Ferrari returned to the winners' circle on Sunday as Sebastian Vettel put in a flawless display to win the Australian Grand Prix. It is the first win for the famous Italian marque in Formula One since Vettel's success in Singapore 2015.

He beat Lewis Hamilton to the chequered flag by eight seconds, suggesting a genuine battle at the front of the field between multiple teams for the first time since 2012.

I round-up some of the key themes to emerge from the opening weekend of the 2017 season in Melbourne.

Ferrari's super strategy

Ferrari made the perfect start to the season on a strategical basis.

Vettel trailed Hamilton in the early stages but he followed him closely, never falling further than two seconds behind. Hamilton pitted on Lap 18 and Ferrari stayed out. Vettel was able to get more life out of his ultra-soft rubber and the team were convinced he could control the pace.

They might have been helped by Hamilton getting stuck behind Max Verstappen but the strategy worked out superbly. Vettel pitted five laps later and stayed ahead.

Last season, Ferrari's calls during races were often flawed. Dodgy decisions cost Vettel potential wins in Australia and Canada. Perhaps they've turned a corner on this front.

A genuine battle is in store

After three seasons of the classic teammate battle at Mercedes GP, it looks like we have a genuine scrap between multiple teams at the front of the field.

Recently, Formula One has become very predictable. If you weren't driving a Mercedes, you weren't going to win unless there were mixed weather conditions or the drivers took each other off like Barcelona 2016.

Ferrari have performed well in winter testing before and then flattered to deceive. It looks different this time around.

The Mercedes still looks to have the edge on single-lap pace and expect Hamilton to take Michael Schumacher's all-time pole position record this season. However, the Ferrari looks quicker in race trim.

Ferrari won fair-and-square. That hasn't happened much in the hybrid era which began in 2014. If they can keep the development rate up, this could be a fascinating battle between two gladiators of the sport.

Vettel and Hamilton have shared seven of the last nine championships between them. All the ingredients are in place for a classic duel between the two.

Let's hope Red Bull can make it a three-way scrap in the near future.

Tough start for Ricciardo

As home events go, Daniel Ricciardo's 2017 Australian Grand Prix weekend will be filed into the category of horrendous.

A crash in qualifying led to a five-place grid demotion for changing his gearbox. Then, his car got stuck in gear on the way to the dummy grid, leaving him stranded on the circuit. It was the third season in a row that a Red Bull car has broken down in Australia before the race has even begun.

They did get the car back to the garage, fixed the issue and got some running in but two laps down, any points opportunity had been extinguished.

Finally, a fuel pressure issue before half-distance saw Ricciardo on the sidelines.

This was a tough start for Daniel and better must surely follow in Shanghai.

Giovanazzi's impressive cameo

Antonio Giovanazzi is Ferrari's reserve driver but he was called up to the Sauber team on Saturday morning after Pascal Werhlein withdrew. The German declared himself unfit as he still struggles with injuries sustained in an accident at the Race of Champions event in Miami two months ago.

Giovanazzi became the first Italian on the grid since Jarno Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi exited at the end of the 2011 season. He nearly won the GP2 title last season in his maiden campaign at that level and slotted into his new surroundings very quickly.

He only narrowly missed out on Q2, kept Marcus Ericsson honest throughout and finished a very creditable 12th. This was an impressive cameo.

The drivers seem much happier and although there was a lack of wheel-to-wheel action in Melbourne, we could be set for an exciting fight at the front of the field this season.