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Page last updated at 07:36 GMT, Saturday, 26 March 2011

Australian GP qualifying as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

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By Mark Orlovac


0730: Time to sign off. Thanks very much for your company through the wee small hours. Thank you also for all the messages, apologies that I couldn't use them all. You can catch a re-run of qualifying on BBC One and BBC HD at 1300 GMT. And I'll be back at 0530 BST - that's right BST, get in - on Sunday morning for the opening race of the season. Don't miss it. Have a good Saturday. Laters.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Andy via text: "Vettel is obviously a top driver but I'm convinced that any one of the drivers from Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari would put the RB7 on pole it's that fast."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso: "We were not super-competitive today (compared to) practice. In qualifying we took a very conservative approach. We knew if we took a big risk we may be fourth, if we are safe, we go fifth or sixth, so no need to take risks in the first qualifying of the season. Position we are happy, distance from pole we are not happy. So we need to look at that overnight. Overall grip was where we lacked. We were not so bad yesterday, so we missed something today. Also the distance to Sauber, Toro Rosso, Renault, in winter testing we were one second ahead of them and here it is only 0.2-0.3secs. So we missed something in our car. I suspect this was not normal pace from us and we will get better and better tomorrow."

0723: Jenson Button is all smiles on BBC One. It's not surprising really. McLaren had a troubling winter but they turn up to the first race with a new exhaust system and new floor and end up second and fourth in qualifying. "Thank you to all the guys back in the factory," says Button.Eddie Jordan adds: "McLaren have turned this around quickly, They are in a strong position."

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher: "After winter testing, it comes to the first race and we expected different performance. There is some disappointment. We have to understand why. We had a bit of an issue with Kers, working and not working, it was an inconsistent session. We are not where we are supposed to be."

0714: Hmmm, not a great qualifying session for Ferrari while Petrov surprised with the sixth fastest time. McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says Hamilton had a Kers failure on his fast lap, which will have cost him. "Apart from not having Kers hybrid boost, he would also have lost brake balance," says Whitmarsh. "That was a little bit of a disadvantage, it would have been very difficult to beat Sebastian but we would have been closer."

0711: A run down of the times for you: Vettel (1:23.529), Hamilton (1:24.307), Webber (1:24.395), Button (1:24.779), Alonso (1:24.974), Petrov (1:25.247) Rosberg (1:25.421), Massa (1:25.599), Kobayashi (1:25.626), Buemi (1:27.066).

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner: "We are in good shape. Great start to the season. We are disappointed to lose second place with Mark [Webber]. It was a phenomenal lap from Sebastian. It is difficult to see the difference between them [ Mark and Sebastian], especially in the final sector."

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson: "While we're all digesting Sebastian Vettel's mind-blowing superiority in qualifying, a bit of F1 history has come to mind. The last Williams designed by current Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey was the 1997 car. Melbourne was also the first race that year and Jacques Villeneuve put it on pole by 1.8 seconds, from his team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Michael Schumacher's Ferrari was third - 2.1secs off the pace. And yet it was an incredibly close season that went down to the wire in the last race between Villeneuve and Schumacher. So although Vettel appears in a league of their own this weekend, that does not necessarily mean it will be like that all year. Oh, and by the way, the 1997 Australian Grand Prix was won by David Coulthard, who qualified his McLaren fourth."

0702: Well that will do won't it? Superb display from Vettel. "We keep working," he tells his team over the radio. "We do our thing. We are what we are. Great car. Thank you." Wise words, Seb, wise words.

RED BULL'S SEBASTIAN VETTEL QUALIFIES ON POLE FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

0700: Vettel is on a flier... but he can't beat his best... he'll surely be on pole, though. Now Webber... but he can't improve either. Here's Hamilton... and HE'S SECOND. A 1:24.307 is enough to relegate Webber to third.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live summariser Karun Chandhok: "That is just astonishing pace from Sebastian Vettel, just astonishing. I was going to be optimistic and say we might have a bit of a race on, but it really does look like the Red Bulls may be a second ahead of the rest."

0658: Massa comes out of the pits and as he puts the power down coming out of Turn 1, he spins. Incredible. "It's like there was no tyre temperature," says David Coulthard. "I wonder if this is telling us something about these tyres. Are they under heating them?"

0656: Webber goes second with a 1:24.395. Red Bull one-two anyone? Rosberg is fifth (1:25.512), Buemi sixth (1:27.066). Kravitz in the pit lane reports that Alonso is on the last set of soft tyres he can use in this session.

0652: Hamilton is first out for a timed lap... he is on the softer compound. Button is following him. Hamilton sets a 1:24.501. "Surely that won't be enough," says Brundle. Button sets a 1:24.858. And here's Vettel... he locks up at Turn 15... but he still posts a 1:23.529. Unbelievable.

BBC Radio 5 Live summariser Karun Chandhok: "Until Turn 14 Michael [Schumacher] looked OK, he was two-tenths up, but in the final two turns he was really struggling, and we heard him on the radio saying the tyres were losing grip. Tyres are perhaps the biggest variable in the car."

0650: A very sheepish-looking Barrichello is interviewed on BBC One. "It was an error. This morning we had a gearbox problem and things were rushed," he says. Here we go then. Q3 is under way. Can anyone stop Vettel? "His performance so far has been simply staggering," says Eddie Jordan. "It has been very dominant from him. He is the class act in the field."

0643: ... he doesn't make it. Big moment. "The car could have gone quicker but the drop off was the qualifying tyres, he had used up the maximum of them," says Eddie Jordan. "Fair marks to Pirelli, at they have come up with is a tyre that should make this spot very interesting." Alguersuari, Perez, Di Resta, Maldonado, Sutil and Barrichello are the others sitting out the rest of the day.
0640: Petrov sets a 1:25.582 and he's sixth. Whoa there... Adrian Sutil spins his Force India coming out of the final corner and somehow stops his car from smacking into the wall. Hairy moment. As Coulthard notes, that was a combination of Sutil going across the rumble strips and utilising the drag reduction system. Schumacher is in 11th and has one last chance to get into Q3...

0638: Webber is now up to second with a 1:24.658. Here's Alonso... what can he do... a 1:25.242. Good enough for fourth. "Ferrari are struggling and I was not expecting to say that at this stage of the weekend," says Brundle.

0635: Bang. Vettel goes quickest with a 1:24.090. Ouch. His pole time of last year was a 1:23.919. Button is second (1:24.957) with Hamilton third (1:25.522).

0630: More problems at Turn 3. Rubens Barrichello touches the grass coming down to the corner, loses control of his car and spins into the gravel. That's his session over and done with and there's a yellow flag. Alonso has on a new set of soft tyres as do Vettel and Webber. But Vettel and his team-mate come straight back in. Kravitz notes that you can get three laps out of these soft tyres if you are careful. Buemi fastest for Toro Rosso, a 1:26.053, team-mate Alguersuari second (1:26.103).

0628: We are off for Q2. And there's Dannii Minogue in the paddock. Which is nice.

0624: Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, D'Ambrosio, Liuzzi and Karthikeyan are also knocked out. The two Hispania drivers did not make the 107% cut off mark so as it stands, they will not be allowed to take part in Sunday's race unless they are given an exemption. "They are a waste of talent and petrol as far as I'm concerned," says Brundle bluntly. "They should not be allowed on the track." So there we are.

0620: Massa saves himself with his last lap but his best is only good enough for 11th. "This applies the pressure on Felipe," says Eddie Jordan. "He has not really been at ease with himself since he was told to let Alonso pass in Germany last year. He is out of sorts." Heidfeld cannot get out of trouble and he fails to make Q2. "If Robert Kubica was in that car," adds Jordan. "He would be fighting for the top five. The car has the pace."

0619: Just a minute to go now. The Hispania drivers could be in trouble with the 107% rule. Will they be allowed to start the race? In the drop zone are Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock and Jerome d'Ambrosio. Massa is in 17th and is only one place from dropping out.

0615: Lots of changes in the times at the moment. Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, on the soft tyre, sets a 1:25.803 and is third. Rosberg is fourth after a 1:25.856 but Sauber's Sergio Perez then sets a 1.25.812 to move above the German. Alonso and Massa are on the softer tyre now, as are the Renaults. Are they worried? "I did not expect Ferrari to sacrifice a set of tyres at this stage," says Brundle.

0612: Liuzzi has not set a time in the Hispania as yet and Brundle questions why the former Force India driver is at the struggling team. "I don't think he should have parked himself in that car," he says. Schumacher up to fifth with a 1:26.358.

0610: Vettel improves to a 1:26.657 but hold on... bosh - Hamilton sets a 1:25.384. And then Vettel responds with a 1:25.296. Superb. Button third (1:25.886), Webber fourth (1:25.900).

0609: The leading drivers are on the harder compound but Michael Schumacher is not. "That is a sign that he is not feeling confident in that Mercedes," says Kravitz.

0606: Petrov improves to a 1:27.396 but that is soon beaten by Vettel, who sets a 1:26.657. Hamilton is second after a 1:27.303. Karthikeyan sets a 1:38.684.

0603: Petrov puts a 1:29.463 on the board, the first one of qualifying. Brundle predicts that with the 107% rule, a 1:30 in Q1 will guarantee a race slot while Ted Kravitz reports that both Hispnia cars have made it out of the garage. Which is an improvement.

SamDangar on Twitter: "My tip for a top ten surprise - Toro Rosso."

0600: And we are off. "Now we will find out how fast the cars are," says Martin Brundle.

0557: Before I forget, the driver tracker is now ready to go for qualifying. You can view it in the console at the top of this page, or by clicking here.

0555: Not long now. Red Bull boss Christian Horner says his drivers will be doing a run on the harder Pirelli tyres in Q1 and "will see how they go" before deciding whether they will go out on the softer compound.

0551: There's a great clip of David Coulthard, who joins Martin Brundle in the BBC commentary box, joining a very relaxed Jenson Button on his track walk on Thursday. They meet up with Seb Vettel, who is doing the same, and the pair share a joke before the world champion carries on. "Who was he again?" quips Jenson. Nice.

0546: The first part of qualifying gets going at 0600 GMT. Remember the slowest seven drivers will be knocked out in Q1 and Q2, with the remaining 10 drivers left for the Q3 shoot-out. A rule new brought in for this season is that drivers who fail to set a time within 107% of the fastest time in Q1, will not be allowed to take part in the race.

metallia2797 on Twitter: "New rules look to prove interesting. Wonder how much difference they'll really make... Just have to wait and see."

Twitter
Renault F1 on Twitter: "Weather is pretty overcast and windy as qualy approaches. Track temp 19, air temp 16. Humidity 64 percent."

Ash in Sheffield via text: "Come on Alonso, show em who's the best."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Harris Hafeez in Farnham via text: "Woke up at 5am, had to sneak past mum & dad's room as quietly as possible to get to the lounge...once I got there I noticed that the lights were off but the tv was on, sound off but subtitles were on, then suddenly dad's head pops up from behind the sofa...not sure who looked more shocked...me or him!!"

0534: There's a bit of video on BBC One talking about Renault driver Robert Kubica, who will probably miss the rest of the season after the horrific crash he suffered during a rally in Italy last month. Nick Heidfeld is his replacement.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "Hello again. I've just popped out to sample the atmosphere at Albert Park and it doesn't look like the overcast skies are going to clear up any time soon - but neither does it look like rain. I've spotted more than a few enthusiastic fans who are ignoring the clouds overhead by donning sunglasses and shorts anyway. The latest word on form in the paddock is that Red Bull are the team to beat in qualifying by a decent margin - and if we were in any doubt on that score, Sebastian Vettel's top time in final practice was more than a second clear of the next best car belonging to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. F1 insiders reckon Ferrari and Mercedes are the best of the rest ahead of McLaren and the rest of the pack. BUT if there is one thing we can guarantee, it's that qualifying will put an end to speculation and sort out the pecking order."

Force India's Paul di Resta on BBC One ahead of his first F1 qualifying session: "I am definitely nervous. It is a big day today. It has been quite a hard challenge. Some runs have been comfortable, some have been difficult. We need to up our game a little bit."

Twitter
connellycharlie on Twitter: "Hurray for #bbcf1 - waiting for the tube lines to start at Paddington Station and it's keeping me occupied. Bring on the new season!"

SShaw at work via text: "BBC F1 theme currently on a loop in my head. Best of luck to Di Resta."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Kyle from Basingstoke via text: "Watching what I can before work but how good was it to hear the bass line kicking off the new season? Lewis and Jenson please do us all proud."

Red Bull driver Mark Webber: "We don't think everyone was showing their true colours in practice. Certainly, I want to be on the front row."

0521: I've just had a message on Twitter from someone suggesting a drinking game for every time someone mentions Kers or the moveable rear wing. At this hour? That's just crazy talk. The moveable rear wing, or drag reduction system as it is officially called, can be deployed at any time during qualifying but in the race, it can only be used in a zone from the last corner to the first corner if the driver is within a second of the car in front. It has been introduced to assist overtaking. It will be fascinating to see what happens with it tomorrow.

Mercedes boss Ross Brawn on BBC One: "Fundamentally we have a good car, we just have a bit of job putting everything together. This morning it was messy in terms of the session, we had too many technical issues. We have all new systems on the car and they are not all working at the same time. When they do, the car seems reasonable. We need to be in the top six to be reasonably happy. The Red Bulls look impressive and there is a gaggle of teams underneath trying to do the best job of being the next team."

0513: Red Bull absolutely bossed qualifying last season, with Sebastian Vettel claiming 10 poles, Mark Webber having five from the 19 races. Pole position has accounted for only seven of the 15 winners in Melbourne since the race switched from Adelaide in 1996, although five of those have come in the last seven years.

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "Why is qualifying going to be different this season? First, the tyres are designed to be less durable and there is bigger gap between the compounds, maybe up to a second between the soft and hard compounds here. The teams have six sets of tyres from the start of qualifying until the end of the race so they are going to have to stretch those out a bit and be quite tactical in how they use them. Q1 shouldn't be so significant as the frontrunning teams will be comfortable on the hard tyres but in Q2 it becomes really tough for them to make a decision on which tyres to use. The teams will have to watch out for some feisty midfielders, like Toro Rosso, Sauber and Williams, who are running on a soft tyre. The front-running teams may not be fast enough to just leave the hard tyres on, they might have to counteract them by usying softs. BUT they don't want to use too many of those because they need them for Q3 and the race - and that is where the dynamics of qualifying have changed."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Thom, Basingstoke via text: "I'm not feeling the effects of an early rise! Why you ask? Because the anticipation after last year's season and what seems like an eternity without F1, I didn't bother to go to sleep. Sleeps for wimps anyway isn't it guys?! Lewis/Jenson to pull it out of the bag from nowhere! Come on boys!"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Amreet from Nottingham via text: "Just came back from the last night of my 2nd term, I've got all exams after 2 weeks and finishing the day with the first F1 qualifying session, its made me smile. Come on the McLarens !"

0502: And we are go on BBC One, Eddie Jordan's evocative opening almost has me in tears. Not really, I'm nails me. And here's Eddie's shirt, not too shocking. Blue and white check affair. Strong.

0455: All set? Bacon butties cooked? Tea brewed? Coverage on BBC One and BBC One HD is five minutes away. That also means a welcome return for the Fleetwood Mac rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. Boys, it's good to have you back.

OllieBCFC1992 on Twitter: "Red Bull and Ferrari definitely favourites this weekend, but I wouldn't rule out Hamilton or Button, both brilliant in P2 & P3."

Twitter
NiallPalmer on Twitter: "My #f1 body clock has kicked in. Out last night, Bed, awake at 4.30 to make a brew and get ready to hear the sweet noise of The Chain."

0445: For some reason, I'm feeling far more awake than I should be at this time of the morning. Are you still managing to stop yourself falling asleep? Not long until we get BBC One coverage of qualifying from Melbourne. I am getting telly pictures but I haven't managed to get a peek of EJ's attire as yet. Remember that you can get involved in this commentary using Twitter (via hashtag #BBCF1 ) or by text via 81111 with F1 before your message.

0440: BBC Sport works hard to bring you new developments in our Formula 1 coverage and we are introducing one this weekend. The driver tracker, which allows you to see where all the cars are on the track, will be available for qualifying this season as well as the race. This is just a quick heads-up about that. I'll mention it again when it goes live. It will be available both in the video player at the top of this story and in a separate page.

0435: As we count down to the start of the BBC One show, why not take a minute or two to peruse Sarah Holt's report of final practice.

0422: As we try to absorb just how quick those Red Bull cars looked in final practice, I'm going to take a quick break and I'll be back to take you through qualifying. Deal?

Twitter
simondowney1 on Twitter: "I was wondering if it was too early for a fry up. Clearly not as people are cooking now! Lol, bacon and eggs for me then!!!"
It is never, never too early for a fry up!

Twitter
Team Lotus on Twitter: "Couple of issues that we can fix before quali but we need to get heat into tyres... "

BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "In the qualifying programme, which begins at 0500 GMT on BBC One, you can see my interview with Britain's newest F1 driver Paul di Resta. It's been a hectic few months for the Scottish rookie, who got up-and-running by finishing above his experienced Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil in his first time out in the car during second free practice on Friday. In my interview, Paul talkes about being team-mates and beating Sebastian Vettel in the F3 Euro Series and how he hopes his experience winning the German touring car championship (DTM) can help him in qualifying later today. He is handling the nerves well but I am not sure how his family will be feeling as they watch from Scotland."

Will_Beckman on Twitter: "That Red Bull looks worryingly fast. Not just for the other teams, but in terms of the spectacle as well. A walk in the Albert Park?"

Twitter
Hispania driver Narain Karthikeyan on Twitter: "Done with practice. Got 4 laps in, pleased I suppose !! Off to speak to the engineers now."

0407: Just to mop up some other bits and pieces, Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher ended up in eighth and 10th, Massa was 12th fastest, while Karthikeyan's fastest of 1:41.554 was 17.047 seconds off Vettel's.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC F1 analyst Maurice Hamilton: "It's going to be a battle between Webber and Vettel. Webber will be trying to grab the headlines like he did yesterday but Vettel is making life very difficult for him. That was encouraging for McLaren, they appear to have the qualifying pace. It's not the same as the Red Bulls but it is certainly up there."

Chequered flag
0400: That's FP3 done and dusted. Red Bull lead the way, can anyone stop them in qualifying? Doesn't look like it. Hamilton (1:25.553) ended up third, with McLaren team-mate Button fourth (1:25.567). Renault's Vitaly Petrov was fifth (1:25.906), Alonso sixth (1:26.121), Kobayashi seventh (1:26.417).

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson: "It's early days yet, but those times by the Red Bulls - and particularly Sebastian Vettel - are very ominous indeed for the rest. I could be wrong, but I think the Red Bull is at least 0.6secs a lap faster than any other car - and perhaps as much as a second. It could be different at other tracks - Melbourne can be a bit funny like that. But it's a bit concerning for the likes of Ferrari and McLaren, to say the least."

0356: Vettel is lighting up the timing boards and he sets a 1:24.507. Have that. Crikey, these Red Bulls are looking very strong aren't they? Team-mate Webber is second, 0.857 seconds adrift, after a 1:25.364. It seems the Aussie was held up a fraction in the final sector by Heidfeld.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Sebastian Vettel's front wing is broken. There's a little stay which has broken on what is called the 'cascade' wing. The mechanics called Adrian Newey over to take a look, and then formed a human shield in front of it so nobody else could see what was going on. Too late this time boys."

0350: Ted Kravitz in the Red Bull garage says that Vettel's front wing is broken. More on that in a minute. Lewis Hamilton is up to third with a 1:26.037, Alonso fourth, Webber fifth (1:26.159) then Buemi. Big news: Karthikeyan's Hispania is on track. Apparently the camera on Massa car has come off and Ferrari's mechanics are trying to fix it now. Kravitz adds that there is an agreement that the drivers who fall foul of the 107% qualifying rule could get an exemption to start the race from the pit lane. It will be interesting to see what happens.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "The only one of the top 10 drivers still making set-up changes is Felipe Massa, to his front suspension. All the others seem happy with what they have."

Twitter
Virgin Racing on Twitter: "Looking like it's time to switch to yellows. Timo [Glock] coming in for set-up. He seems happy with the camber."

0346: Interesting. Sebastian Vettel, on the harder prime tyres, sets a 1:25.327 - the fastest time of the weekend so far. Button is second with a 1:25.961 but that was on the options. Alonso, also on the options, is third after a 1:26.121.

F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel

Vettel keeps F1 trophy in kitchen

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "I had a sneak preview of Sebastian Vettel and Jake Humphrey chatting in Switzerland before the start of the season and the world champion had lots of interesting things to say. Vettel told Jake that he keeps his world championship trophy in his kitchen because at least then it's in a place where he gets to see it everyday. The 23-year-old German adds: 'I get to keep it for one year and then I might have to give it back - but I hope not. The target is to have the trophy for such a long time so that it fades.' And the man mentored by seven-time champion Michael Schumacher adds ominously for his rivals: 'For me winning the world championship still is and always has been the greatest thing I can achieve in my life. If there's a reason why I'm alive it's because I want to win the championship.' You will be able to watch Jake's interview with Sebastian during Sunday's race programme which begins at 0600 BST."

BBC F1 analyst Maurice Hamilton: "It's a double whammy for Williams. They are going to have very little information going into qualifying and they were looking good, they were right up there at the head of the second group."

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz:"There's more bad news for Williams - Rubens Barrichello is out of the car and looks to be playing no more part in the session. The car is on the jacks and angled up so all the fuel runs back into the tank."

0335: Webber is top of the tree now, setting a 1:26.993, with Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi second after a 1:27.008. By the way, I forgot to mention earlier that Ted Kravitz was in the Virgin garage and he reported that Timo Glock has already had to change an engine. Apparently, a bolt came lose and went into a trumpet inlet of the engine. Remember that each driver only has eight new engines for the whole season.

Twitter
RandeeDan on Twitter: "I am in Barbados but glued to the text, very excited about the new season. Come on McLaren, let's see how good these upgrades are."

0329: The piece that flew off Heidfeld's car on the final corner was apparently an aerodynamic 'winglet'. "I don't think they will risk using it during the race," adds Maurice Hamilton. Adrian Sutil is told by his Force India that his Kers has failed - but it's working again now. Times: Vettel (1:27.337), Nico Rosberg (1:27.493), Button (1:27.624), Petrov (1:27.709), Mark Webber (1:27.883), Heidfeld (1:27.903) and Kobayashi (1:27.976).

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Red Bull asked FIA race director Charlie Whiting to ban the use of the moveable rear wing in qualifying. Mark Webber has been quite vocal that he thinks it's dangerous. But I think it's more to do with the torque characteristics of the Renault engine - the device suits the higher-torque engines. It's all political. But it's not going to happen."

Analyst Maurice Hamilton adds on 5 live: "We saw yesterday that Sebastian Vettel, even though he used the moveable rear wing, could not pass Fernando Alonso's Ferrari. That's because the Red Bull is generating so much downforce by the time they get to the speed when they're using the device that they're not getting the advantage from it."

0324: And we have a yellow flag. Williams rookie Pastor Maldonado has too much speed coming down into Turn 6, the back steps out, and he meets the gravel... and it will need a truck to lift him out. Williams technical director Sam Michael doesn't look too pleased in the garage. That will cost them a lot of time. And we see a replay of Heidfeld's Renault, as a piece of his car flies off the front as he goes over some rumble strips. Worrying.

0320: It's all happening. Jenson Button has a major lock up coming into Turn 3. He flies into the gravel but does not touch the barriers. There's a massive flat spot on those Pirelli tyres. Just to repeat, the tyres with the silver logo are the hard 'prime' compound, with the yellow logo on the soft 'option' tyre. Renault's Vitaly Petrov leads the way with a 1:27.709, oh no he doesn't, Sebastian Vettel posts a 1:27.337.

0316: Oh dear, more woe for Hispania. Liuzzi does get out of the garage but he has ground to a halt. I can't see them taking part tomorrow can you? Liuzzi is asked what happened, as the team have lost all connection to the car, and the Italian replies: "I touched the brake and the gearbox went into false neutral, I lost everything."

Twitter
Renault F1 on Twitter: "Some short runs coming up for Nick [Heidfeld] now. He says the car already feels better balanced than yesterday."

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh: "I believe we are back in the game. Yesterday was tense for all of us, coming here with a package that we have not run before. We have made some progress. I don't think we have seen the best from Red Bull but I hope we will be giving them a hard time. Our reliability was poor over the winter, the exhaust was a complex technical solution but it was clear that we needed something much simpler."

0308: Every driver has completed an installation lap, apart from the two Hispania drivers. BBC pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham says Vitantonio Liuzzi's car is ready and Narain Karthikeyan's car is almost ready.

Twitter
Team Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Both cars back in OK, already a better day."

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "McLaren have made an improvement and that is the story for me. The new exhaust is reliable and it has added performance. The buzz word down at McLaren was that it was not as good we would have liked but it was not as bad as we feared."

0300: And we are off. Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen is the first man out.

0257: Right then, coverage is under way on the Red Button, on BBC Radio 5 live and in the console at the top of this page. It's still overcast at Albert Park but the crowd looks pretty healthy. Ready?

0251: It wasn't the greatest day for the smaller teams, with Lotus test driver Karun Chandhok crashing after only three corners of FP1, while Hispania managed only one installation lap all day.

0246: In case you missed Friday's two practice sessions, well here's what happened. In FP1, the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and world champion Sebastian Vettel led the way, with times of 1:26.831 and 1.27.158. McLaren have struggled during winter testing but have brought an updated car to Melbourne, with a new exhaust system and floor, and in FP2 Jenson Button set the fastest time of 1:25.854 with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in second with a 1:25.986.

0241: Remember that I'm going to need your help during this commentary. No-one in their right mind wants to read me droning on all night. Where are you watching, how are you watching, have you been out or are you getting up? Were you one of those many people with kebab in hand wandering down Putney High Street earlier on? Someone actually tried to flag me down, thinking I was a black cab. I wouldn't have minded but I was on a moped. I want to know what she was drinking. You can get in touch using Twitter (via hashtag #BBCF1 ) or text me via 81111 with F1 before your message. Lovely.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Melbourne: "Hello again. It's another grey and windy day in Melbourne but fingers crossed it will stay dry for third practice. The slightly overcast conditions aren't dampening spirits in Melbourne and there is a nice atmosphere building in Albert Park and in the paddock where drivers, team staff and their guests were still eating lunch and drinking coffee al fresco on the lawns outside the team headquarters. On track, the teams have already turned their thoughts to qualifying and will be putting their cars in qualifying trim - which means low-fuel runs and soft tyres, so we should see Friday's fastest times, set by McLaren, bettered."

0234: Morning. I knew you would be back. Hope you've rested well. So here we are then, we've got third and final practice at 0300 GMT before the real deal of qualifying at 0600 GMT. Pumped?

0230: After months of speculation and rumour, weeks of testing and fine tuning - we are about to see them strut their stuff in anger for the first time. That's right people, - Eddie Jordan's shirts are back. I've missed them.




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Results

After 44 of 44 laps
Position Driver Team

Race completed

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

see also
Vettel blasts to Australian pole
26 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Australian GP qualifying photos
26 Mar 11 |  Formula One
I live to win F1 titles - Vettel
26 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Ferrari will improve, says Alonso
26 Mar 11 |  Formula One
McLaren fight back to the front
25 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Australian GP practice as it happened
25 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
I will stay at McLaren - Hamilton
25 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Newey rejected Ferrari approach
24 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Red Bull throw down F1 gauntlet
24 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Alonso expects season of upsets
23 Mar 11 |  Formula 1


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