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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 March, 2004, 02:29 GMT
Race as it happened
All the action as it happened at the first Formula One race of the year.

Finishing positions:
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
3 F Alonso (Renault)
4 R Schumacher (Williams)
5 JP Montoya (Williams)
6 J Button (BAR)
7 J Trulli (Renault)
8 D Coulthard (McLaren)


Lap 58: Michael Schumacher claims his 71st Grand Prix victory as he takes the chequered flag at the Albert Park circuit.

Lap 57: There are now changes to the eight points-scoring positions as the drivers face their final two laps.

Lap 56: Michael Schumacher slows a little bit more and allows BAR's Jenson Button to pass him. He could be waiting for Ferrari team-mate Barrichello to catch up for a neat formation finish.

Lap 55: Montoya slips 10 seconds behind team-mate Ralf Schumacher. Olivier Panis wins his battle with Giorgio Pantano to move up to 13th place.

Lap 53: There are no changes in the race positions as Michael Schumacher sets his sights on his fourth win in five years in Melbourne.

Lap 52: Michael Schumacher has Montoya in his sights as he coasts along nearly a lap ahead. Nick Heidfeld retires from the race in Melbourne because of either electrical or fuel pressure problems with his Jordan.

Lap 50: Montoya is still chasing his Williams team-mate Ralf Schumacher for fourth place and is 5.9 seconds behind.

Lap 49: Both Ferraris drivers ease up a little but Schumacher is still 53 seconds ahead of the nearest non-Ferrari rival.

Lap 47: Jordan's Nick Heidfeld gets into trouble in his stop as he bumps into one of his mechanics and is slow to emerge

Lap 45: Michael Schumacher makes his final stop and resumes comfortably in the lead. His brother Ralf Schumacher makes his final pit stop and retains fourth place.

Lap 44: Barrichello makes his final stop in the second-placed Ferrari. Montoya also stops, and has another problem, this time with the right rear tyre. That is probably the end of Montoya's chances of catching his team-mate.

Lap 43: Button makes his final stop from sixth place. Montoya takes a second out of Ralf Schumacher's advantage and is now less than six seconds behind.

Lap 42: Trulli's seventh-placed Renault is lapped by race leader Michael Schumacher. Montoya is inching towards Ralf Schumacher in fourth place but may well not have enough time to catch and pass his team-mate before the end of the race on lap 58.

Lap 40: Alonso pits from third place for his final stop.

Lap 39: Montoya is 7.3secs quicker than team-mate Ralf Schumacher and lapping about 0.3secs quicker.

Lap 38: Montoya passes Button for fifth place in a clean move at Turn 13. Button tries too hard to hold on and runs wide on to the grass.

Lap 37: Coulthard pits in the McLaren - probably his final pit stop.

Lap 35: Montoya is now right behind Button's BAR and determined to grab fifth place.

Lap 34: Schumacher has a seven-second lead over team-mate Barrichello and the two Ferraris are cruising to an easy one-two barring any disasters. Alonso is equally comfortable in third, 25 seconds ahead of Ralf Schumacher's Williams.

Lap 32: Montoya's pit stop did not stop him keeping ahead of Trulli and the Colombian's Williams is now closing fast on Button's BAR in fifth place.

Lap 31: Schumacher is nearly 30 seconds ahead of third-placed Alonso as Mark Webber pulls into the Jaguar garage and retires.

Lap 30: Michael Schumacher sets a new fastest lap and then makes his second pit stop.

Lap 29: Barrichello pits and retains second place.

Lap 28: Ralf Schumacher pits. Webber pits from sixth place in the Jaguar.

Lap 26: Button and Montoya pit - and Montoya is delayed by a problem with his left-front wheel.

Lap 25: In one lap, Montoya builds a lead of more than two seconds over Trulli and now has his sights set on Ralf Schumacher.

Lap 24: Michael Schumacher extends his lead to more than two seconds as the Ferrari lap in cruise control at the front. Montoya makes it past Trulli and streaks ahead of the Renault. Alonso pits.

Lap 21: Montoya is pressuring Trulli hard, determined to not lose too much ground to team-mate Ralf Schumacher, who is five seconds ahead trying to pass Jenson Button.

Lap 20: Schumacher's advantage over Alonso is over 10 seconds.

Lap 19: Massa suffers a spectacular 360-degree spin after Turn Four but manages to keep the Sauber going.

Lap 18: This is looking like a demonstration run for Ferrari, whose Bridgestone tyres are better suited to the comparatively cool weather in Melbourne than the Michelins on their main rivals.

Lap 17: With the pit stops completed, the Ferraris are within two seconds of each other at the front, with Alonso third 7.7 seconds adrift. Button is fourth under pressure from Ralf Schumacher's Williams. Trulli is more than three seconds behind the German and being closed down by Montoya again.

Lap 16: Barrichello has closed up on Michael Schumacher during the stops and is less than two seconds adrift of the German. Ralf Schumacher is pressuring Button's BAR for fourth place.

Lap 15: Coulthard makes his stop in the McLaren. Montoya has lost out badly in the stops and is down in seventh place.

Lap 14: Webber pits from third place in the Jaguar. Coulthard, freed from being trapped behind Sato's BAR, is now lapping 1.5secs quicker than he was.

Lap 12: Michael Schumacher pits in the Ferrari for fuel and tyres - it is a slow stop of more than nine seconds but he retains the lead. Ralf Schumacher pits in the Williams.

Lap 11: Barrichello pits in the Ferrari and Alonso and Button follow him in.

Lap 10: Massa passes Raikkonen at the first corner, and the McLaren driver then spins out of the race at Turn Three, apparently because the engine has broken and locked up the rear wheels.

Montoya pits for fuel and tyres, perhaps an early stop to free him from being trapped behind Trulli.

Lap nine: Fisichella, being held up by Heidfeld's Jordan after a poor start, makes the first pit stop from 15th place.

Lap eight: Alonso is the only driver in touch with the Ferraris. The Renault is just over six seconds behind leader Schumacher.

Lap seven: Button is dropping back from Alonso's Renault and is now 5.7 seconds behind the Spaniard. The Englishman is being protected from the Williams cars by Trulli in fifth place.

Lap six: Schumacher leads by 2.3 seconds from Barrichello.

Lap five: The gaps are growing steadily between the top five, but Trulli is holding up the Williams drivers in fifth place.

Lap four: Schumacher leads by 1.8secs from Barrichello, who is 2.2secs ahead of Alonso.

Lap three: Montoya is looking for a way past Trulli.

Lap two: As the two Ferraris lead the field by more than two seconds, Montoya passes team-mate Ralf Schumacher for sixth place. The McLarens are down in 10th and 11th places, with Coulthard ahead of Raikkonen.

Lap one: Montoya makes a poor start and runs wide at the first corner trying to go back past Alonso, dropping to seventh.

0300: The cars head off on their formation lap.

It is overcast but dry and a warm 23 degrees in Melbourne as the race start at 0300 GMT approaches and the cars form up on the grid.




SEE ALSO
Schumacher 'still hungry'
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Alonso eyes title charge
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Button pleased with points
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Ferrari surprised by lead
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Ferrari dominate first race
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Ferrari 'will be caught'
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One
Raikkonen slates McLaren
07 Mar 04  |  Formula One


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