Defending champion Sebastian Vettel got his title defence off to a stunning start with a perfect opening race as he lead from lights to flag to win the Australian Grand Prix.
An electric lap in qualifying had put the young German on pole and even without KERS implemented on the Red Bull, he was able to pull away from line ahead of rival Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton tried to catch Vettel throughout but was forced to back off and settle for second as his undertray became loose and crippled his downforce.
Vitaly Petrov was the surprise man in third in the Renault after a great drive secured his first podium in 20 races.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso jumped Mark Webber during the pit stops to claim fourth while the local Aussie struggled to match his teammmate's pace as he was unable to make the tyres work for him.
Jenson Button finished in sixth after an eventful race saw him pick up a drive through penalty for illegally overtaking Felipe Massa early in the race.
Button had dropped down after a poor start and was stuck behind a very slow Massa. With the Drag Reduction System and KERS failing to assist an overtake Button was forced to make a daring move but was pushed off the track and penalized for it.
Sauber were disqualified from their seventh and eighth after technical illegalities leaving Sergio Perez, who had only changed tyres once on his debut, without any deserved points.
This penalty promoted Massa and the impressive Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi into sixth and seventh and Force India's Adrian Sutil and rookie Paul Di Resta into ninth and tenth to crown a strong weekend for the Scot on his debut.
There was more disappointment for Mercedes GP as both drivers had to retire after collisions outside of their control.
Michael Schumacher picked up a puncture in turn one when Jaime Alguersuari hit him from behind which did more damage than first appeared and forced him to retire.
Teammate Nico Rosberg made it further into the race before Rubens Barrichello lunged up the inside and speared a hole in the German's radiator and forced him to stop before the end.
The race was not a classic by any means but gave fans a taste of the new regulations to help overtaking, but question marks remain over their impact. The Albert Park straight is not the longest so when we get to some of the faster tracks we may see it working better.
As for the tyres, all the talk of four or five stops were misplaced as the leaders made it round only feeling it necessary to make two stops.
The old clichÃ©: 'the more things change, the more things stay the same' was true today as despite all the new devices and rules, Vettel made it three wins in a row in Formula One.