The boss of Mercedes' Formula One team hopes a rare defeat will be character building.

Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton and his new teammate Valtteri Bottas were trumped by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel cruised to victory by some 10 seconds at Melbourne's Albert Park - the first time a team other than Mercedes has won the season-opening race since 2013.

Hamilton finished second and Bottas third for a Mercedes team which had won 51 of the past 59 grands prix heading into Sunday's race.

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Mercedes' team principal Christian Wolff was philosophical about the result, describing it as "personality building".

"You lose some and you win some," Wolff said.

"We have been very fortunate in the last three years that we have won most of them.