Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton makes dream start to title defence

Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during Sunday's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during Sunday's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
  • Hamilton leads from start to finish to take victory down under
  • Rosberg finishes second as Mercedes dominate
  • Vettel third on Ferrari debut

Lewis Hamilton made the perfect start to his world title defence when he utterly dominate the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Driving a Brackley-based Mercedes-Benz W06-Hybrid, Hamilton led from start to finish to take victory in the first race of the 2015 F1 World Championship in Melbourne.

“I feel good, the car is great and I have scored my first win of the season. I can’t wait for the next race to start!”

Lewis Hamilton

The Briton signalled his intentions the previous day when he stormed to a stunning pole position by over half a second from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Leading from the start, Hamilton was able to control the pace ahead of Rosberg to cruise to a comfortable victory.

On the podium after the race, Hamilton celebrated his victory in a presentation ceremony alongside Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger. “This is a great way to start the season,” said Hamilton.

“The car was massive and felt really good to drive. I believe this is a big step over last year’s car and I think we managed to show everyone that here in Australia.

“The season has only just started and there is a long way to go, but I feel good, the car is great and I have scored my first win of the season. I can’t wait for the next race to start!”

Despite losing out to his team-mate in Sunday’s race, Rosberg was in an upbeat mood afterwards, saying: “The most important thing is for us to score a great result for the team.

“Lewis drove a good race and I think if I had not had to conserve fuel I could have challenged him for the win, but it is good to gain points in the first race of the season, and if it was not possible to win, then a second place finish is the next best thing.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff added: “This result was for the whole staff of Mercedes-Benz.

“F1 is a hard environment and you have to work very hard for success like this. We are the current champions and we hope that our Silver Arrows will enjoy much more success this year.”

Sebastian Vettel finished the race in third on his debut for Ferrari, and the former world champion believes his team have the capability to challenge Mercedes’ dominance.

He said: “Mercedes are in very good shape it seems after witnessing their performance here today. But here at Ferrari we believe that we have a car that is capable of getting the pace and challenging for wins. The season has only just started.”

Top 10: 1) Hamilton, 25pts; 2) Rosberg, 18; 3) Vettel, 15; 4) Massa, 12; 5) Nasr, 10; 6) Ricciardo, 8; 7) Hulkenberg, 6; 8) Ericsson, 4; 9) Sainz, 2; 10) Perez, 1. Next round: Malaysia - March 29.