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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007, 04:43 GMT
Australian Grand Prix
Melbourne - 18 March, 2007
The Chequered Flag podcast



Final positions after 58 laps:

1. K Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2. F Alonso (McLaren)

3. L Hamilton (McLaren)

4. N Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

5. G Fisichella (Renault)

6. F Massa (Ferrari)

7. N Rosberg (Williams)

8. R Schumacher (Toyota)

LATEST ACTION (all times GMT)

Lap 58: Raikkonen wins on his Ferrari debut. What more could he do? He punches the air in delight as he crosses the line 7.2 seconds ahead of McLaren's world champion Fernando Alonso in second, with team-mate and Grand Prix debutant Lewis Hamilton in third place a further 11.3 seconds behind.

"It's good that he says that, I appreciate it - it's a shame the race stopped, it would have been difficult to score points but it's always good to bring the car home." Alexander Wurz.

"I tried to pass Alex and I crashed - my fault, not his, it was just one of those things." David Coulthard.

Lap 54: With Ferrari pretty certain of victory courtesy of Raikkonen, team-mate Massa has recovered from starting at the back of the grid to still be in the hunt for fifth place.

Lap 52: Raikkonen leads Alonso by 13 seconds, with Hamilton a further 8.1 seconds behind. Alexander Wurz withdraws because of the damage done by his close encounter with Coulthard.

Lap 49: Battling for 13th place, David Coulthard tries to get past Wurz on the inside and ends up flying over the top of the Williams and lands in the gravel. One of his wheels is left hanging off but the Scot walks away uninjured, from what could have been a dangerous incident.

Lap 47: Fret not, Ferrari fans - despite that minor scare, Raikkonen's lead over Alonso is 14.1 seconds, with third-placed Hamilton a further 3.9 seconds off the pace and a huge gap before fourth placed Heidfeld.

Lap 46: A big scare for leader Raikkonen as he brakes too late, his front right wheel locks up and he almost slides off onto the grass, but manages to keep the car under control.

Lap 45: Alonso pits for the second time and returns to the track in second place, behind Raikkonen and ahead of Hamilton, with Heidfeld in fourth a huge 27.8 seconds behind.

Lap 44: Fisichella and Button almost collide on their way out of the pit lane.

Lap 43: Hamilton pits, 8.2 seconds and returns in third place, behind Alonso and Raikkonen.

Lap 41: Raikkonen pits, 7.1 seconds stop for a change of tyres, and returns to the track in third, behind Hamilton, with second-placed Alonso eating into his lead.

Lap 40: Having just got up into the points, Kovalainen spins off and onto the grass - he avoids the gravel and rejoins the race one place back. Alonso shows the class that made him world champion as he cuts second-placed Hamilton's advantage to 1.3 seconds.

Lap 39: Heidfeld is the first driver to make his second stop, for harder tyres.

Lap 38: From fourth place Kubica heads into the pits and out of the race, and his car goes straight into the garage. He was stuck in fifth gear, which will be a worry for team-mate Heidfeld.

"We had two slow punctures in both front tyres and eventually one of them went and forced me off the track" - Scott Speed.

Lap 36: Rosberg gets past Schumacher at the Ascari turn to move up into seventh place.

Lap 35: Hamilton's advantage over Alonso in second place is now up to 2.4 seconds. With Raikkonen 17.1 seconds clear, unless something dramatic happens surely this is shaping up to be the story of the weekend.

Lap 34: Alexander Wurz, the last driver to pit, finally does from 15th place. Kovalainen has Rosberg in his sights in the final points-scoring place.

Lap 32: Raikkonen laps 17th-placed Button and makes a hand gesture of frustration at the Briton for not getting out of his way. Having started at the back, Massa is now back in the top 10.

Lap 31: Great news for Hamilton as Alonso loses time, dropping back to two seconds behind his second-placed team-mate. Coulthard is 16th, Button is 17th and Davidson is 19th.

Lap 30: Button's miserable day back in 17th gets worse as he is given a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Scott Speed in the Toro Rosso is the second casualty of the race as he shoots off onto the grass and walks away with car and driver intact.

Lap 29: Class will out - Third-placed Alonso has cut Hamilton's advantage to 0.5 seconds. With Raikkonen now a whopping 17.4 seconds clear of the field, the race for places is the real battle.

Lap 27: Kovalainen and Rosberg pit from seventh and eighth places respectively, with the German sneaking out of the pit lane just ahead of the Renault with Massa taking advantage of their stop to move into seventh.

Lap 26: Raikkonen's advantage is now up to 12.2 seconds, and his 11th-lap time of 1:26.208 remains the fastest lap so far.

Lap 25: Ralf Schumacher pits from sixth place and Takuma Sato pits from 12th. Raikkonen's lead over Hamilton is 11.7 seconds, with Alonso in third 1.8 seconds further behind.

Lap 24: Hamilton pits for a tyre change and rejoins the race back place ahead of team-mate Alonso. Raikkonen is back in the lead, 7.1 seconds clear.

Lap 22: Robert Kubica pits from third place and gets away quickly back in fourth. Alonso pits from second place, one second behind leader Hamilton.

Lap 21: Fisichella stops from fifth place for a fuel top-up, not to change tyres. He bangs wheels with Jarno Trulli coming out of the pit lane and forces him onto the grass. Hamilton's lead over Alonso is down to one second.

Lap 19: Raikkonen pits and rejoins the race in fourth place, so Hamilton moves into the lead, but Alonso laps 0.3 seconds quicker than his team-mate.

Lap 18: Ferrari's pit crew get ready for action, but who will be coming in - leader Raikkonen, who has a lead of over 15 seconds over second-placed Hamilton, or Massa?

Lap 17: At last, at turn 13, Massa gets past Button to move into 14th. Albers reveals his crash into the tyre wall was because he was trying to adjust his radio.

Lap 15: Massa is back in 15th, stuck behind Button, nearly a minute behind Ferrari team-mate and leader Raikkonen. Hamilton is now in second place after Heidfeld's pit-stop, and his advantage over Alonso is restored to 1.6 seconds.

Lap 14: Heidfeld is the first to pit, a quick stop for a change to harder tyres. Barrichello passes Button going into turn 13 to move into 13th place.

Lap 12: Raikkonen's lead over Heidfeld is now up to 10 seconds, and yet again he has set the fastest lap, 1:26.208. But one change at the front is Alonso starting to eat into Hamilton's lead - the gap between third and fourth is now down to 1.4 seconds.

Lap 10: The first casualty of the season - Spyker's Christian Albers slides sideways into the tyre wall on Turn 3 but walks away from his damaged car without any ill effect. He was in 20th place at the time. Raikkonen's lead over Heidfeld just gets bigger - up to 9.1 seconds now.

Lap nine: Anthony Davidson is bringing up the rear, clearly paying the price for his shunt on the grid. Up at the front, Raikkonen's lead is now up to 6.9 seconds, with the gaps between second-placed Heidfeld, third-placed Hamilton and fourth place Alonso remaining constant.

Lap eight: Barrichello shows he is still in working order after his close encounter with the wall as he battles to try and get past Jenson Button in 13th place. No change to the order of the leading positions yet, with Hamilton in third place 2.3 seconds ahead of team-mate Alonso.

Lap seven: Raikkonen's time of 1:27.075 is the quickest lap so far. He is showing the sort of form that earned him the chance to replace Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. His lead over Heidfeld is now 5.2 seconds.

Lap six: Rubens Barrichello has a close shave as he brushes the wall with his right front tyre but there is no obvious damage to his car or his position. Raikkonen's advantage is now 4.1 seconds.

Lap four: No change yet in the leading places, as Raikkonen's lead stretches to over three seconds.

Lap three: After a clean start Raikkonen is looking in ominous form, slowly but surely opening up an ever-growing gap on second placed Heidfeld. Davidson is heading back to the pits already to see what damage was done by his nudge at the start.

Lap two: Having started from the back of the grid, Felipe Massa is already up to 16th place. Anthony Davidson's poor start is due to stalliing on the grid, tapped from behind by one of the Spyker cars and almost forced onto the gravel.

Leader Raikkonen is two seconds ahead of Heidfeld.

Lap One: Kimi Raikkonen starts superbly, and Lewis Hamilton takes advantage of Fernando Alonso tangling with Nick Heidfeld on the first corner to beat him into third place.

Everyone gets through the first corner ok and the season is underway. Disappointment for Anthony Davidson, however, who slips back from 11th on the grid to 21st.

0300: The parade lap is under way. Jarno Trulli's car belches out a lot of smoke but there seems to be no cause for concern.

0256: Seven different manufacturers in the top 10 suggest the races will be fiercely competitive this season.

Felipe Massa, who finished third in last season's standings, will start from the back row of the grid after making a late decision to change his engine. That means Ferrari bookend the grid, in first and last places.

0250: Leo Sayer is also spotted in the pit-lane, testament to the glamour and excitement of the day.

0240: Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson admits they have had some throttle difficulties this morning but does not expect it to be a serious problem when the race starts.

Honda's Jenson Button will surely be disappointed to be starting in 14th place, but the grin on his face as he is photographed with Kylie and Danni Minogue before the race confirms he is not letting it upset him.

Pre-race: Conditions in Melbourne seem ideal for the first race of the new season. All eyes will be on defending champion Fernando Alonso as he begins his quest for a third consecutive title but this time in the colours of McLaren, rather than Renault.

He starts second on the grid behind Michael Schumacher's Ferrari replacement, Kimi Raikkonen, who has impressed in his early run-outs in red.

BMW's Nick Heidfeld starts in third, and fourth-placed Lewis Hamilton enjoys the best grid position by a British driver on his Grand Prix debut since the 1950s.

Racing is due to start at 0300 GMT.



SEE ALSO
Hamilton outshines Raikkonen win
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Kovalainen criticised by Briatore
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Button glum after 'rubbish' race
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Debut display delights Hamilton
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Raikkonen takes pole in Melbourne
17 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton glee at 'dream' display
17 Mar 07 |  Formula One


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