Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton beat teammate Nico Rosberg to start his title defence in style at the season opening Australian Grand PrixGetty

Lewis Hamilton got off to a dream start in the race to defend his title after a controlled victory over teammate Nico Rosberg in the season opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Briton's victory never looked in doubt as he comfortably led his German teammate by over a second, throughout the race with Rosberg taking the lead only for a lap during pit stops.

The German did close the gap a little in the final stages, but it was not enough to beat Hamilton, who controlled the pace right from the start.

Sebastian Vettel also managed to commence his career at Ferrari with a great start, by finishing third albeit around 30 seconds behind the Mercedes cars. He will be pleased with the package provided by the team and also the fact that they managed to beat the Massa in his Williams, who finished fourth.

The former Red Bull driver will most likely have a talk with teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who lost places at the start and eventually retiring when his team failed to fix the left rear tyre properly during his second stop.

The drive of the day surely was Sauber's Filipe Nasr, who finished in fifth place in his debut in F1 ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who struggled to match the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars ahead of him.

Another debutant Carlos Sainz Jr finished in ninth place for Toro Rosso ahead of the more experienced Sergio Perez, who rounded out the top ten. McLaren's poor start was compounded after driver Jenson Button was the only non-points scoring driver finishing 11th.

It was the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix in 1963 that the season started with just 15 cars on the grid. And with Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Raikkonen retiring during the race, only 11 cars made the checkered flag.

Problems for three drivers began before the race had even begun, firstly Williams' Valtteri Bottas was ruled out with a back injury and then McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat suffered technical issues to their cars on the way to the grid.

The battle between the two Mercedes drivers will move to the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, for the second race of the season on March 29.