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Last Updated:  Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 04:39 GMT
Australian GP: As it happened
All the action as it happens from the first race of the Formula One season in Melbourne. (All times GMT).

Latest news appears first.

Final positions:
1 David Coulthard (McLaren)
2 Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams)
3 Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)
4 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
5 Jarno Trulli (Renault)
6 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber)
7 Fernando Alonso (Renault)
8 Ralf Schumacher (Williams)


Lap 58: McLaren's strategy and an error-free, controlled race from David Coulthard win the Australian Grand Prix - with Montoya leading home Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher for second place.

Lap 57: Coulthard crosses the finish line to start his final lap.

LIVE BBC COVERAGE
Malaysian Grand Prix
20-22 March, 0600 GMT
Full qualifying commentary

Lap 56: Coulthard's advantage extends by about a second - it is stalemate behind him in the three-way battle for second place.

Lap 55: Coulthard is clear, but Montoya, Raikkonen and Schumacher are nose to tail.

Lap 54: Fisichella pits from ninth place.

Lap 53: Five laps to go and Coulthard's lead is stable at just under 12 seconds. The Scot appears poised for a second Australian GP win - he also won for McLaren in Melbourne in 1997.

LIVE BBC COVERAGE
Malaysian Grand Prix
20-22 March, 0600 GMT
Full qualifying commentary

Lap 52: Raikkonen is right behind Montoya, who appears to lack grip compared to the McLaren - and the damaged Ferrari of Schumacher right behind them.

Lap 51: Raikkonen is just 0.6secs behind Montoya with Schumacher just behind them.

Lap 50: There are eight laps to go.

Lap 49: Coulthard has an 11-second lead over Montoya, who is under pressure from Raikkonen - with Schumacher in fourth. Raikkonen would be second behind his McLaren team-mate had he not run off the road after his penalty.

Lap 48: Montoya spins at the first corner and loses the lead, but rejoins in second place.

Lap 47: Schumacher rejoins behind Raikkonen - Montoya now looks poised to win, barring problems for his car.

Lap 46: Schumacher is shown the black and orange flag, telling him he is trailing debris. He pulls into the pits - and is refuelled, proving he needed to stop again anyway and would have lost the race.

Lap 45: Trulli stops for fuel and tyres.

Lap 44: Schumacher has lost both his barge boards, which will dramatically affect the performance of his car. One of them is stuck under the car in front of the rear wheel.

Lap 43: Schumacher is 11 seconds ahead of Montoya - it all depends on whether the Ferrari needs to refuel again.

Lap 42: Montoya pits as does Alonso. Raikkonen runs off the road briefly, trying too hard to make up time.

Lap 41: Ralf Schumacher pits for fuel and tyres. Montoya is expected in next lap.

Lap 39: Raikkonen's penalty is for speeding in the pitlane - his inexperience has cost him during his pit stop. He pulls in to serve his penalty at the end of the lap and rejoins in eighth place.

Lap 38: Schumacher makes a move down the outside of Raikkonen into the first corner but the Finn holds his line and squeezes the Ferrari onto the grass in the left-hand part of the corner. However, Raikkonen has a drive-through penalty which will cost him his chance of victory.

Lap 37: Raikkonen has dropped off the pace by about three seconds.

Lap 36: Frentzen dives into the pits for fuel and tyres. Raikkonen is under investigation for an unspecified incident.

Lap 35: Montoya has a 10-second lead over Raikkonen.

Lap 34: Raikkonen is two seconds ahead of Schumacher, who is trying hard to get past Frentzen - who is no friend of Schumacher's but who is in a Ferrari-engined Sauber. Ferrari will almost certainly order Sauber to tell Frentzen to cede the position.

Lap 33: Raikkonen stops for fuel and tyres. He rejoins in third place ahead of Frentzen - and Schumacher.

Lap 32: Raikkonen now has a five-second advantage over Coulthard, who stops for fuel and tyres. McLaren are trying to get the Scot out ahead of Michael Schumacher but fail.

Lap 30: Raikkonen is trying to go as fast as he can to make up time. Panis gets a stop-go penalty and drops out of fourth place.

Lap 29: Schumacher pulls into the pits for fuel and tyres - Ferrari are trying to pull a tactical masterstroke by giving the world champion time on a clear track to make up time. He rejoins in eighth place.

Lap 28: Raikkonen is just 0.3secs ahead of Schumacher. Coulthard is 3.5secs further back, and Montoya 10 seconds behind him.

Lap 27: Schumacher drops back briefly and then puts in a new lap record, proving how much quicker he would be than Raikkonen if he had a clear track.

Lap 25: Both BARs come into the pits at the same time - forcing Button to waste time waiting for Villeneuve to be serviced. They drop out of the top six. Jusin Wilson's race appears to be over in the Minardi.

Lap 24: Coulthard is trying to close in on the leaders - he is 2.9secs behind Raikkonen. Villeneuve is five seconds behind the Scot's McLaren.

Lap 23: Michael Schumacher is beginning to put heavy pressure on Raikkonen for the lead. Raikkonen is locking his wheels and appears to be struggling for grip.

Lap 22: The sun has come out as Nick Heidfeld's Sauber stops and retires. His car slows in the fast chicane at the back of the track with a loose right front wheel and he nearly collects Ralf Schumacher.

The Williams driver is forced on to the gravel but manages to rejoin.

Lap 21: Montoya passes Panis for sixth place at turn three just after the restart.

Lap 20: Rookie Justin Wilson is in the pits while the Minardi team work on his car following a rise in the engine water temperatures. The safety car is pulling in at the end of this lap.

Lap 19: The safety car is out so Webber's stranded Jaguar can be retrieved. Montoya has rejoined in seventh place after his pit stop.

Lap 18: Montoya, Trulli and Ralf Schumacher all stop for new fuel and tyres at the start of the lap. There is a problem on the right rear of Ralf's car. His stop is 18.2 seconds long - then he spins at the first corner.

Lap 17: Montoya is 9.3 seconds ahead of fifth-placed Michael Schumacher at the first split.

Lap 16: Webber slows with a loose right rear wheel and drops out of the race.

Lap 15: The McLarens and Michael Schumacher have all refuelled to some degree or another, while Montoya and Ralf Schumacher have not yet. The strategy promises to be fascinating.

Lap 14: Montoya set the fastest lap of the race on lap 13 - and does it again on lap 14. He is now nearly five seconds ahead of Trulli, who is leading a train of four cars.

Lap 13: Ralf Schumacher is challenging Trulli for second place as Schumacher pushes Raikkonen for fourth. Coulthard is not yet close enough to take on Webber's sixth place.

Lap 12: The race restarts. Raikkonen immediately takes fourth place from Webber. Schumacher passes the Jaguar into turn three.

Lap 11: The safety car is coming in at the end of this lap.

Lap 10: The cars are weaving behind the safety car to keep their tyres warm. Alonso pits in the Renault for more fuel and new tyres. He started the race - and therefore did qualifying - with a light fuel load. He drops to 17th and last.

Lap nine: Michael Schumacher is in seventh place in the queue behind the safety car after his stop for tyres with David Coulthard eighth. Everyone is now on dry tyres.

The teams that started the race on dry tyres - like Williams and Renault - have proved to have made the right decision. McLaren have also pulled a masterstroke by pulling their drivers in early for dry tyres.

Lap eight: The safety car is out to clear the track of the debris from Firman's crashed Jordan - bad news for Montoya and the Renaults who started on dry tyres and had pulled a 30-second lead on Michael Schumacher.

Lap seven: Schumacher stops for dry tyres in the Ferrari - but not before Montoya takes the lead. Alonso sets fastest lap in the Renault.

Lap six: Frentzen stops for dry tyres. Coulthard sets another fastest lap. Ralph Firman crashes out on his dry tyres.

Lap five: Barrichello smashes into the wall in turn five in his Ferrari, ending his race with front suspension damage. David Coulthard sets the fastest lap of the race but is down in 17th place on his dry tyres.

Lap five: Montoya on dry tyres is slicing into the Ferraris' lead. The red cars are on intermediate tyres. Barrichello has been given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.

The cars are all beginning to pile into the pits for dry tyres.

Lap four: The Ferraris lead by eight seconds but Montoya is closing on his dry tyres.

Lap three: Alonso's Renault is challenging Button for sixth place, with Trulli doing the same to Villeneve in eighth.

Lap two: Montoya - on dry tyres - moves out to pass Frentzen for third place at the start of lap three. Coulthard stops for dry tyres in the McLaren.

0305: Lap one finishes, with the Ferraris seven seconds in front already.

Montoya is fourth between the Saubers with the BARs of Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve close behind.

0304: The two Ferraris lead into the first corner, followed by Montoya, with Panis and Frentzen battling for fourth.

0303: Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren pulls into the pits - to fit dry tyres.

0300: The green light flashes and the cars are flagged away on the warm-up lap. Both Williams cars, the Renault of Jarno Trulli, Olivier Panis' Toyota, the Jaguars and Ralph Firman's Jordan - and possibly some others - are on dry-weather tyres.

0245: It is not raining anymore, but the track is still damp.

0230: The cars leave the pit lane to form up on the dummy grid. It is still raining and it looks certain to be a wet race for the first time in Melbourne.

0215: The race will start at 0300 and it looks likely to be wet - it is raining in Melbourne.

On the face of it, that should help Michael Schumacher as he is Formula One's acknowledged master in wet conditions.

However, all the teams that use Bridgestone tyres - including Ferrari - have chosen an "intermediate" tyre as the one they will use if it is wet. These are designed for wet-but-drying conditions and may not have enough grip if it the track is very wet.

The Bridgestones have an advantage on a drying track, but the rival Michelins - used by Williams and McLaren among others - are said to be very good when the track is wet - so an interesting tactical battle is expected.




AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

COULTHARD WINS IN MELBOURNE

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

GET INTO F1
 
 


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