Nico Rosberg triumph in Australian Grand Prix important to stay "mentally strong"

Mercedes boss Niki Lauda welcomed this weekend's result in Australia

Mercedes boss, Niki Lauda, believes that Nico Rosberg's victory in the season opening Australian Grand Prix is vital for him to remain mentally strong as he looks to challenge Lewis Hamilton this year.

Rosberg, who has seen his Mercedes team-mate win successive championships, started his campaign with an opportunistic victory in Melbourne.

"He had a poor start in practice because Lewis was driving like always but in the race he turned it around," Lauda said.

"You need this to have a good start into the season as it gives him confidence. If it would have been the other way round and Lewis had won he would have suffered because he always suffers when Lewis is there.

"So, for him this race is important to mentally stay strong and have a good baseline for the next one."

Lewis Hamilton sprays champagne into the face of race winner and teammate Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. Image: Rob Griffith / AP/Press Association Images

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen made good starts during the race, but a strategic error from Vettel and a forced retirement for Raikkonen allowed Mercedes to secure another one-two finish.

"The race was half-decided on the start because Ferrari did an incredible start," Lauda added. "We screwed up, we have to find out why, and then the race took its way.

"I am afraid we see more of this because Ferrari is quick and there is no question about it. it is going to be exciting and I look forward to the next one."