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Page last updated at 07:38 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Australian GP qualifying as it happened


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By Mark Orlovac

0730: That's us done for today methinks. Thanks very much for all your messages, they have kept me going through the wee small hours. You can watch a re-run of qualifying on BBC One at 1300 GMT and I'll be back at 0530 BST tomorrow morning for the race. Note the change to BST there, as the clocks go forward by an hour on Saturday night. To be honest we are probably so sleep deprived from this weekend, it doesn't really matter now. Make sure you don't miss the race as we find out if anyone can stop those Red Bull boys. Take care, have a good rest.

0721: Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg may have qualified ahead of the seven-time champion but he is not totally happy with qualifying. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh says the Hamilton police incident was "blown out of proportion" but admits the Briton may have been a little distracted by the whole furore this morning. "He will be disappointed with his performance," says Whitmarsh.

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher: "It has been a little bit more fun but the traffic was quite tough. A couple of guys did not use their mirrors well."

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From Fahad in Pakistan, via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "No Liam, it will be Alonso who will stop Vettel."

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso: "Qualifying has been good for us. To beat the Red Bulls was a difficult thing to do here. We just came to maximise our performance and third is a very good result. We'll see in the race. It's a long race."

Hispania driver Karun Chandhok on Twitter: "A fuel pressure problem stopped our quali simulation this morning... Team very pleased I got within a tenth of Bruno."

Ferrari on Twitter: "We're happy with this result. Third and fifth is not too bad at all. Both drivers will start from the clean side of the grid."

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From Liam in Sheffield, via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "I think the only person that will stop Vettel winning the title is himself."

0706: Vettel has never finished a race here in Melbourne and he has a great chance to do so now. However, the German was in the same position at the Bahrain GP in the season opener but was denied a likely victory because of a spark-plug problem - ending up in fourth.

0704: So it's a Red Bull one-two on the grid for Sunday's race. Webber was second after a 1:24.035. Alonso and Button will form the second row with Massa, Rosberg, Schumacher, Barrichello, Kubica and Sutil behind them.

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Mark H hard at work in Riyadh, via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "Was Lewis sacred of getting caught speeding by the local traffic police?!"

0701: Jeepers, those Red Bulls are like rockets. Vettel celebrates when told over the radio that he is on pole by shouting "we will show them". For today, I think they already have.


0659: I reckon no-one is going to touch Vettel. Alonso sets a 1:24.111.

0658: There are rain spots on the camera. Two minutes left. Schumacher and Rosberg are going out on the harder tyres now.

Lewis Hamilton on his qualifying display: "It's not really stressful, we're just not in Q3. I struggled to get time in the last sector and when I put new tyres on I couldn't get more out of them."

0655: Button is fifth after a 1:24.912 but is currently out on a quick lap. He is followed by Schumacher, Barrichello, Massa, Kubica and Sutil.

0653: These Red Bulls are quick. Very quick. Vettel sets the fastest time of 1:23.919. Webber is second after a 1:24.035. Alonso is third and Rosberg fourth.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC F1 commentator David Croft on how drivers are trying to second guess the rain: "This is high-speed poker - who's bluffing?"

0650: And we are off for the final 10 minutes of qualifying. Could you do me a little favour and make a manual refresh of this page? You will then get a fully-working leaderboard on the right-hand side. Nice.

BBC pundit David Coulthard on Hamilton's premature exit from qualifying: "Lewis jetted in quite late from LA; some people were questioning whether his commitment was there. His week, or should I say his few days, in Australia have not gone well."

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC F1 commentator David Croft on Hamilton: "He just couldn't find the time for whatever reason - he didn't seem to be making mistakes and begged the team to tell him where he needed to find the time."

0642: The chequered flag falls and it's the end of Q2. Hamilton desperately tries to get a quicker time on the board right at the death but it is not good enough. He is 11th with a quickest time of 1:25.184. He gets the arrow from his pit board so he presumably didn't have enough fuel for another lap. Buemi, Liuzzi, De La Rosa, The Hulk, Kobayashi and Alguersuari are the other drivers to fall. Vettel is quickest with a 1:24.096, Webber second, Alonso third and Button fourth.

0641: Vettel is up to second with a 1:24.312. Hamilton down to 11th and in big trouble.

0640: Hamilton now up to seventh with a 1:25.251. He asks his team "where do I need to find time". Middle and final sector is the answer. One minute left.

0636: BBC F1 pundit Martin Brundle says that Hamilton is now "out of synch" in this qualifying session. He is in the drop zone at present, as is Alguersuari, Hulkenberg, De La Rosa, Kobayashi, Liuzzi and Sutil.

0634: Webber is now quickest with a 1:24.276, Alonso second, Button third after a 1:24.531, followed by Vettel and Rosberg. Hamilton is now back out.

Heikki Kovalainen talking to BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "It was a decent effort, we got a good lap out of the car and the tyres. The target is to be ahead of the other new boys and we did that, the car is on schedule, there's a lot of work to be done but I've had a good weekend."

0631: Alonso, who has never been on pole in Melbourne, is quickest with a 1:24.459. Webber is second after a 1:24.523. Lewis Hamilton, who is 16th, comes in to the pits and is wheeled back. Problem?

0628: Most of the cars are now out on the track. BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz says that Rosberg would have set a faster time in Q1 but was held up in traffic. Ferrari report that both of their drivers are out on soft tyres.

0627: The light turns to green and we have 15 minutes of Q2. Mark Webber is the first man out. Ferrari say that "Force India look good today - one more pretender to Q3."

0623: Jake Humphrey says rain is starting to fall in Melbourne. That could spice things up for the rest of qualifying.

0620: It's the end of Q1. Renault's Vitaly Petrov is the biggest casualty. He stays in 18th and is out. Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Di Grassi, Senna and Chandhok also drop out. Rosberg finished up with the second-fastest time thanks to a 1:24.788. Vettel was fastest, Button third, Hamilton fourth, then Alonso, Webber and Schumacher.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh: "I think it looks tough, there is some rain in the air in the moment and that might come in at the end of qualifying. You have got to stay out there on the prime for a few laps to warm it up and I think lots of the teams will want to use the prime tyres in Q1."

0617: Hispania driver Senna sets a time of 1:30.924 but is still last. Button goes second after a 1:24.897, Hamilton is third, Alonso fourth.

0614: Williams driver Rubens Barrichello is not happy with the slower cars out on the track and is moaning to his team. The bottom seven at the moment are: Buemi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Chandhok, Di Grassi and Senna. Massa goes seventh after a 1:25.635.

0612: Hamilton slides a little as he comes around the final corner but he goes third after a 1:25.046. BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz says Felipe Massa is having difficulty putting heat into his tyres to set a quick time. He is 14th at the moment with a 1:26.444.

0610: It is changing very quickly now. Vettel is flying and goes top with a 1:24.774. That's getting close to the record of 1:24.125 set by Schumacher in 2004. Alonso second, Webber third with Button fourth.

0607: The quicker teams are having to contend with some slow traffic out there. This weekend is going to be very tricky. Alonso goes to a 1:25.522, Rosberg is second after a 1:25.562 with Webber third and Schumacher fourth.

0605: Alonso is now quickest with a 1:26.162 from Renault's Kubica (1:26.582). All 24 cars are now out. It's busy out there.

0604: And we have our first times on the board - Sutil has a 1:28.031 with Liuzzi setting a 1:28.848. Sorry to say that we having troubles with our leaderboard and we are trying to get it fixed as quickly as possible.

0600: Green light and the 20-minute Q1 begins. The Force India duo of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil are the first out. BBC F1 pundit Martin Brundle says the team forecasters are nervous about the rain and want to get out early to post a time.

Text in your views on 81111
Mark Mair, watching via the internet in the Sahara Desert, via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide):"Go Lewis!"

Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Looking to do two runs in qualifying with both cars. Wait five minutes for the early runners before the first run. Running the option which was quicker for us in P3, two flying laps on the first run and maybe only one on the second depending on tyre warm-up."

Force India reserve driver Paul di Resta after driving in Friday practice: "It was quite difficult having driven in the first practice and then sitting out the second. It all ran quite smoothly, I think we did a good job and helped the team move forward. Adrian Sutil quickly mentioned he would be chasing me if something happened. You have to be quite careful because it is a street circuit and if you have a quick off you might not be coming back out. They want to give me the time in the car to be as ready as possible should the chance come up."

0551: We've had a quick straw poll in the office about who will finish on pole and Vettel wins by a landslide. One awkward customer has said Webber, "just to be different". That wasn't me by the way.

Ferrari on Twitter: "Here we are for the qualifying session. The weather forecast is not encouraging: rain can hit the track during the session."

Virgin technical director Nick Wirth on why his car's fuel tank is too small : "Three of the four parameters that define the fuel-tank size changed after we locked down the design in June. One of the biggest things is we thought we would have high-density fuel but that changed in October. We pushed the boundaries and got something wrong; possibly we're not the only people to make that mistake. It means a small modification to the monocoque and some bodywork, which we hope to introduce with some other aerodynamic improvements at the Spanish Grand Prix. It's not as bad as it may sound."

0540: With the ban on refuelling putting qualifying into sharper focus, Lewis Hamilton - who finished 1.1 seconds behind pole-sitter Seb Vettel in Bahrain, says he is happy with the improvements to his car after finishing top of the practice times on Friday. Just as a pointer, the last three pole sitters in Melbourne went on to win the race.

Text in your views on 81111
James, up all night in Inverness, via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "Re: improving racing. Plenty of people would say the 1970's era, of Chapman and Lotus, Murray at Brabham, etc was the great era of innovation. Could the solution be to open up the regulations, and instead regulate the downforce generated at a set velocity - allowing designers a free hand in how to create the method of producing that maximum force amount?"

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Nouhad in Sri Lanka via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "Morning, Mark and everyone else following the text updates! This is surely going to be exciting. Go Vettel!"

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "We are going to see something very different in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix - and that's traffic. We saw plenty of it in free practice on Friday when Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber managed to nearly wipe out both McLarens on the final lap of the day. The Albert Park track is much shorter and is about half a minute per lap faster than Bahrain. So, even in the early phases, I think traffic is going to play a much bigger part in this weekend's action."

0530: Not long to the start of qualifying now, 30 minutes in fact. Just in case you are new to this, here's a quick summary of what will happen from 0600 GMT. All 24 drivers compete in the first session, after which the slowest seven drivers are eliminated. Those remaining go out in Q2, after which the seven slowest drop out, leaving the remaining 10 drivers to battle it out for pole in Q3. To mix it up a bit, any driver in Q3 must start the race on the same tyres on which he set his fastest time. With the ban on refuelling now in force, teams must weigh up what to do. Do they set a qualifying time on a softer, quicker tyre and risk having to pit earlier during the race as that tyre will not last as long - especially on a car carrying a full tank (about 160 kg) of fuel? Or do they set the time on a harder tyre that is slower, but will last a bit longer on race day?

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Niall O'Callaghan via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "Sitting on the outside of Turn 14 now waiting for qualifying. It's turned cold, my jumper is on and the emergency mac at the ready just in case!"

WayneSullivan on Twitter: "Biiiiig cup of coffee for me and warm milk for the seven-month-old son, in prep for his first qualy, love it!"

salam4kraut on Twitter: "I don't think there should be any rules, anything goes, rules just slow things down. F1 should equal all-out speed."

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali talks to the BBC about improving F1 racing: "There are two things we can look at in my view, the technical and the artificial. The car is too efficient. Above all we need to reduce the efficiency in the wake because, even if you are a fantastic driver, it is almost impossible to overtake. We the teams, along with the FIA, need to solve it now so we have already started to talk about it. The other things, changing the safety car and the rest, are too artificial to me. I think it is fundamental to do something with the car, something should be done in a very systematic and proper way. We can't just come out of the meeting say 'this needs to be done' and then get out on the track and then realise it doesn't work. The things have to be done properly in my view."

John Travolta and Mark Webber
It's all glamour in the world of F1 isn't it?
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "Hello again, it's a very busy paddock at tea-time in Australia and the biggest stir was caused by Hollywood actor John Travolta as he swept through dressed in black jacket and jeans. The Pulp Fiction star had a date with Mark Webber and popped into Red Bull for a tour of the garage before qualifying. Not sure if he offered any tips on 'Grease' to the mechanics, though. Sorry, that was bad wasn't it?"

0513: One of the main talking points after the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was the lack of overtaking. Eddie Jordan is getting himself in a bit of a tizz on the telly because the agreement by the teams to reduce downforce by 50-55% did not come to fruition. What do you think? How can racing be improved or was the opening weekend just the result of the circuit itself and the teams getting to grips with the new regulations? For those of you who are just getting up (where have you been?), have your say by text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) or by tweet on Twitter.

burwellian on Twitter: "I'm having a few Cheese Sarnies too, nothing wrong with that at 5am."
God bless you burwellian, I don't feel so bad now!

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "I bumped into US F1 team boss Peter Windsor on my way over to the paddock before qualifying. He's back doing some media work after his team failed to make the grid this year. I asked him if US F1 would re-enter for next year, and he said: 'Maybe in 2013.' He walked off before I had a chance to ask him if he was joking."

0503: It seems that Eddie Jordan has stolen the tight white trousers worn by David Coulthard last week. DC has plumped for navy denim. Standard. With Webber top of the timings after third practice, this seems like a good time to show you his guide to Albert Park. I really want one of those simulators by the way.

edramx on Twitter: "Best regards from Mexico City to all F1 fans, it is 2300 here. Ready for drama during qualification."

0458: Look lively, qualifying coverage is about to begin on BBC1. It is being streamed at the top of this page as well. I'm tucking into a well-needed cheese sandwich, which feels all sorts of wrong at this time of day, and I feel quite proud of myself after walking past the fried breakfast counter in the canteen. That, my friends, is willpower.

0454: Welcome back team. You haven't fallen asleep on me have you?

0426: Time for a quick walk. I'll be back very shortly so don't you go anywhere.

Bruno Senna on Twitter: "Small hydraulic system problem stopped me running. We're working through the new car problems well. Next challenge is to be ready for Q1."

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Yash in Guildford via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "While every eye is who is on the top, Force India is rising through the ranks, slow and steady."

0413: Here's the rest of the top 10: Hamilton, Sutil, Massa and Force india's Vitantonio Liuzzi. Senna is at the bottom of the standings with a 1:36.649. This could be tough qualifying session if some of the back markers get in the way. Webber has put a marker down for team-mate Vettel - let's see what the German has.

francescolombo on Twitter: "In 2001, Deep Purple played Albert Park during the F1 GP weekend. Eddie Jordan jumped on stage asking for encores."

Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Last runs on the option which proved to be the quicker tyre as expected. Jarno [Trulli] still not happy with the set-up."

Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson: "Schumacher has been looking pretty handy round here and the body language is a lot more positive than it was in Bahrain, it looks like he is driving the car rather than the other way round."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "There are just under 12 seconds between Mark Webber's top time and Bruno Senna in the bottom-placed Hispania. Traffic anyone?"

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "It's so difficult to read form now - even for the clever people in the teams - as you don't really know what you're looking at and who's running on what level of fuel. Fridays, in particular, really frustrate me. The usual suspects will be up front again in Melbourne. But it's such a different track here - it's slippery and bumpy - and has such a different lay-out that I wouldn't expect it to be identical to the grid we saw in Bahrain. A lot of the corners here have the same style - the chicanes in particular are tight in and open up through the exits - so if your car works in that scenario then you tend to be very quick as you reap rewards in three or four different places on the track. I'm expecting to see a shuffled up pack at the front of the grid - and I'm looking forward to it."

0400: The chequered flag is out. Webber is the man in front, followed by Alonso, Schumacher, Vettel (1:25.122), Rosberg (1:25.366), Button (1:25.399).

Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson: "I remember from my time at Super Aguri, the problem is when you are fighting at the back you just go out hell of leather from the start of Q1 and jostle for places, but eventually the big guns have to get out there. It is harder work being a driver at the back of the grid. When you are at the front of the grid it is all about looking forward, forward, forward. When you are at the back of the grid you have the pressure of teams around you, you have got to keep looking behind and you have the added pressure of multiple world champions throwing their hands up at you."

0356: It's hotting up now. Webber is flying and sets a 1:24.719, Alonso is second with a 1:24.929 while Schumacher is third thanks to a 1:24.963.

0352: Alonso goes second with a 1:25.456. Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi gestures angrily at someone coming out of the pit lane which seems a bit harsh. There's more waving as he almost runs up the backside of that man Pedro de la Rosa at Turn 15. He's not happy.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Fernando Alonso went down the pit lane because the speed limit is the same now as it will be in the race. They can send their car through and calculate the amount of time lost through the pit lane in the race."

BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "Renault are really happy with their performance this weekend, all the bits they've brought have performed how they thought. They are very happy with Kubica, Vitaly Petrov is not as quick but that's only to be expected. They want both guys through to Q3, and are looking at top six potentially, they've got new parts coming out for the next few races so they're looking to be as competitive as the top teams by Europe."

0347: With 13 minutes to go the order is: Webber, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Button, Adrian Sutil, Robert Kubica, Massa. BMW Sauber's Kobayashi is using the softer tyres and sets a time of 1:26.366 - that's 11th overall.

BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "Red Bull boss Christian Horner has been telling me about how Mark Webber is thriving on his home race atmosphere. Despite the hours of extra PR, the Aussie has managed it all very well and is enjoying the build up. Webber's family are also here to support him as he bids to better his best-ever position of fifth."

0343: Schumacher goes fastest with a 1:25.494 but that does not last for long as Webber beats it with a 1:25.309.

0338: As Richard Branson is pictured strolling through the tented village in a dashing Virgin T-shirt, Alonso sets the fastest time of the day with a 1:25.559. Great stat from David Croft on our Red Button coverage - he says that Schumacher should win the race on Sunday as it is his 250th race, and the German seven-time champion has won the 50th, 100th, 150th and 200th races of his career. So there you are.

BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz in the Ferrari garage: "There are no changes to Felipe Massa's car, but by contrast quite a lot going on with Fernando Alonso's car with changes to the rear suspension and front ride height."

0335: Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen sets a 1:31.053 while Alonso goes third after a 1:25.916.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "Mark Webber really is the centre of attention as you'd expect he would be at his home race, there's been a free poster in the papers, pictures of him on supermarket shelves and later he gets to meet Hollywood star John Travolta. The Red Bull driver, who made his F1 debut at the 2002 Australian GP, also received the Jack Brabham Award for his services to Australian motorsport on Friday. He may have cleared up claims he is planning on retiring but the 33-year-old is already turning his attention to the future by beginning a mentoring role with 15-year-old racer Mitchell Evans. The New Zealander is competing in the Australian F3 championship in 2010 but will also head over to Europe to get some experience. Webber says: 'It's really important that he chooses his next steps carefully and I'm looking forward to playing my part in making the move as seamless as possible.'"

Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson on Mark Webber: "I regarded him as a very good qualifier, almost better than he was in the race a few years ago. Remember when he was at Jaguar and used to really push up towards the front rows of the grid but he seems to have lost that grip on qualifying. It really is an art to get down and get that lap in. I think that Mark was always a better driver on the soft tyre compounds, he was very good at looking after his tyres and then putting in a fast lap and I don't think this era of Formula 1 suits him as much as previously."

0327: Webber is now second in the timings after a 1:25.774. Bruno Senna grinds to a halt just out of Turn Two, it seems his car is stick in gear and he is wheeled back to safety. Yellow flag.

0325: There's not a doughnut in sight as Hamilton beats Vettel's time. He sets a 1:25.706 while Vettel responds with a 1:25.963. Schumacher is third (1:26.083) with Button fourth (1:26.138).

0322: It's very busy out there now and there's a few traffic problems. Alonso waves his hand in anger at a Hispania car as he gets chopped up. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who claimed pole in Bahrain, sets the fastest time with a 1:26.242. Rosberg second, Massa third.

Virgin chief executive Graeme Lowdon on the team making modifications to the car after discovering that the fuel tank is too small: "We identified that the under certain circumstances and at certain tacks the capacity of the fuel system was marginal and we didn't want that, we want precise predictions. We sought and the FIA have given us permission to amend the size of the tank to eradicate any possibility of marginal conditions. Hopefully it'll be sorted out by Barcelona, it's more of a challenge on the flyaways so it's better to do it when we're back home. It doesn't cost us anything as a team, it's a supplier issue - we view this as a very sensible technical step in going forward as a team. It's not a recurring problem, we want to address it and move forward."

0317: Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who finished second to team-mate Fernando Alonso in Bahrain, sets a 1:27.190 to top the timings. Petrov is second after a 1:27.532.

0311: Renault's Vitaly Petrov loses his car and runs off into the grass at Turn 15. He sets the first time of the day, however, which is a 1:32.342.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "Ahh Orlo, it's funny that you should mention music. There're a few interesting gigs going on in Melbourne around the GP; hot new band Delphic have flown in from Manchester while Australian favourites Powderfinger are playing a free gig in Albert Park for fans tonight. AND speaking of Jim Kerr, I can reveal the Simple Minds frontman could make an appearance on the BBC's post-race forum on the Red Button… and that should be better than my shaky photography."
Superb. I cannot wait.

Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Renault and Force India nearly hit each other coming out of the garage for install lap, good effort."

Ferrari on Twitter: "Back in the garage, everything is OK with the cars."

0306: All the cars are back in after their installation laps. The only drivers that didn't go out in that first flurry were Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and Bruno Senna.

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Chewie in Brighton via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide): "I've got one eye on the commentary whilst I'm doing the cashing up at work. I reckon a McLaren will get pole. Not sure which one though, they' re both looking good this weekend. Very surprised at the Ferraris though."

A celeb has been spotted
0301: Bring out the bubbly, John Travolta is seen in the paddock. I'm all a quiver.

0300: The engines are firing up in Melbourne and Vitantonio Liuzzi is at the front of the queue as the light turns to green. He is followed on to the track by both Lotus cars.

0254: Apart from the race one of the most exciting aspects of the weekend for the Melbourne crowd is that 80s stadium rockers Simple Minds will be playing as part of the F1 weekend. Awesome. I can hear their motorsport-themed set now - 'Alive and Pitting', 'Street Circuit Years' and '[Scott] Speed Your Love To Me'. All of a sudden I'm back at Wembley Stadium in '89. Good times. Any other song suggestions, do let me know. I was thinking about getting our very own Sarah Holt to try and get a snap of Jim Kerr but one, she's got far more important things to be getting on with out there and two, she's far too trendy to do something like that.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "Afternoon/morning from Melbourne. The late start to racing here means the drivers have plenty of time to gear up for the main event; qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix which begins at 0600 UK time. In the meantime, they've been chilling out at lunchtime with Nico Hulkenberg winning the prize for coolest customer as he hung out at Williams HQ out in his jeans and dazzling gold trainers. The organisers of the Australian GP like to delight the crowd with speed machines of all kinds and the limits of our ears have already been tested by Blackhawk helicopters and the Australian Air Force Roulettes display team. Those pesky aerial delights may have to seek shelter though as showers have been labelled 'possible' by the official track forecast."

0245: So what did we learn from yesterday? The first lesson is to stay clear of Pedro de la Rosa's Sauber as Hamilton and Button almost found to their cost at the end of practice, and the second is the confirmation that life is never dull when Kamui Kobayashi is at the wheel. Rain affected Friday's second practice but Red Bull's Mark Webber set the third fastest time as the track dried out late on while Michael Schumacher ended up quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in a session for the first time this season. Read the thoughts of BBC Sport's F1 commentator Jonathan Legard here.

0241: Now this is your commentary and I know you wouldn't want me to struggle all alone here tonight. You know the drill by now, get involved by text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) or by tweet on Twitter. Here's the plan for today, we have third practice at 0300 GMT, followed by qualifying at 0600 GMT. There's coverage of all today's action on the Red Button and on Radio 5 live Sports Extra. Jake Humphrey and the boys will be on BBC 1 from 0500 GMT. Beauty.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "The weather report on display in media HQ gloomily says there are 'possible showers'..."

0236: The Briton doesn't seem to be having a great time of it in Melbourne of late does he? The latest incident comes a year after he was stripped of his podium finish at the Aussie GP for providing evidence "misleading to the stewards". Anyhow, before his little run-in with the boys in blue, Hamilton said Friday practice, in which he and team-mate Jenson Button set the fastest times of the day, has given him real hope of a good performance at Albert Park. "The car feels better than it's ever felt at this track so it's a major positive," said Hamilton. "Going into qualifying I feel we can at least attack the guys at the front."

0233: Morning all. Is it morning? Or should it be afternoon? Not a clue. Hope you've had a more restful night than Hamilton did. In case you missed it, just hours after setting the fastest time in Friday practice, the McLaren driver last night issued an apology for "over exuberant driving" after he was pulled over by Melbourne police as he left the Albert Park track. His road car was impounded and he is facing a charge of improper use of a vehicle. We've all done it.

0230: "Allo, allo. What do we have here? Who do you think you are? Lewis Hamilton?"

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Live Leaderboard


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

see also
Swift Vettel takes Melbourne pole
27 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton car impounded by police
26 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren progress pleases Hamilton
26 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Di Resta satisfied with F1 debut
26 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton dodges rain to set pace
26 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Australian GP practice photos
26 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Virgin hit by too-small fuel tank
26 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Judge me on results - Schumacher
25 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Webber rubbishes retirement talk
25 Mar 10 |  Formula 1

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