Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was relieved to finish second in the season opening Australian Grand Prix after a tardy start.

Hamilton had dominated the build-up to the race, topping all three practice sessions and taking pole position on Saturday. However, he lost out on the run down to Turn 1 - passed by both Ferraris - and was then pushed wide by his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, finishing the first lap down in seventh.

Hamilton subsequently lost time behind the Toro Rossos, before eventually clawing his way back after opting to run long and then switch to the medium tyre.

"Honestly it was a great race," Hamilton said. "I loved the fact that we had to come from far behind. The team did a fantastic job as always. It was very tricky out there and obviously I'm glad that nobody was injured in the shunt.

"Afterwards it was just trying to get through the traffic, but with these tyres on - particularly with the guys in front who had the faster tyres, it is just impossible to follow around here, as you could see for all of us. But I am really happy to get the result, it is a great result for the team [to be 1-2]. I have had much worse in the first race.

"Honestly I take this as a real bonus to have come back from seventh. A long, long way to go, bagged the points today."

Asked about the start, Hamilton described it as "eventful".

"My one was quite eventful but fortunately I didn't get any damage but obviously lost a lot of ground. Getting off I just fell to maybe third or fourth. I was on the outside of Nico and Nico was forced wide or something maybe and I was on the outside of him so a little bit on the astroturf and the grass so I lost a little bit of ground," he recounted.

"Got overtaken by quite a few people and after that did something to try and fight my way back which was hard work but I enjoyed it."

"I did the best I could with a difficult start and, yeah, just grateful I got back," he added. "Damage limitation really because obviously Nico could have had a lot more points than me today."

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