Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton clinches season-opening Australian Grand Prix

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Melbourne, March 15: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton started his title defence in style by earning a dominating win in the season-opening Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix here on Sunday.

The Briton finished 1.36 seconds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg and an incredible 34.52 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to register his 34th GP win and his first at Albert Park since 2008.

File photo of Lewis Hamilton (left)

The 30-year-old led from start to finish in a race which was totally dominated by Mercedes again, who also look strong to retain their constructors' championship, given their incredible pace. The race was totally dominated by Mercedes, who didn't even have to flex their considerable muscles for a one-two result.

Williams' Felipe Massa, debutant Felipe Nasr of Sauber and home hope Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull finished fourth, fifth and sixth while Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber's Marcus Ericsson, Toto Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Force India's Sergio Perez filled up the last four point-scoring positions.

Jenson Button in his McLaren was the last registered finisher in 11th position while 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso), Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado (Lotus), Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen failed to finish the race.

Williams' second driver Valtteri Bottas was ruled out before the start of the race because of a back injury while the two Marussias failed to qualify for the race.

IANS

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