END OF THE FERRARI DROUGHT: Sebastian Vettel wins the 2017 Australian GP. Ferrari hasn't won an F1 GP since Vettel's victory in Singapore in 2015. Image: AP / Rick Rycroft
Australia - Sebastian Vettel broke Ferrari's Formula 1 drought with a victory over Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Botts on Sunday at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Ferrari has not won an F1 GP since Vettel's victory in Singapore in 2015, and Mercedes dominated in 2016.
With new regulations designed to make the cars faster this season, Vettel proved Ferrari's extra pace in pre-season testing was genuine.
'We're here to fight'
Four-time world champion Vettel said: "It's a long, long way ahead. For now, we're just over the moon. It's been a hard winter, and an incredible race today. We're here, we're here to fight."
As it happened: 2017 Australian GP
For the second year running, Hamilton started on pole position at the Albert Park circuit and placed second. Last year, he lost to then Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, who went on to edge him for the world championship before retiring.
This time, four-time world champion Vettel took the lead when Hamilton pitted for new tires early and held on for most of the race.
Mercedes won 19 of the 21 GPs last season, and Red Bull won the other two.
He was among the seven drivers who retired during the race, including 18-year-old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll making his debut for Williams and Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who started sixth in on the grid.
Poor weekend for Red Bull
Red Bull's local hope Daniel Ricciardo's day started badly and kept getting worse as he got a grid penalty, missed the start after a mechanical failure in the warm-up, and then retired after 28 laps.
The next race will be held in China on April 9.
2017 Australian Grand Prix results:Average speed 215.409km/h
1. Sebastian Vettel GER/Ferrari) at 1hr 24min 11.670 sec
2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) at 9.975
3. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) at 11.250
4. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) at 22.393
5. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) at 28.827
6. Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams) at 1:23.386
7. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India) at 1 lap
8. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Toro Rosso) at 1 lap
9. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso) at 1 lap
10. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India) at 1 lap
11. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) at 1 lap
12. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Sauber) at 2 laps
13. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren) at 2 laps
Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren) retired 50 laps
Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas) retired 46 laps
Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams) retired 40 laps
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) retired 25 laps
Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber) retired 21 laps
Jolyon Palmer (GBR/Renault) retired 15 laps
Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) retired 13 laps
Overall standings after one race:
1. Vettel 25 pts
2. Hamilton 18
3. Bottas 15
4. Raikkonen 12
5. Verstappen 10
6. Massa 8
7. Perez 6
8. Sainz Jr 4
9. Kvyat 2
10. Ocon 1
1. Ferrari 37 pts
2. Mercedes 33
3. Red Bull 10
4. Williams 8
5. Force India 7
6. Toro Rosso 6