Now entering his eighth season in professional racing, Lewis Hamilton has denied that the next generation of drivers is set to take over.
In a new era for Formula 1 with much more emphasis on fuel and energy recovery systems most thought the experienced old guard would have the edge over their younger rivals. But in Australia this was far from the case as two rookies and several still inexperienced drivers shined in a top ten with the average age of just 24-years-old.
Kevin Magnussen, 21, and Daniil Kvyat, 19, finished in the points on their debut with Magnussen matching Hamilton’s achievement of starting fourth before finishing third on the road, Kvyat finished what would later become ninth.
Daniel Ricciardo, 24, stepped up to Red Bull and was the lead driver for the world champion team all weekend putting his four-time champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the shade.
Valtteri Bottas, in just his second season, claimed his best result in a promoted fifth though his performance in Australia warranted a much better result while Jean-Eric Vergne, still only 23-years-old, was eighth after Ricciardo’s disqualification.
Experience was still represented with Jenson Button claiming third and Fernando Alonso in fourth but Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton all failed to finish albeit through no fault of their own.
And speaking to GMM the 2008 champion Hamilton said there was no plan to pass on the torch just yet.
“You still have … Vettel, myself, Alonso and Kimi,” he said.
“It’s not a new era,” Hamilton insisted. “It’s just a new wave of youngsters coming through.”
Despite his defiance there is no doubt the new generation made an impression, Ron Dennis, the man who nurtured the now Mercedes driver, was particularly full of praise for his new driver.
“He has all the ingredients necessary to win a world championship,” Dennis said of Magnussen.
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