and others: ‘They have to do some homework’.