Nico Rosberg won an incident packed 2016 Australian Grand Prix while his teammate Lewis Hamilton fended off an ultra agressive Sebastian Vettel to help Mercedes claim their first 1-2 finish of the season.
The race didn't start according to plan for the Silver Arrows as Hamilton had a slow start which allowed Vettel's Ferrari to take the lead as he blasted past both Mercedes drivers into the first corner. The two Mercs then clashed on the first corner, allowing the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen to take second place and pushed Hamilton down to sixth.
However, Hamilton soon started passed the Williams of Massa to take 5th spot but got stuck behind Max Verstappen's Torro Rosso. Rosberg pitted for soft tyres on Lap 12 and was followed a lap later by Vettel who took on a fresh set of supersoft tyres. Four laps later Hamilton also pitted for a set of medium tyres.
The biggest incident of the race occured on the third corner of lap 17 when the right front wheel of Fernando Alonso's McLaren crashed into left rear wheel of Esteban Gutierrez's Haas and slammed into the wall before taking off into an airborne barrel roll across the gravel trap into the tyre wall.
Thankfully Alonso was able to walk away unscathed. The incident caused the race to be red flagged for 20 minutes which allowed Rosberg to switch to medium tyres.
At the restart Vettel pushed off as he tried to open a large enough gap on his supersofts that would allow him to pit and retain the lead but it was not to be. Ferrari's day then took a turn for the worse as Raikkonen retired on lap 22 after his air intake caught fire.
Despite Vettel's use of the supersoft tyres, the German was not able to pull away from Rosberg as the Mecedes found its pace on the hardest compound offered for the race and matched the Ferrari's pace on the softest tyres.
Finally on lap 35, Vettel pitted to take on new set of soft tyres but his pit crew messed up the stop as a slow change of the front left led to the Ferrari exiting behind Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and Hamilton. Hamilton then pushed past the Red Bull of Ricciardo to take second place.
Vettel pushed hard, scything past Ricciardo as he chased down the Mercedes duo. However, Rosberg by then had opened up a 10 second gap on Hamilton who was defending his second place from Vettel.
Vettel came with half a second of Hamilton, but the British driver would not let him pass. Vettel tried forcing the issue on the second to last corner of lap 55 but found himself mowing the grass as he tried to go around the outside of Hamilton.
Two laps later, Rosberg crossed the line to claim his 15th career victory, a comfortable 8 seconds ahead of his temmate who was a further 1.043 seconds ahead of Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo took fifth place in his home race almost 25 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa.
However, the biggest story other than the podium spots was that of Romain Grosjean taking his Haas to sixth spot, a brilliant result for the American team. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg took seventh ahead of the Williams of Valteri Bottas. the squabbling Torro Rosso pair of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen rounded off the top 10.