Lewis Hamilton admitted he had to grab with both hands the chance to clinch his 23rd career victory in Formula One .

Just a fortnight after Hamilton completed just two laps of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix due to a technical failure, the 29-year-old was never troubled in Malaysia en route to a lights-to-flag win.

For the first time in the 131 races in which Hamilton has competed, he completed F1's 'grand chelem' of pole position, fastest lap and race win by virtue of leading every lap.

In temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade-plus, and with humidity of around 60 per cent, Hamilton made it appear easy as he spearheaded Mercedes' first one-two for 59 years, with team-mate Nico Rosberg 17 seconds adrift.

Although describing his first triumph since last July as "fantastic", Hamilton said: "I don't think any race is ever easy.

"Obviously there are opportunities that are presented in front of you and you have to take them with both hands, and that's what I did here.

"But looking after the car, the fuel, not making any mistakes - it was a massive challenge in that sense.

"There were times when I was told Nico had stepped up the pace and I had to react to that without damaging the tyres.

"So without doubt it was still a great challenge, but one I was able to do well because the car was spectacular and I'm really happy with the team because it was just a great performance."

It was also the perfect way for Hamilton to finish in the points for the 100th time in his career, with the win kick-starting his title challenge for the year.

"It's my eighth year here (at the Sepang International Circuit) and finally I've got that win," added Hamilton.

"I really owe it all to the team who did a fantastic job, with the guys back at the factory pushing non-stop to get the car to where it is.

"And to get a one-two, when I've not had many in my career, is quite special."

Ominously, reigning four-times champion Sebastian Vettel was third in his Red Bull, finishing 25 seconds adrift to also fire up the defence of his crown after he, like Hamilton, suffered an early end to his race in Melbourne.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso had to settle for fourth ahead of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, with Jenson Button sixth in his McLaren.

Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were seventh and eighth, even though the Brazilian was told the Finn was quicker in the closing laps and to allow him by, only to ignore the commands.

McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10, with the former serving a five-second stop-go penalty for running into Kimi Raikkonen and puncturing a tyre on the Ferrari, leaving the Finn to finish a lowly 12th.

After his disqualification on home soil in Australia due to a fuel-sensor issue, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo suffered further woe in Malaysia.

After the fuel sensor died before the race, Ricciardo was running fourth prior to an unsafe release at his final pit stop.

The 24-year-old, who retired five laps from home, was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty, plus a 10-place grid penalty for the next race in Bahrain on Sunday.