Final placings and timings:
1. K Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:26.072
2. F Alonso (McLaren) 1:26.493
3. N Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) 1:26.556
4. L Hamilton (McLaren) 1:26.755
5. R Kubica (BMW Sauber) 1:27.347
6. G Fisichella (Renault) 1:27.634
7. M Webber (Red Bull) 1:27.934
8. J Trulli (Toyota) 1:28.404
LATEST ACTION (all times GMT)
0359: Into the final minute, Hamilton's final lap has a dodgy middle sector but he recovers to record the second fastest time so far. But Alonso then sneaks home a fraction of a second faster. Hamilton is then made to pay the price for his blip as he slips to fourth place, with Nick Heidfeld taking third spot to split the McLarens.
0357: Anything you can do, I can do faster - with team-mate Felipe Massa watching from the pits after his early exit, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen nudges Alonso off the top with a time of 1:26.072.
0356: In a word, no - Alonso takes top slot for the time being with a lap of 1:27.050.
0355: Hamilton clocks the fastest time so far, 1:27.190 - surely the debutant is not destined for pole position?
0351: Eight mintues to go and McLaren duo Hamilton and Alonso both feel the need for new tyres.
0349: "That was really fun, I'm over the moon," says Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson, who finished 11th fastest.
"If someone had told us we'd have come close to getting both cars in the top 10 we wouldnt have believed them."
0345: The third and final 15-minute session begins with the 10 remaining cars starting with their planned fuel load for the race, so they will only start to record faster times towards the end of the session as the fuel load lightens.
0343: A pause for everyone to get their breath back. Jenson Button admits coming home in 14th place is better than he expected considering how his car has been running. "The basic chasis is an improvement on last year, there's just something missing," he says.
0337: Time is up for the second session, so who will the next drivers eliminated? Anthony Davidson, Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Alexander Wurz and Felipe Massa are the unlucky one whose driving is over for the day. But well done Takuma Sato, who earns Super Aguri their first ever place in the top 10 shoot-out.
0335: Has Felipe Massa damaged something in his Ferrari? He suddenly loses speed and with time running out, he looks destined for a lowly start place.
0334: While Alonso looks unhappy, Hamilton is back in the pits and not expected to come out again as he looks to be safe. With less than two minutes left, Jenson Button is in the drop zone.
0332: But not for long, as Lewis Hamilton clocks a time of 1:25.577 - for comparative purposes, last year's pole position time was 1:25.2. Not bad for a newcomer. World champion Fernando Alonso moves into second place behind Hamilton.
0329: Giancarlo Fisichella clocks the best time so far, 1:26.545.
0328: A white flag comes out to warn other drivers of a slow car in the road as Ralf Schumacher is called back into the pits, seemingly with a gearbox problem.
0325: Toyota's Jarno Trulli speeds down the pit lane with a jack still attached to one of his rear wheels, which fortunately for hime comes adrift at the pit lane exit rather than out of the track.
0317: Time's up, and the first drivers to be eliminated are (in reverse order) Christian Albers, Adrian Sutil,Vitantonio Liuzzi, David Coulthard, Scott Speed and Rubens Barrichello.
Coulthard's elimination will be all the more galling as team-mate Mark Webber finished in 12th place, nearly 1.6 seconds faster.
0313: With Ferrrari's Kimi Raikkonen having clocked the fastest time so far, Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson is surprisingly close in second place.
0310: Lewis Hamilton's amazing debut continues as he laps faster than double world champion and team-mate Fernando Alonso.
0300: The first 15-minute qualifying period in glorious sunshine but with a fierce wind whipping down the home straight.
The eyes of fans across the world will be on Albert Park as Formula One enters the post-Michael Schumacher era.
Fernando Alonso will be looking to earn a third successive world title, but in the new colours of McLaren, rather than Renault.
Alonso's team-mate Lewis Hamilton will also be one to look out for, as his impressive pre-season form bodes well for his F1 debut.
Former McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen is the man given the huge task of replacing Schumacher at Ferrari, and his practice times in Melbourne suggest he is settling in well.