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Niki Lauda: Nico Rosberg needed to start 2016 with win over Lewis Hamilton

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Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda says it was crucial for Nico Rosberg to beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the first round of the season in Australia.

Rosberg won an enthralling Australian Grand Prix after Mercedes made good strategy calls around a red flag caused by Fernando Alonso's big accident. The victory extends Rosberg's winning streak to four races after his three wins at the end of 2015 and Lauda believes it was crucial for getting his title campaign off to a good start.

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

"For him this race was important to mentally stay strong and have a good baseline for the next one. It's good for him and for us, because the more they fight each other the better it is for me! "

Lauda is also wary of the threat from Ferrari after Sebastian Vettel led the race early on and pushed Hamilton hard at the finish.

"I'm afraid we will see more of this because Ferrari is quick, no question about it. It's going to be exciting and I'm looking forward to the next one.

"I have never seen anything like this in the last three years and I have to say, to be fair to the sport, the race was half decided at the start because Ferrari did an incredible start with both cars. We screwed up and we have to find out why, but then the race took its way. I think it was the best start ever in Formula One, and what a race we have showed to everybody."