Melbourne: Lewis Hamilton opened his title defence with victory in yesterday's Australian GP, leading teammate Nico Rosberg across the line in a dominant one-two finish for Mercedes.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (right) celebrates his Australian GP win as teammate Nico Rosberg looks on in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (right) celebrates his Australian GP win as teammate Nico Rosberg looks on in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP  

Hamilton, who started from pole, led from lights to flag to score his 34th career win. Rosberg stalked him all the way, crossing the line 1.3 seconds behind Hamilton, but the Briton had enough in hand to keep his teammate at bay.

"Nico was very quick throughout the race and it was really trying to manage the fuel and all that, and also the tyres," Hamilton said after the race.

Vettel 'over the moon'
Sebastian Vettel finished on the podium on his Ferrari debut beating Felipe Massa to third after a race-long battle with the Williams. The result was Ferrari's first podium since the Hungarian GP last year and Vettel's first since the Japanese GP in October.

"I've secretly been a fan, now officially I can be a fan of Ferrari... there is something magic about the place," Vettel said. "I'm over the moon in many ways. It's an honour to sit in the red car," he added.

The race began with only 15 of the 18 cars that qualified making the start. Williams' Valtteri Bottas was declared unfit to race after he sustained a back injury in qualifying.

Kevin Magnussen failed to make the start after his engine went up in smoke as he was making his way around to the grid, while Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat also ground to a halt on his way to the grid with suspected gearbox gremlins. The field was further depleted on the first lap with Lotus' Pastor Maldonado in the barriers.

Force India in top 10
Both Force India cars made the points with Nico Hulkenberg finishing seventh and Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten.