Lewis Hamilton lays down marker at Australian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton appears poised to ‘terminate’ the opposition again this Formula One season if his dominant performance in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix is anything to go by.

The reigning world champion conjured a crushing victory around Melbourne’s Albert Park, spearheading a Mercedes one-two, with team-mate Nico Rosberg just 1.3secs adrift,

Rosberg, however, never realistically had a chance of success, with the duo’s rivals trailing in their wake as their nearest challenger was Sebastian Vettel on his debut for Ferrari, but 34.5secs down.

Come the podium ceremony there was a surprise for the leading trio as Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger took centre stage by conducting the interviews.

Hamilton, for one, was starstruck as wide-eyed he said: “How are you doing? What an honour to meet you. Arnold Schwarzenegger, man! Wow!”

It could certainly be a case of ‘hasta la vista baby’ for anyone with a hope of challenging Hamilton’s bid for a third world title and a place amongst the all-time greats.

As launchpads go, Hamilton could not have asked for a better start by claiming F1’s equivalent of the hat-trick - pole position, race win and fastest lap.

“It’s an incredible feeling to continue on from last year,” said Hamilton, before turning to Schwarzenegger and adding “but also to be up here with you man.

“I thought you were taller! You were taller in The Terminator!”

Turning back to his win and the fact he was able to keep Rosberg at arm’s length, Hamilton said: “When Nico turned up the heat I was able to react, which was good.

“Otherwise it was a phenomenal race for both of us. Nico drove really well and obviously Sebastian must have done a great job to be where he is.”

The concern for those chasing Hamilton and Mercedes is there is room for improvement as the 30-year-old remarked: “We definitely cannot back off because I’m sure people are going to be pushing.

“Hopefully we’ll keep finding ways to improve. Just because we had that gap it doesn’t mean we’ll be cruising. There’s still a long way to go.”