Australian GP practice as it happened

Text and video highlights of second practice for the season-opening Australian GP, where Lewis Hamilton is quickest.

14 March 2014 Last updated at 01:00

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As it happened

  1. 07:30: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    It's all smiles at Mercedes after day one of the new Formula 1 season. The pre-season favourites are living up to their billing after Lewis Hamilton topped the times in second practice.

    However, reigning world champions Red Bull don't look too far off, which is impressive considering their dreadful testing form. Ferrari, McLaren and Williams also in the mix. It's brewing up nicely.

    I'll be back tomorrow at 02:30 GMT to bring you live coverage of third and final practice followed by qualifying - where we've got the possibility of rain to spice things up even more. Until then, it's good morning from me. Bye.

  2. 07:26: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's second practice report. Keep an eye out on the F1 pages for highlights of that session plus the best video interviews and all the news analysis from the Melbourne paddock.

  3. 07:23: 

    Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are favourites for the world title and their performance in second practice has done nothing to contradict that. I had a chat to BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish to examine the attributes that make Hamilton such a formidable driver. Read about it on the F1 pages.

  4. 07:19: 

    Sebastian Vettel completed the most laps in the second session with 41. Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo did 38 each, while pace-setter Lewis Hamilton managed 37.

  5. 07:16: 

    Caterham are in serious bother. Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson managed just one lap apiece in the first session and none at all in the second.

  6. 07:11: 

    As Friday practice sessions go, that was a pretty good one. There was lots and lots of action, a few spins and some very impressive lap times.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "The Mercedes is very quick, but the battle for second is close between McLarens, Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari.

    "I think Ferrari will be there or thereabouts, too, but I am a little bit confused as to why Alonso appears to be able to get more out of the car than Kimi Raikkonen.

    "The stand-out story, though, seems to be that Lotus are struggling. They over-performed last year but have not done much running and when it is out the car looks unstable."

  8. 07:06: 

    Well you'd have to say that, as expected, it's looking rather good for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton leading Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

  9. 07:03: 
    Second practice results

    1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Alonso 4) Vettel 5) Button 6) Ricciardo 7) Raikkonen 8) Bottas 9) Magnussen 10) HUlkenberg 11) Vergne

    12) Massa 13) Perez 14) Sutil 15) Gutierrez 16) Kvyat 17) Bianchi 18) Grosjean 19) Chilton

    Did not set a lap time: Ericsson, Kobayashi and Maldonado.

  10. 07:00: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in second practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

  11. 06:57: 

    Seconds after Nico Hulkenberg's incident, Romain Grosjean gets two wheels on the grass. The car doesn't like that and the rear end snaps, hitting the wall and then spinning off into the gravel. Looks like broken right rear suspension for the Lotus.

  12. 06:55: 

    Nico Hulkenberg gets it all wrong and spins into the gravel. He spins the rear wheels of his Force India, but to no avail.

  13. 06:53: 

    All but six cars are out on track with just seven minutes of the session remaining.

  14. 06:49: 

    Sergio Perez gets a couple of wheels on the grass under-braking. That destabilises the car, sending the Mexican off-track and into the gravel. The Force India driver keeps the engine running and avoids the barriers to recover to the the track.

  15. 06:45: 

    Red Bull are having a strong day considering their miserable winter testing. Sebastian Vettel has completed 29 laps in this session, while Daniel Ricciardo has done 26. That's 91 for the day.

  16. 06:43: 

    Our man Andrew Benson has been analysing the long runs and it looks like Red Bull are around half a second slower than Mercedes.


    Brian Hambling: Fantastic visual spectacle but the cars sound like Mopeds??

    Brett Howse: The new engines seem to be missing the terror factor of previous seasons.

    Simon Wood: Are we describing the cars noses this year as duck bill, proboscis and double proboscis? Or is that too kind!?

    Ian Whitehead: Loving the new noise of them v6 turbos cant wait to hear a full grid when the lights go out #bbcf1.

  18. 06:37: 

    Williams report that Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas are on long runs. Bottas is lapping very consistently in the 1m34s.

  19. 06:34: 

    Lewis Hamilton leads the way from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, with Fernando Alonso third. Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button complete the top five. Four world champions in the top five.


    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kyvat over team radio: "It's impossible to warm the tyres in this way, guys. There are too many things to do."

  21. 06:28: 

    Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson look bored out of their minds as they sit in the team's hospitality unit watching the action rather than being part of it.

  22. 06:20: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    It's Lewis Hamilton's turn to do a soft tyre run and it's a good one. The Mercedes driver clocks a 1:29.625 to go quickest, 0.157 seconds faster than team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  23. 06:19: 

    Nico Rosberg has headed back out on track to do a long run on those soft tyres.

  24. 06:15: 

    Jennie Gow reports that Pastor Maldonado is unlikely to get out in his Lotus in this session because of an Ers problem.


    Caterham: The bad luck keeps coming - @Ericsson_Marcus did an installation lap but when he boxed we had an hydraulics issue which has meant floor off.

  26. 06:10: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button, who has won this race in three of the last five years, goes third fastest, 0.7 seconds off the pace.

  27. 06:07: 

    Sebastian Vettel goes second quickest, six tenths off the pace, on the soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton is persevering with the harder compound and gets severely held up by Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso.

  28. 06:05: 
    Valtteri Bottas

    Valtteri Bottas (pictured) goes third quickest in the Williams on the soft tyre, 1.1 seconds slower than Nico Rosberg's Mercedes and fourth tenths slower than Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "McLaren started pre-season testing with promise but seemed to slip back the longer it went on. Part of that will be that they, as their new driver Kevin Magnussen said, 'the whole testing we pretty much ran the launch car'. Jenson Button added here: 'We have some new bits here. We will see. I don't know where we are, this is a very different circuit to Bahrain. I think the two quick cars, Mercedes and Williams will be quick here but I don't know how big the gaps will be from the other teams.'"

  30. 05:59: 

    Nico Rosberg goes quickest with a 1:29.782, eight tenths quicker than Daniel Ricciardo in third. Nico Hulkenberg is half a second further back in third.

  31. 05:58: 

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg is the first man to switch to the soft tyre. He'll do a quick lap on those and then return to the pits to fuel up and simulate the start of the grand prix on those tyres.

  32. 05:57: 

    Lewis Hamilton completes a smooth practice start and then accelerates out onto the circuit. Lotus have managed to get Romain Grosjean back out, but on the Frenchman's first flying lap, he has a brief off-track excursion, forcing him to back off.

  33. 05:54: 

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have lined up at the bottom of the pit lane to carry out a practice start. They're sitting there for a long time, though, and Alonso gets tired of waiting so he drive around the Finn and onto track. "I can't select first gear," says Raikkonen on the team radio. That explains the delay. "We are looking into it Kimi," says his engineer. The Finn is pushed back to the garage by the marshals.

  34. 05:50: 

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg leads the way by 0.33 seconds from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with Jenson Button a tenth further back in the McLaren.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "There has been a bit of concern in some quarters that the new F1 cars might look and sound too slow but personally I think they look great out on the track. The drivers are visibly having to struggle to contain the huge amount of extra torque this year and the cars are sliding around more in corners as a result of this and the reduced downforce. The turbo hybrid engines are quieter than last year's V8s but they have a muscular feel and a multi-dimensional sound, with the engine itself, turbo and electrical parts all audible. And each of the three engine makes has a different sound. The Ferrari is incredibly smooth - downchanges are almost inaudible on the factory cars. The Mercedes has more of an edge to it, and the Renault sounds loose and clattery."

  36. 05:47: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel gets two wheels on the grass at Turn One which destabilises his Red Bull and sends him off track. The German keeps it clear of the barriers and continues. "Sebastian, you probably know but you got two wheels on the grass at Turn One," says Vettel's engineer. "Yes I noticed," comes the reply.

  37. 05:45: 

    Fernando Alonso is really pushing, the rear of his Ferrari snaking around as the Spaniard wrestles to keep control. He then makes a mistake and backs off.

  38. 05:42: 

    It's very busy out on track, with Valtteri Bottas moving into second, with Jenson Button third and Sebastian Vettel fourth. Kevin Magnussen is really pushing, perhaps a little too hard as he skates off track and bounces across the grass before rejoining.

  39. 05:40: 

    Nico Rosberg goes quickest with a 1:32.013, eight tenths quicker than Nico Hulkenberg with Kevin Magnussen third.

  40. 05:38: 

    Romain Grosjean has ventured out, but it's not long before he's reporting issues with his Lotus. This time, it's a problem with the power steering.

  41. 05:36: 

    Yes he will. The Briton clocks a 1:35.748, which is 2.5 seconds off the pace set by Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.

  42. 05:35: 

    Lewis Hamilton is out on circuit. Will he manage more than one lap?

  43. 05:34: 

    Adrian Sutil is the first man to set a timed lap, the German clocking a 1:38.055 in the Sauber.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:
    Lewis Hamilton

    "Lewis Hamilton's 2014 season did not get off to a great start - his Mercedes stopped on its first proper lap in the first session because of an oil system problem. But executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe said that it should be easy to fix it and he expected Hamilton to take a full part in the second session."

  45. 05:30: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    And we're go, go, go in second practice for the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park.

  46. 05:28: 

    Neither Caterham managed to set a timed lap in first practice. It's looking up for Marcus Ericsson, as his car is almost ready, but it's not so good for Kamui Kobayashi whose car is in pieces in the garage.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "The second practice session is when drivers traditionally start to do their race preparation, with a full-fuel simulation in the second part of the session. There is an added complication this year with the advent of a fuel restriction and there has been concern over whether this will affect the racing.

    "Fernando Alonso says he does not expect it to make much difference. 'We have been managing the tyres a lot because of high degradation,' he says. 'Now we will manage the tyres, we will manage a little bit the batteries and the fuel consumption - but all in the same way. It will be hard to see on TV or even from the grandstand when we are saving two or three 10ths of a second.'"

  48. 05:23: 

    Sebastian Vettel was forced to sit on the pit wall for the opening part of first practice as his Red Bull team worked to get his car ready. However, with seven minutes to go until second practice, the German is suiting up already which means he should be out early doors.

  49. 05:18: 

    The sun is shining in Melbourne with plenty of fans in attendance. Over in the pits, Nico Rosberg looks relaxed as he watches his mechanics prepare the car ahead of second practice. The German was sixth fastest in the opening session.

  50. 05:16: 

    So after the first 90-minute session of the new Formula 1 season, who is your tip for success? Who is your dark horse? And who do you think will struggle? Fire over your thoughts using the #bbcf1 hashtag or by texting 81111 (UK only).

  51. 05:12: 
    BBC Radio 5 live commentary box

    This is the view from the BBC Radio 5 live commentary box in Albert Park. James Allen, Allan McNish and Jennie Gow will be up and running on Sports Extra at 0525. You can listen via the link at the top right of the page.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "The sense that this season could well be ridden with politics over requests by engine manufacturers to make 'reliability' changes to their homologated power-units was emphasised on Thursday when Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo wrote an open letter to the team's fans. In it, he emphasised that the new rules had 'some grey areas, for example fuel, software, consumption.' He urged governing body the FIA to be 'vigilant - as I'm sure they will be - to avoid any trickery, which has also taken place in the recent past but must not happen any more for the good of the sport.' Whatever accusation he was implying about whichever rival was left unsaid."

  53. 05:06: 
    Red Bull

    Red Bull managed to get some good running, but Sebastian Vettel had an issue at the end of the session. Allan McNish and Jennie Gow were discussing the Red Bull's bodywork which appeared to bulge, as you can see in Jennie's pic above.

  54. 05:03: 

    Williams looked strong in first practice, with Valtteri Bottas third and Felipe Massa fourth. It was not so good for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton with the Briton failing to complete a single lap.

  55. 05:00: 

    Hello. I'm back! Hope you managed to get some sleep in between sessions. The next one starts in exactly 30 minutes.

  56. 03:25: 

    Time for a pit stop between sessions. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was the surprise pace-setter in first practice, as Lewis Hamilton's season started badly when he stopped out on track on his first lap.

    Will he have a better time of it in second practice? Meet back here at 05:00 GMT to find out. See you in a bit.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "Cars look great out on the track. Much quieter, yes, but more muscular sound. Fantastically fast on straights, more sliding in the corners."

  58. 03:19: 

    The first championship race in Australia was held in 1985 on the Adelaide street circuit, which hosted the F1 season finale for a decade before the event switched to Melbourne's Albert Park at the start of 1996. What makes the Australian Grand Prix such an exciting place to start the Formula 1 season? Check out this video to find out.

  59. 03:14: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's developing first practice report. We'll have highlights up on the website later this morning.

  60. 03:09: 

    Jean-Eric Vergne managed to complete the most laps of anyone with 30 in the Toro Rosso. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo did 26, but his team-mate Sebastian Vettel completed just 10.

  61. 03:04: 
    First practice results

    1) Alonso 2) Button 3) Bottas 4) Massa 5) Ricciardo 6) Rosberg 7) Vettel 8) Magnussen 9) Raikkonen 10) Vergne 11) Hulkenberg

    12) Perez 13) Kvyat 14) Gutierrez 15) Sutil 16) Bianchi 17) Chilton

    Did not set a lap time: Ericsson, Hamilton, Kobayashi, Maldonado and Grosjean

    Allan McNish, BBC F1 analyst

    "All the teams are having problems, we saw that immediately with Lewis Hamilton. But so far, it's all very close out there."

  63. 03:01: 
    Fernando Alonso

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finishes fastest in first practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

  64. 03:00: 

    Big lock-up from Jean-Eric Vergne who then puts a wheel on the grass and slides off track at Turn Three. he keeps it out of the barriers, though, and then rejoins.

  65. 02:58: 

    Red Bull mechanics are running down the pit lane. Why? Well Sebastian Vettel requires their assistance.

  66. 02:55: 

    Marussia's Max Chilton has an issue as he leaves the garage and requires a push back to the garage from his mechanics.

  67. 02:53: 

    Replays show that there was smoke pouring out of the cockpit in Pastor Maldonado's Lotus. That may explain why he got distracted and ran off track.

  68. 02:51: 

    Lotus missed the first pre-season test and struggled to get any decent mileage when they did join the action for the final two tests. Unfortunately, their troubles continue as Pastor Maldonado coasts down the pit lane and requires his mechanics to give him a push back.

  69. 02:50: 

    Pastor Maldonado is coasting around, with just one hand on the steering wheel, when he suddenly skates off track and bounces across the gravel before rejoining.

  70. 02:48: 

    Romain Grosjean is the only driver yet to have made an appearance in this session. But based on the fact his Lotus is still up on the jacks, it's doubtful he'll make it out at all with just 12 minutes remaining.

  71. 02:45: 

    There's better news at Lotus as the team fire up Pastor Maldonado's car and send him out on track. There's an issue, though.

    The Venezuelan underestimates how much steering is required to turn out of the garage and is forced to stop just in front of the pit wall before being pushed back. Second time round, he manages to get it right.

  72. 02:42: 

    Sebastian Vettel moves up to eighth before pulling into the pits and parking up in the Red Bull garage. Nico Rosberg is back out in the Mercedes, as is McLaren's Jenson Button.

  73. 02:40: 

    It's a gloriously sunny day in Melbourne but the forecast for the rest of the weekend is less spectacular. Rain is on the cards tomorrow but while a dry race is expected, temperatures are set to drop 10 degrees to 18C. Watch the the latest forecast on our weather pages.

  74. 02:38: 
    Fernando Alonso

    Fernando Alonso is currently fastest with a time of 1:31.840. The best lap in this session last year was a 1:27.211 from Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. Just 22 minutes left in this session.

  75. 02:36: 

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel goes 13th quickest, 2.5 seconds off the pace.

  76. 02:34: 

    Red Bull tell Sebastian Vettel to do a run of five laps if the engine runs cleanly. It's not such good news for Romain Grosjean whose Lotus is up on the jacks and being worked on by his mechanics.

  77. 02:33: 

    Fourteen drivers have completed timed laps. Adrian Sutil, Marcus Ericsson, Jules Bianchi, Lewis Hamilton, Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have yet to do so.

  78. 02:31: 

    Marussia's Max Chilton has a strange incident when he pulls into his pit box. The Briton locks the tyres as he turns in and slides into a mechanics holding the jack.

  79. 02:28: 

    Fernando Alonso, running the number 14 as drivers have been allowed to choose their own race numbers from this season which stay with them throughout their careers, goes quickest in the Ferrari. The Spaniard clocks a 1:31.840, half a second clear of Jenson Button's McLaren with Williams' Felipe Massa third.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "Renault have talked a good game over the winter despite struggling on track. Engineering chief Remi Taffin insists he does "not expect much of a gap" to their rivals on track this weekend, although he admits that he 'cannot see how they will be ahead of Mercedes'.

    "Renault have been struggling to do full-power race starts in testing, but Taffin insists their cars will be able to go off from the grid on Sunday, although it's clear that doing good ones is still a work in progress. 'We will be OK to do some starts,' he said. 'We've seen some good ones. At some point. It's consistency we need. We just need to make some starts.'"

  81. 02:26: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Mercedes say an oil pressure alarm led to a precautionary engine shutdown on Lewis Hamilton's car which saw the Briton stop out on track on his first lap early in the session.

  82. 02:24: 

    Felipe Massa goes sixth quickest in the Williams, one place behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and around a second off the pace.

  83. 02:23: 

    Daniil Kvyat mows the lawn down at Turn One, dragging some soil onto the track before rejoining in the Toro Rosso.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "When you have huge change, you have huge challenge. With the new technical regulations, I'll be surprised if more than half the cars finish the race on Sunday. That takes us back 20 years where you used to have teams going to the first race having not done a full race simulation in testing. It was an unknown."

  85. 02:20: 

    There's a roar in the Red Bull garage and a few seconds later, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel pulls out of the garage for the first time this weekend.

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    Andy Berrick: The cars sound like swarms of insects now.

    Q: Definitely going to miss the old V8 screech, but I think this new V6 growl will grow on us!

    Adam Harvey: OMG the sound of these cars, i can hear a pin drop !! Arrghhhh

  87. 02:16: 

    Jenson Button is doing a series of laps in the McLaren and goes quickest with a 1:32.357. Fernando Alonso drops to second, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg.

  88. 02:13: 

    Jenson Button pops into third with a 1:32.893, three tenths off the pace set by Fernando Alonso.

    BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry

    Dear Aussie security. The guy in the white race suit and helmet. That's @LewisHamilton... Probably best to let him in ;-)

  90. 02:09: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    If you're just joining us, Lewis Hamilton is out of first practice after stopping out on track on his first lap. The Briton kept his helmet on all the way back to the garage, which is code for "I don't want to talk to anyone". Amusingly, he was also asked by security for his pass.

  91. 02:04: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button does a practice start and then heads out on track. The Briton and Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez have the track to themselves.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:
    Valtteri Bottas

    "Watch out for Williams this weekend. They have looked immensely impressive in pre-season testing and the expectation is that they will be fighting with Mercedes, who now supply their engines, at the front. But will it be Felipe Massa or Valtteri Bottas who leads their charge? Well, Massa set the headline fastest time in testing, but the word within the team is that Bottas was actually quicker - and by quite some margin."

  93. 01:59: 

    Fernando Alonso goes quickest in the Ferrari, the Spaniard just 0.016 seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes. Britain's Jenson Button is 10th in the McLaren.

  94. 01:58: 

    Sergio Perez has a half spin has he gets on the power out of Turn Three. The Force India driver catches it and continues on his way.

  95. 01:56: 

    Fernando Alonso goes quickest in the Ferrari, but he's bumped down by Nico Rosberg who pumps in a 1:32.604 in the Mercedes. Daniel Ricciardo down to third, with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne fourth.

    Lewis Hamilton

    Scott Nicholas: #AusGP @LewisHamilton first lap of #FP1 and the @MercedesAMGF1 has given up #Ominous?

  97. 01:54: 

    Daniel Ricciardo is clocking up a solid amount of laps out there in the Red Bull. The Australian is up to nine laps, with a best of 1:33.785. Ten cars are out on track.

    We should see more action in the opening 30 minutes of this session as teams get an extra set of tyres for that must be used in that period. They must hand back afterwards.

  98. 01:52: 

    Lewis Hamilton has made it back to the paddock and is immediately swamped by camera crews and snappers. The Mercedes encountered an automatic switch-off when on track, so the car stopped without Hamilton doing anything.


    Marussia: We're expecting the first part to be a bit of an extension of the Bahrain test, as everyone has new versions of software to validate. We have one tyre that we are required to use for the first 30 mins. We'll use that window for some race reliability work to prepare for Sun.

  100. 01:50: 

    McLaren's Kevin Magnussen goes second quickest, half a second off the pace, with Valtteri Bottas in the Williams a tenth further back.

  101. 01:48: 

    Who would have thought Red Bull would be the first team to set a flying lap, eh? Daniel Ricciardo goes fastest with a 1:35.168.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "Just how much trouble are Red Bull and engine partner Renault in? It's no secret that testing has not been pretty and that they have a multitude of problems, but where they lie in terms of competitiveness remains something of a mystery.

    "Few who have seen the car on track doubt that Adrian Newey has again set the standard for aerodynamic excellence, but the car is undoubtedly being held back by its engine and reliability problems - both related and not so to the power unit. But how much is the car able to make that deficit up? Some answers are about to be revealed."

  103. 01:45: 

    We're riding onboard with Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull and if you're listening on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, you'll hear the sound of the new 1.6-litre V6 engine. It sounds like a vacuum cleaner. I'm not sure how I feel about it. What do you think? Text us on 81111 (UK only) or tweet #bbcf1 hashtag. All F1-related chat welcome.

  104. 01:42: 

    Only Sebastian Vettel, Max Chilton and the Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have yet to venture out on track.


    Marussia: Today we'll be working mainly towards the race, devoting only a brief window to some lower fuel evaluations. Aero assessments throughout. In #FP1 Jules will be running our new components - new front wing, brake drum & floor developments - a reasonable level of 'step'.

  106. 01:40: 

    It doesn't look like Sebastian Vettel will be out any time soon. The reigning world champion is on the team wall, alongside team boss Christian Horner, watching the action. His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo has popped out and completed an installation lap without any incident.

  107. 01:38: 

    Lewis Hamilton climbs out of the car and heads over to the barriers as the marshals scurry over with the crane to remove the stricken Mercedes under double yellow flag conditions.

  108. 01:36: 

    Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are considered to be favourites for the World Championship so I wasn't expecting to see the Briton grind to a halt down at Turn Nine on his first lap of the session. Oh dear.

  109. 01:33: 

    Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen are among the first to head out for an installation lap.

  110. 01:30: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The pit lane opens its doors to signal the start of Formula 1 2014.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "Few people in Formula 1 have any doubts about the team that is best placed to excel at this first race of the season. In the official news conference here, the drivers involved were all asked who was the favourite and all those who answered said Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton, though, is playing his status down. 'It is a really unpredictable year, or at least the start of the year, we have had winter season and things are looking positive for us but you still don't know,' he said."

  112. 01:28:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra is up and running. You can listen to Ben Edwards, Jennie Gow and Allan McNish via the link at the top right of this page.

  113. 01:25: 

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "We're ready to go with one car but we've got a final bit of work to do on Seb [Vettel]'s. We will go out and do an install [lap] and then try and get into the weekend.

    "Our plan is to try and do as many laps as we can to catch up on the ground we lost in winter testing. We want to run as much as we dare bearing in mind these engines are part of our allocation [across the season]."

  114. 01:23: 

    And it seems Sebastian Vettel's race weekend will not be getting off to a flying start...

  115. 01:20: 

    Red Bull's problems in testing centred around poor reliability and a lack of performance from their Renault engine. The problems were so bad that there is a real chance Sebastian Vettel and his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, let alone contend for points, podiums or victories.

  116. 01:16: 

    Not since 28 July 2013 has Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel been beaten in a grand prix. The reigning world champion won the last nine races in a row last year, leading five of those races from start-to-finish.

    However, the chances of the German continuing that run into this season are remote, very remote. His Red Bull team had a shocker of a pre-season test, completing just 1,265 miles to Mercedes' massive 3,090.

  117. 01:12: 

    So here's how today is going to work. First practice starts at 0130 GMT, with live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra starting five minutes earlier.

    It's the same set-up for second practice, which begins at 0530 GMT. Oh and for all the latest F1 news, maybe I suggest following @bbcf1 on Twitter.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:

    "Melbourne's infamously capricious weather apparently has some tricks up its sleeve this weekend, but Friday is a glorious day for the start of the Formula 1 season. There are perfect blue skies, warm sunshine and a temperature in the region of 28-29C.

    "There is no time to enjoy the weather for the teams, though. The biggest rule changes for decades have produced immensely complicated cars. Reliability is still a long way from proven and repairs take far longer than they had in the past. It will be a fascinating weekend - and season - in so many different ways."

  119. 01:06: 
    Melbourne's Albert Park

    Australia is our host for the season opener, the silence of Melbourne's Albert Park soon to be broken by the sound of a 1.6-litre V6 engine firing up and roaring around a temporary circuit for first practice of the Australian Grand Prix.

  120. 01:03: 

    Good morning all and welcome to the dawn of a new era. We've got new rules, new cars and new driver line-ups. The wind of change is blowing through Formula 1.

  121. 01:00: 

    The wait is finally over. After 110 days in the winter wilderness, Formula 1 is back. And it's back with a bang.

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Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 384
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 317
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 238
4 Finland V Bottas Williams 186
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 167
6 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 161
7 Brazil F Massa Williams 134
8 Great Britain J Button McLaren 126
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 96
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 59
11 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 55
12 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 55
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 22
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 2
18 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham 0
23 W Stevens Caterham 0


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

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