Only seven drivers finished an eventful Australian Grand Prix which saw the safety car come out on no less than three occasions

As the saying goes – Talk is cheap, and no amount of talk over the pre season could have prepared us for an eventful afternoon in Melbourne which saw Lewis Hamilton lead from start to finish to take the chequered flag ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Williams' Nico Rosberg. As the young Brit stayed ahead of the pack, it was all action behind him which saw only seven drivers finish the race.

After a short 18 race career, Hamilton hailed his victory as “his best win yet”, which saw the safety car deployed 3 times. “Coming into a new season, turning over a new leaf, we really wanted to get off on the right foot” he said after the race.

With Heikki Kovalainen coming in 5th, Mclaren can be quite satisfied with their weekends work, but things did not go as smoothly for their Championship rivals Ferrari who had a disastrous race which saw both drivers fail to finish. Massa retired on Lap 26 following a collision from a non-too-happy Coulthard and just three laps from the end Raikkonen suffered engine failure. However the World Champion did show his class rising from 15th to eighth on the first corner and could even have been challenging Hamilton for the lead had he not spun off the track twice. Despite all this he managed to score one world championship point for 8th place after Barrichello was disqualified for illegally exiting the pit lane.

Next week the F1 Circus heads for Malaysia.

Race classification from the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne on Sunday:

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:34:50.616
2. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber +00:05.478
3. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams - Toyota 00:08.163
4. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault 00:17.181
5. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) McLaren 00:18.014
6. Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) Williams - Toyota 1 lap
7r. Sebastien Bourdais (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 3 laps
8r. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 5 laps
r. Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber 11 laps
r. Timo Glock (Germany) Toyota 15 laps
r. Takuma Sato (Japan) Super Aguri - Honda 26 laps
r. Nelsinho Piquet (Brazil) Renault 28 laps
r. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 29 laps
r. David Coulthard (Britain) RedBull - Renault 33 laps
r. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 39 laps
r. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Ferrari 50 laps
r. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 56 laps
r. Jenson Button (Britain) Honda 57 laps
r. Anthony Davidson (Britain) Super Aguri - Honda 57 laps
r. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 58 laps
r. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Force India - Ferrari 58 laps
DSQ Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda +00:52.453

(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)

Hamilton Dominates Eventful Start to the F1 Season Down Under