Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton off to winning start
Lewis Hamilton fought off teammate Nico Rosberg to give Mercedes a dominant victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday. Reigning world champion Hamilton held the upper hand with his faster Mercedes car to beat last year’s race winner Rosberg by 1.3 seconds. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, in his first race drive for Ferrari since switching from Red Bull, finished on the podium in third place just ahead of Felipe Massa in a Williams. It was all-conquering Mercedes’ eighth straight victory, with their last defeat coming in Belgium last August to Australian Daniel Ricciardo driving a Red Bull, and the 20th race in a row with at least one driver on the podium. Hamilton, 30, has won seven of the last eight GPs though this was his first in Australia since 2008. It was Hamilton’s 34th win in his 149th GP. Brazilian Felipe Nasr finished a plucky fifth ahead of home favourite Ricciardo in a boost to his Sauber team, entangled for much of the week in a distracting legal battle over their driver lineup. With the withdrawal of Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in the reconnaissance lap only 15 cars started the race, which represented the lowest number of starters for a season-opening race since 1963.