Rosberg wins dramatic Australian Grand Prix

Rosberg’s 15th career victory was also his fourth in succession after the German won the final three races.

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s German driver Nico Rosberg celebrates his victory at the podium as Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel applauds following the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 20 March, 2016. Picture: AFP.

SYDNEY - Nico Rosberg won a dramatic Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday after Ferrari's challenge was squandered by a bungled tyre strategy and Fernando Alonso walked away from a spectacular crash that reduced his McLaren to a mangled wreck.

Rosberg's 15th career victory was also his fourth in succession after the German won the final three races of last season.

His team mate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton finished second, some eight seconds behind after recovering from a chaotic start that pushed the defending world champion back to sixth at the first turn.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel led for much of the race but his advantage was eroded by poor tyre management, especially after Alonso's crash brought out a red flag, as his compatriot Rosberg coasted home.

"Yeah! awesome, guys, awesome. Great start to the season," Rosberg yelled down the team radio.

New team Haas celebrated points on debut, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean finishing sixth behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Williams driver Felipe Massa.