Nico Rosberg won a dramatic Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday after Ferrari’s challenge was squandered by a bungled tyre strategy and Fernando Alonso walked away from a spectacular crash that reduced his McLaren to a mangled wreck.
Rosberg’s 15th career victory was also his fourth in succession after the German won the final three races of last season.
His teammate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton finished second, some eight seconds behind after recovering from a chaotic start that pushed the defending world champion back to sixth at the first turn.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel led for much of the race but his advantage was eroded by poor tyre management, especially after Alonso’s crash brought out a red flag, as his compatriot Rosberg coasted home.
“Yeah! awesome, guys, awesome. Great start to the season,” Rosberg yelled down the team radio.
New team Haas celebrated points on debut, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean finishing sixth behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Williams driver Felipe Massa.
1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:48:15.565
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes +00:08.060
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 00:09.643
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – TAG Heuer 00:24.330
5. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 00:58.979
6. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas – Ferrari 01:12.081
7. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 01:14.199
8. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 01:15.153
9. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 01:15.680
10. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 01:16.833
11. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 01:23.399
12. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Renault 01:25.606
13. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 01:31.699
14. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1 lap
15. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber – Ferrari 1 lap
16. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Manor – Mercedes 1 lap
r. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari 19 laps
r. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 36 laps
r. Rio Haryanto (Indonesia) Manor – Mercedes 40 laps
r. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 41 laps
r. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Haas – Ferrari 41 laps
r. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull – TAG Heuer 57 laps