Lewis Hamilton kicked off his new Formula 1 season in style by dominating the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver made up for his disappointing early retirement from the season-opener in Australia by beating his team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory by 17 seconds at Sepang.
Albert Park winner Rosberg maintained his position as championship leader by finishing second.
He jumped reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel off the line and successfully repelled both Red Bulls after a massive tank-slapper coming through Turn 3 on the first lap.
He reported struggling with his rear tyres in the early stages and could not keep pace with Hamilton, who stretched out an early and decisive lead before racing on to record the 23rd Grand Prix win of his career.
Rosberg finished a comfortable 7.2 seconds clear of third-placed Vettel, who put his first championship points on the board after his own early retirement in Australia.
The Red Bulls were side-by-side through the opening sequence of turns, as Vettel’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo went round the outside at Turn 2.
Rosberg’s massive twitch coming though the long sweeping right-hander at Turn 3 allowed the reigning world champion to come back at his team-mate briefly, but Ricciardo held firm, only to be passed on lap four when Vettel slid up the inside at Turn 1 unchallenged.
Ricciardo had to get his elbows out again after the first round of pitstops, successfully brushing off the efforts from Fernando Alonso to pass as he rejoined. The Red Bull winning the battle over the Ferrari after more side-by-side action through Turns 1, 2 and 3.
But this proved a moot point ultimately, as Ricciardo suffered a botched late pit-stop that required mechanics to push his car back to the Red Bull pit to refit the front-left wheel correctly.
Daniel rejoined the race, but then suffered a front wing failure on the start-finish straight, having broken it by running wide out of Turn 14 coming onto the back straight. He retired with a few laps to the flag.
And to rub more salt to his injuries, the race stewards have applied a ten-place grid penalty to Ricciardo in the next race at Bahrain, for unsafe release in the pit-stop. Terrible back luck for the Red Bull driver.
Ricciardo’s misfortune promoted a personal duel between Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg, in which the Spaniard again prevailed to take fourth position.
Hulkenberg’s Force India used an unconventional two-stop strategy to get ahead of the Ferrari, but ultimately Alonso used the advantage of fresher Pirelli to get ahead in the final moments of the race.
Jenson Button completed a stealthy climb from tenth on the grid to complete the top six, ahead of the duelling Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. The Brazilian finished in front of the Finn after ignoring orders from his team to let him through.
Button’s McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen recovered from an early five-second stop-go penalty for puncturing the right-rear tyre on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari to finish ninth, while Formula 1’s youngest ever points scorer Daniil Kvyat scored again by rounding out the top ten for Toro Rosso.
Raikkonen recovered to a pointless P12, behind Romain Grosjean’s much-improved Lotus.
So a brilliant result for Mercedes. The first one-two for the manufacturer since the Italian Grand Prix back in 1955. Nico Rosberg still leads the drivers’ championship with the Brackley-based team now in first position in the constructors’ standings.
Malaysian Grand Prix race results, 56 laps:
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h40m25.974s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +17.313s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +24.534s
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +35.992s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +47.199s
6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m23.691s
7. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +1m25.076s
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +1m25.537s
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +1 lap
12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1 lap
13. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault +1 lap
14. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault +2 laps
15. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +2 laps
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 49 laps
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 35 laps
Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 32 laps
Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps
Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 8 laps
Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 7 laps
Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 0 laps (Non-start)
1. Nico Rosberg 43
2. Lewis Hamilton 25
3. Fernando Alonso 24
4. Jenson Button 23
5. Kevin Magnussen 20
6. Nico Hulkenberg 18
7. Sebastian Vettel 15
8. Valtteri Bottas 14
9. Kimi Raikkonen 6
10. Felipe Massa 6
11. Jean-Eric Vergne 4
12. Daniil Kvyat 3
13. Sergio Perez 1
1. Mercedes 68
2. McLaren-Mercedes 43
3. Ferrari 30
4. Williams-Mercedes 20
5. Force India-Mercedes 19
6. Red Bull-Renault 15
7. Toro Rosso-Renault 7
8. Sauber-Ferrari 0
9. Lotus-Renault 0
10. Caterham-Renault 0
11. Marussia-Ferrari 0
Next race: Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit. April 4-6.