Vettel won by almost 10 seconds from Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a commanding victory. Photograph: (AFP)
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas completed the podium on his debut for Mercedes
Sebastian Vettel out-manoeuvred Lewis Hamilton and the world champion Mercedes team with a stunning victory in the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.
Vettel won by almost 10 seconds from Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a commanding victory of tactics and speed around the Albert Street circuit.
It was Ferrari's first win in Melbourne since Kimi Raikkonen's victory in 2007 and Vettel's second in Australia after winning the 2011 race with Red Bull.
It was a major fillip for the new season after Ferrari's superior pre-season test times as they chase their first world constructors' title since 2008.
It was the German four-time world champion's fourth win for Ferrari and his first since Singapore in 2015 and his 43rd career win.
Ferrari got the better of Mercedes in the sole round of tyre changes which ultimately decided the race.
Hamilton's early stop meant he rejoined behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen which allowed Vettel to open up decisive gap at the head of the field.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fourth with Verstappen fifth ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa in the Williams.
Australia's big hope Daniel Ricciardo had a heartbreaking day with gear box problems ending his race on the 29th lap after he was forced to start from pit lane when his Red Bull car broke down on the warm-up lap.