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Hamilton wins Australian GP

Britain's Lewis Hamilton wins the first Grand Prix of the season, racing ahead of his rivals Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosenberg.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2008 12:29 IST

Britain's Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren won the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park here on Sunday.

German Nick Heidfeld in a BMW-Sauber was second with fellow German Nico Rosberg in a Williams in third.

It was the 23-year-old Englishman's fifth win in his 18th GP after losing the world championship last season to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen by a point.

In a race full of incident, the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Felipe Massa failed to complete the race, leaving the constructors world champions without a point after the first of the 18-race season.

Renault's dual world champion Fernando Alonso just held off Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen for fourth place.

It was a frustrating day for Raikkonen, who came off the worse in a duel with Kovalainen on the 30th lap and later spun off after clipping the grass verge in another overtaking manoeuvre on German Timo Glock.

But Raikkonen's race ended four laps from home when his car came to a stop at the top of the pit lane.

The safety car was used three times during the 58-lap race, with only seven of the 22 cars finishing in the sweltering heat.

In a dramatic race with on-track temperatures hovering around 51C (124F), Red Bulls' David Coulthard and Toyota's Glock had spectacular collisions, but both walked away apparently uninjured from their mangled cars.

The next Formula One race will be in Malaysia next weekend.