Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday in a perfect start for his Formula One world championship defence.
Pole-sitter Hamilton started from a grid reduced to 15 cars from a possible 20 and cruised to his 34th race win with a 1.3-second gap to runner-up team-mate Nico Rosberg.
With Mercedes enjoying a Sunday stroll, Sebastian Vettel finished third — 34 seconds behind Hamilton — on his Ferrari debut after winning a battle for the podium with Williams driver Felipe Massa.
Ferrari’s cheer was tempered, however, by two botched tyre changes for Kimi Raikkonen, the second forcing the Finn to retire when fifth late in the race due to his left rear wheel not being properly attached.
Interviewed on the podium by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood ‘Terminator’, Hamilton said it was great to be back on top.
“It is an incredible feeling to continue winning,” he said.