Nico Rosberg apologises to Lewis Hamilton for Melbourne contact

Nico Rosberg has apologised for pushing Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton wide at the start of the Australian Grand Prix as both drivers were passed by the Ferraris

Sebastian Vettel got between the Mercedes drivers off the line to lead into Turn 1, while Rosberg then ran wide from the inside of the track, leaving Hamilton with no space as Kimi Raikkonen also got ahead in the second Ferrari.

Hamilton's front wing made slight contact with Rosberg's left-rear wheel as things got tight, but neither Mercedes driver had a problem with the incident.

"I just realised [what happened] when Lewis was mentioning it," said Rosberg. "I have to look at it.

"If I pushed him wide then I apologise, that was not my intention.

"I was kind of on the edge myself."

Hamilton accepted that Rosberg could not avoid the line he ended up taking at the first corner.

"It was quite eventful, but I didn't get any damage, although I lost a lot of ground," said Hamilton.

"I was on the outside of Nico, but he was forced wide, so I was on the grass.

"After that I had to fight my way back which was hard work, but I enjoyed it.

"It was really exciting. It's great when you get away in the lead, but it doesn't always go your way."

Though Mercedes recovered to finish first and second, both its drivers are expecting Ferrari to remain a serious threat this season.

"It's early days but this is the perfect start," said Rosberg.

"We have to keep an eye on the red guys, they are really close and we need to give it everything to stay ahead.

"It was a great fight and a great race and it's a kickstart to the season."

Hamilton added: "The Ferraris are there and in the battle, so hopefully there are some exciting races ahead of us."

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