MELBOURNE. — Nico Rosberg won dramatic yesterday after a bungled tyre strategy dashed Sebastian Vettel’s chances of a season-opening triumph and Fernando Alonso survived a spectacular crash that left his McLaren wrecked.
Rosberg’s 15th Formula One victory was also his fourth in succession after the German Mercedes driver won the final three races of last season.
Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton battled back to secure a Mercedes one-two after the defending world champion recovered from a chaotic start that pushed him back to sixth at the first turn to finish eight seconds behind his team mate.
Four-times world champion Vettel came third for Ferrari after leading for much of the race, but the German’s victory hopes faded with an aggressive tyre strategy that fell flat after the race was halted due to Alonso’s crash.
Rosberg capitalised on a slow start off pole by world Formula One champion teammate Hamilton and superior tyre strategy over Ferrari to win the season-opening Australian Grand Prix yesterday.
The German won his fourth straight GP and 15th overall after stringing together the final three races of 2015 to beat his Mercedes rival Hamilton by eight seconds.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who led off the grid and was faster than the Mercedes pair on his super softs before needing a tyre change on lap 36, was third.
It was an incident-packed race with McLaren’s double world champion Fernando Alonso walking away from a horrifying high-speed crash and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari catching fire in the pit lane.
The dominant German team has now won 33 of the last 39 races and it was a sweet triumph for Rosberg, who has trailed Hamilton in the drivers’ standings for the past two seasons. — AFP