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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2006, 04:00 GMT 05:00 UK
Australian GP as it happened
Final standings:

1 F Alonso (Renault)

2 K Raikkonen (McLaren)

3 R Schumacher (Toyota)

4 N Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

5 G Fisichella (Renault)

6 J Villeneuve (BMW Sauber)

7 R Barrichello (Honda)

Latest updates (all times BST):

Lap 57: Alonso takes the chequered flag, his second win of the season and his first win in Melbourne. Raikkonen is second and Ralf Schumacher. Heidfeld is fourth. Unbelievably, Button's car blows up yards from the line allowing Fisichella to take fifth. Button ends a miserable day in 10th.

Lap 56: Fisichella v Button is the principle battle in the closing stages. Fisichella's performance is a mystery to his team.

Lap 54: Fisichella is all over Button and looking to take fifth place.

Lap 52: Renault bosses have been on the radio to Fisichella imploring him to put his foot down and try to pass Button. The Malaysian GP winner is having an off day.

Lap 51: Alonso's lead is now 9.9 seconds over Raikkonen in second. Heidfeld is gaining on Ralf Schumacher, but will have his work cut out to catch him.

Lap 49: Ralf Schumacher is having a fine day and is looking for a podium finish in his Toyota. Alonso puts in a 1:26.189, the fastest lap of the day.

Lap 46: Fisichella is climing all over Button in sixth. Villeneuve is eighth, Barrichello ninth and Speed 10th. Montoya is out. He went a little wide on the last corner and the car lost electrics.

Lap 45: Barrichello is ninth, but complaining of a soft brake pedal.

Lap 43: Alonso leads Raikkonen by six seconds, while Ralf Schumacher is a further second behind.

Lap 42: Raikkonen is five seconds behind Alonso in second.

Lap 41: Alonso catapults away after the restart and looks to have this one sewn up.

Lap 39: Button has dropped back to sixth and seems to be struggling with pace in Melbourne. He is really struggling with the restarts on cold tyres.

Lap 38: Montoya gets a bump as the cars behind Alonso get tangled up with back markers and the Spaniard makes hay at the front. However, Liuzzi crashes out and the safety car comes out for the fourth time.

Lap 37: The safety car comes in and Alonso streaks sway from the pack again.

Lap 36: The safety car is still out while the remains of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari is cleared.

Lap 35: Raikkonen's pit takes 15 seconds, which keeps Montoya waiting behind him. Raikkonen drops to third while Montoya drops to sixth. Heidfeld is up to second.

Lap 33: Montoya has reduced the gap to Raikkonen to three seconds. Michael Schumacher loses it coming out of the final corner. There is debris everywhere and the safety car will come out again. All the cars are likely to pit.

Lap 32: Alonso keeps on hammering away at the front and looks a shoe-in for his second win of the season.

Lap 31: Michael Scumacher goes off on turn one - but manages to keep it together.

Lap 30: Alonso now leads Raikkonen by 17 seconds and Montoya is beginning to catch him. Button is being reeled in by Michael Schumacher.

Lap 28: Michael Schumacher is, all of a sudden, putting in some seriously quick lap times and has left Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher for dead. This after taking on a full fuel load.

Lap 26: Michael Schumacher pits and comes out in sixth.

Lap 23: Webber is in trouble and is out - it looks like a gear box problem, or perhaps a broken driveshaft. Disaster for the home driver.

Lap 22: Raikkonen comes into the pits and comes out in front of Liuzzi into fourth.

Lap 20: Button and Ralf Schumacher pit. Button comes out just in front of Montoya. Fisichella also comes in. Montoya passes Button. Race leader Alonso also pits - and comes out just in front of Heidfeld in third.

Lap 18: Fisichella is lining up Michael Schumacher for the pass. Montoya brings his McLaren into the pits. He comes out 10th while Liuzzi moves up to eighth.

Lap 17: Alonso is leading Raikkonen by 6.7 seconds and puts in another fastest lap - 1:26.999secs.

Lap 15: Alonso puts in a new fastest lap - 1:27.400 seconds. He pulls out another 0.7secs on Raikkonen.

Lap 13: Michael Schumacher is lapping five seconds slower than leader Alonso, probably a result of the tyres his Ferrari is using.

Lap 12: Fisichella is up to 12th. Liuzzi passes Michael Schumacher and now the Ferrari driver is under pressure from Liuzzi's Toro Rosso team-mate Speed.

Lap 11: Montoya is all over the back of Button, who seems to be running very slow.

Lap 10: Raikkonen passes Button, but Button manages to get some breathing space ahead of Montoya.

Lap 8: Monteiro comes into the pits. The safety car, a very nippy Mercedes, is still out.

Lap 7: Klien's crash coming up to turn nine means the safety car is out again because of debris.

Lap 6: Alonso is now 3.7 seconds ahead of Button.

Lap 4: Alonso builds a three-second lead on Button who is under pressure from Raikkonen. Montoya goes past Webber. Klien is out.

Alonso goes past Button after the Honda driver attempts to floor it and discovering his tyres are too cold. Webber passes Ralf Schumacher at turn six and Montoya passes him at 11.

Lap 3: The safety car is coming in at the end of the lap.

Lap 1: Massa crashed at the first corner, meaning he is out and the safety car is out. Massa took the rear wing off Rosberg.

Button retains his lead and holds off a strong challenge from Alonso on thurn three. Trulli and Coulthard bang wheels at turn 6. Montoya goes past Raikkonen on turn 11, the most challenging turn on the track. However, Raikkonen manages to sneak past again.

0505: Race distance has been reduced by one lap to 57 laps. Montoya is still on the grid, but it remains to be seen whether he will be penalised in this extremely unusual situation. Fisichella will start from the pits and follow the rest out.

0502: Montoya has spun on the formation lap and stalled and will possibly have to start from the back of the grid, although it is currently unclear. Fisichella has stalled on the grid - he will start from the back.

0500: Button's Honda leads the cars away on their formation lap.

0445: Button has described his qualifying lap as "probably the best lap I have ever done in a racing car". The weather in Melbourne is 19C and sunny, with little apparent prospect of rain for the race.

But he said it was vital for him to beat the two Renault drivers into the first corner if he was to have a good chance of winning.

With the race due to start at 0500, action is hotting up at a sunny Albert Park in Melbourne

Britain and Honda's Jenson Button starts on pole position, ahead of Renault pair Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso.

It is the third time in his career that Button has started on pole but he is still seeking his first Grand Prix victory.

The Ferrari duo of Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa start 10th and 15th respectively after a poor day of qualifying on Saturday.

Button snatches pole in Australia
01 Apr 06 |  Formula One


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