First race of the season

Lewis Hamilton said all about the Mercedes’car this year: “Last year was the best car I had ever driven and already this year it is the best car I have ever driven. So it is quite unbelievable.”

Manor has been summoned to the Formula 1 stewards to explain why it did not attempt to qualify for the Australian Grand Prix. The recently-rescued team made it to Melbourne, but it spent the weekend battling to get its cars to run as it had to set up its software from scratch. Its hard drives had been wiped in preparation for the adminstrators’ sale of its equipment – which was aborted at the eleventh hour when investment was secured.

Drivers Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens were unable to leave the garage for any of the practice sessions or qualifying. The statement from the officials to the team said: “The stewards request that you provide a written statement explaining why the team did not participate in qualifying for the 2015 Australian Grand Prix after receiving a letter from the FIA on the 20th February”.

Valtteri Bottas will miss the Australian Grand Prix after failing an FIA medical with a very small tear in the annular part of a disc in his lower back.

Bottas felt a twinge of pain when he hit the brakes during his second flying lap in Q2 yesterday and spent the night in hospital. He arrived on the track on Sunday, but despite physio work in the build-up to the grand prix, he was deemed unfit to race by the FIA medical delegate.

Lewis Hamilton began the defence of his Formula 1 world championship with a commanding victory in the Australian Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel began his Ferrari career with a podium.

Hamilton led away from pole in Melbourne and only momentarily lost the lead to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during the pitstop sequence before securing the 34th win of his career.

Rosberg crossed the line second, 1.3 seconds adrift, as Mercedes picked up where it left off last season with a dominant performance in which the team finished 33s clear of the field.

Vettel bided his time before jumping Williams’s Felipe Massa at the mid-race pitstops by going longer to take third and confirm Ferrari’s improved pace.

Just 15 cars started the season-opening race, after both McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat stopped on the way to the dummy grid with mechanical problems.

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h31m54.067s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes -7.640
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 25.523s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 29.196s
5 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m26.149s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1 Lap
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
8 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
11 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 2 Laps
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Retirement
Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault Retirement
Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Honda Not started
Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes Withdrawn
Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault Not started
Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes Retirement
Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes Collision
Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari Withdrawn
Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari Withdrawn