Formula 1: Australian Grand Prix qualifying as it happened

Text and video highlights as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton takes pole in a wet qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

15 March 2014 Last updated at 02:32

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As it happened

  1. 08:20: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Daniel Ricciardo delivered on his Red Bull debut as his more decorated team-mate Sebastian Vettel was left in disarray. While Williams qualified both cars in the top 10, Lotus suffered the misery of securing the back row. Stars were born in Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen but Kimi Raikkonen's pride took a hit with the barriers.

    For Lewis Hamilton it was a good start, but he must complete the job tomorrow. Can the Briton live up to his pre-season tag as favourite? Join us tomorrow from 04:30 GMT to find out. Until then, it's good morning from me.


    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, who qualified an impressive eighth on his debut: "This was a very good session for us and I really didn't expect to be qualifying eighth at my first grand prix two months ago!

    "This is definitely a big step forward and I'm very happy for the team, who did a fantastic job also from the strategy side. Now our focus is on tomorrow, which should be interesting also because of the weather forecast."

  3. 08:12: 
    David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton and Suzi Perry

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will be talking through his pole lap - the 32nd of his career - with David Coulthard and Suzi Perry in the highlights show at 14:55 GMT.

  4. 08:07: 

    Here's a handy link to coverage details for Formula 1 for this weekend and throughout the season. Highlights of qualifying will be on BBC Two at 14:55 GMT.

    The race will be live at 06:00 GMT with live text commentary giving the race the build-up it deserves from 04:30 and BBC Radio 5 live joining the fun at 05:30.


    Caterham reserve driver Alexander Rossi: @kamui_kobayashi, you are a hero. After zero running on Friday to make it into Q2. Oh and that was before the rain. #mental


    Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi: @tonyfernandes Thanks tony. Still we are learning a lot. Important for us tomorrow is finish race and take more mileage!


    Caterham: Excellent job by the team led by @Cyroul. With so little running everyone at Caterham deserves an applause. Much more to come. Well done @kamui_kobayashi .you spirit determination and can do is a lesson for all of us.

  8. 07:59: 

    Kevin Magnussen made a stunning debut, qualifying fourth. That's the same as Lewis Hamilton managed on his debut in Australia in 2007.


    Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne: Congrats to my mate @danielricciardo for this 2nd position. You'll have a great view on the grid tomorrow ;)

  10. 07:52: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel only failed to qualify in the top three once in all of last season (ninth in China) and has been on pole in three of the last four editions of the Australian Grand Prix. But the German is unhappy with the "drivability" of his Red Bull and will start tomorrow's race 12th.

  11. 07:48: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's qualifying report. You can watch the highlights on BBC Two are 14:55 GMT, on the Red Button at 22:00, or online later today.


    Pastor Maldonado, who qualified 22nd: "It's been quite difficult today. We're working very hard and we need to be optimistic. On the plus side, we're not the only ones with problems. We'll keep on working hard and try to work harder than the others.

    "It was a power unit related issue which meant we were so late to the track. By that time it started to rain, and then, that's it! For the race we'll just do the best we can. Our pace should be quite good; we just need to put the laps together."


    Romain Grosjean, who qualified 21st: "We had a lot of problems today and every time we fixed one another one comes along! The guys are working very hard and it's a tough situation for everyone. We just have to learn everything we can every time we are out in the car on the track.

    "Yes it's frustrating, but I'm the one who has the easiest life as I'm not working all night on the car. The whole team is here to win, so when it doesn't go to plan it's not great. It could still be made into a monster of a car if we all pull together as a team. We've been through some tough times in the past so we'll work our way out of it."

  14. 07:37: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    That was Lewis Hamilton's 32 pole position of his career and brings him level with Nigel Mansell in joint-sixth in the all-time list. The Briton is now one behind Jim Clark and Alain Prost.

  15. 07:35: 

    Lewis Hamilton has not finished on the podium or led a lap in any of the last eight races. Will that change tomorrow? The lights go out at 06:00 GMT tomorrow with live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live and online.


    Carol says: "Best qualifying session I have seen in a long long time hope the race is just as good."

    Kelly says: "Listening to @bbcf1 via phone for quali. 5yo momentarily confused why Daddy wasn't answering her question."

    Alan says: "From a big Lewis fan, Ricciardo did well. So pleased he beat Vettel - he needs knocking off his perch now."

    Alexander says: "It's disgusting that people boo vettel still... I wasn't a fan of him but no driver should face those."

    Dobzilla® says: "I got a feelin' winning this first race would be crucial in how @LewisHamilton's season would pan out."

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg, who will start third: "I'm not sure what the others were doing - we didn't get everything right, but we didn't do much wrong, but all in all it was a good qualifying session. I'm pleased with third - we could do better, but at least with that a good race is possible.

    "It will be a different story tomorrow depending on the weather. There is a small chance of rain but it's more likely to be dry and totally different. Melbourne is the most difficult track for fuel consumption so it will be difficult to save fuel during the race. It will be a big challenge."


    More from Daniel Ricciardo: "I don't know yet what Sebastian's issues were. I saw he was about two seconds off my pace at time he went out. We'll have to see what happened. But for now, I'm so happy for me to be up here and for the team to have a car on the front row. It wasn't looking like this a few weeks ago so I'm pretty pleased right now."


    Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified second: "It was exciting, definitely the weather added to the mix. The whole session went well. Not everyone was out with the options in the beginning, Q1 looked like it was going OK for us.

    "When the rain fell, it was the first time we have all driven on the limit in wet conditions. It was tricky but at the same time a lot of fun, It's nice to be always up there, setting times which put us in the battle for pole. It's nice for me and also for the team."


    More from Lewis Hamilton: "It was difficult to know where the turnover point was for intermediates and full wets. Do you take a risk or not? We decided not to. Ricciardo did a good job on the intermediate tyres, so it was a close call between the two tyres. The conditions made it extremely difficult. I hope the weather is better tomorrow for the fans but also for us."


    Mercedes' pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton: "It's been an interesting weekend. Today it made it so much harder with the conditions but I'm really happy for the job the team did.

    "The new cars are harder to drive in the wet and it's the first time for me driving in these conditions - as I'm sure it is for a lot of other drivers. But to be up here is a great showing for the team. It's great for Ricciardo, too, in his first grand prix for Red Bull."

  22. 07:18: 
    Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo

    It's time to hear from the top three...

  23. 07:16: 

    Sebastian Vettel will start 12th as a result of Valtteri Bottas' grid penalty for a gearbox change.

  24. 07:14: 
    Qualilfying result

    1) Hamilton 2) Ricciardo 3) Rosberg 4) Magnussen 5) Alonso 6) Vergne 7) Hulkenberg 8) Kvyat 9) Massa 10) Bottas

    11) Button 12) Raikkonen 13) Vettel 14) Sutil 15) Kobayashi 16) Perez

    17) Chilton 18) Bianchi 19) Gutierrez 20) Ericsson 21) Grosjean 22) Maldonado

  25. 07:09: 

    Nico Rosberg looks unimpressed with his third place grid slot. The German congratulates Daniel Ricciardo before the pair head out with pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton for the top three photograph.


    Stuart says: "People still boo Vettel? I'm no fan of him, but that's just so last year! How embarrassing."

    Daniel says: "Loved the sound of the crowd when Vettel didn't get into #Q3 #Cheering #AussiesDontLikeSeb #bbcf1"

    Tenesha says: "Sweet justice for @AussieGrit now that Vettel is 13th and in Australia."

  27. 07:06: 

    Hugs and pats on the back all round as Daniel Ricciardo makes his way to the weighing area. The Australian has one of his broadest smiles. Someone from the FIA explains the procedure to Ricciardo as he hasn't qualified in the top three before of course.


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who qualified 13th: "There is not much I can do now but we are disappointed - the car was good yesterday. I struggled with drivability. We have lost that overnight, so we need to find out why that was."

  29. 07:05: 

    Very impressive from rookies Kevin Magnussen, who will start fourth, and Daniil Kvyat, who qualified eighth in the Toro Rosso.


    Lewis Hamilton's race engineer: "Get in there Lewis, nice job mate." Hamilton: "Did I do enough?" "Yeah, that's pole."

  31. 07:04: 

    Stunning stuff from Lewis Hamilton who keeps his composure and soaks up the pressure to take pole position for Mercedes, 0.317 seconds quicker than anyone else.

  32. 07:03: 

    Lewis Hamilton takes pole position for the Australian Grand Prix.

  33. 07:02: 

    Australian Daniel Ricciardo goes quickest to the delight of the fans! What a lap from the new Red Bull driver on the intermediate tyre. Has he taken pole in his home race?

  34. 07:01: 

    The chequered flag comes out as Nico Rosberg goes quickest! Remarkable! Just Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton to come.

  35. 07:00: 

    Daniil Kvyat loses control of his Toro Rosso, spins, hits the barrier but manages to continue.

  36. 06:59: 

    Kevin Magnussen goes third quickest in the McLaren. Very impressive from the Danish rookie.


    McLaren's Jenson Button, who qualified 11th: "The car was working well, and we were happy with the pace - we were quickest in the wet, but at the end yellow flags hurt any chance of getting a lap in."

  38. 06:57: 

    The rear of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes just snaps out, sending the German skating across the grass at Turn Nine. That ruins that lap but at least his car is unscathed.

  39. 06:55: 

    Daniel Ricciardo heads in for a set of intermediate tyres, while Lewis Hamilton chooses the full wets, as does Fernando Alonso.


    Daniel Ricciardo's race engineer: "Is it time for inters?" Ricciardo: "It will be if we stay out."

  41. 06:54: 

    Lewis Hamilton pumps in a beauty of a lap in these tricky conditions to take provisional pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third. Nico Hulkenberg is fourth, Jean-Eric Vergne fifth and Daniil Kvyat sixth. The Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa are eighth and 10th. Kevin Magnussen is seventh and Fernando Alonso ninth.

  42. 06:53: 

    Nico Rosberg goes quickest, seven tenths quicker than Lewis Hamilton, with Nico Hulkenberg third and Jean-Eric Vergne fourth.

  43. 06:51: 

    Kimi Raikkonen arrives back in the paddock, with his helmet still on. He strolls straight into the Ferrari hospitality unit and into his private room, flinging the door shut behind him.

  44. 06:50: 

    All drivers have headed out on the full wet tyre apart from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who has ventured out on the intermediates.

  45. 06:49: 

    We've got 12 minutes, 10 drivers, one pole position. Let's do this.

  46. 06:48: 

    It's a very impressive performance from Toro Rosso, particularly 19-year-old rookie Daniil Kvyat. The team get both cars into Q3, as does McLaren's Kevin Magnussen. Britain's Jenson Button, a three-time winner of this race, just misses out in 11th.

  47. 06:47: 

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is booed by some fans in the main grandstand as he walks back to his garage after parking his car in parc ferme.

  48. 06:46: 

    1) Rosberg 2) Ricciardo 3) Alonso 4) Hamilton 5) Magnussen 6) Hulkenberg 7) Vergne 8) Bottas 9) Massa 10) Kvyat

  49. 06:45: 

    11) Button 12) Raikkonen 13) Vettel 14) Sutil 15) Kobayashi 16) Perez

  50. 06:44: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    The last time Sebastian Vettel didn't make Q3 was in the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. Remarkable.

  51. 06:43: 

    Nico Rosberg finishes fastest, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso.

  52. 06:42: 

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel fails to make the final part of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

  53. 06:41: 

    There will be yellow flags in that sector, so drivers cannot go faster in that sector. But they can push elsewhere. Sebastian Vettel is 12th. Will the reigning champion fail to make it into the top 10?

  54. 06:40: 

    Kimi Raikkonen has stuck the Ferrari in the wall.

  55. 06:39: 

    Nico Rosberg goes quickest, four tenths quicker than Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso is third and Lewis Hamilton is fourth.

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "It's starting to rain again here in the pit-lane."

  57. 06:38: 

    Valtteri Bottas is currently quickest from Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are in the drop zone.

  58. 06:37: 

    This is going to be a serious tense last few minutes as everyone heads back out for one final run. Traffic will be a major issue.

  59. 06:36: 

    Sebastian Vettel is under a bit of pressure here. He's in the drop zone in 12th and has just pitted. His Red Bull team roll him back into the garage to prep the car for one final run. Just three minutes remaining.

  60. 06:35: 

    Jenson Button goes fastest, but then Daniel Ricciardo takes the top spot. The track is drying all the time so the times are tumbling. Kevin Magnussen pulls himself out of the drop zone, at the expense of Felipe Massa, with the eight quickest time.

  61. 06:34: 

    Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen, Adrian Sutil, Daniil Kvyat and Kamui Kobayashi are currently in the drop zone with five minutes remaining.

  62. 06:33: 

    Lewis Hamilton is quickest now as the drivers gain confidence in the slippery conditions. Daniel Ricciardo goes second, just 0.007 seconds off the pace. Nico Rosberg is third, ahead of Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

  63. 06:31: 

    Valtteri Bottas goes quickest now, the Finn clocking a 1:45.689, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. On his next lap, Bottas takes too much kerb into Turn One and is powerless to stop the Williams spinning round. Thankfully for him, he avoids the wall and is soon back on his way.


    Max Chilton, who qualified 17th: "I'm happy. That was my best qualifying session so far, so hopefully it is a good sign for the car - all in all I'm happy with my lap. The team worked really hard - they only got two hours sleep last night so credit to them. It's an exciting start of the season because you don't know what car you've got underneath you."

  65. 06:27: 

    Nico Rosberg goes top with a 1:46.708, nearly half a second quicker than Felipe Massa, with Jean-Eric Vergne third and Lewis Hamilton fourth.


    Romain Grosjean, who qualified 21st: "We're all very unhappy, but we will bounce back and learn and work. The guys were doing an amazing job [working through the night]. It's been a painful first weekend but we will learn and make it better for the next race."

  67. 06:26: 

    The Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas are the first two out on track. They've chosen the intermediate tyres, like most of their competitors. The rain continues, but the intensity has eased.

  68. 06:24: 

    So the times are reset and the drivers are let loose again for the 15-minute Q2 session.


    Mercedes: @nico_rosberg requests to see his on-board Quali lap on his screen from last year's @ausgrandprix in the wet. Now there's a challenge boys.

  70. 06:20: 

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

    11) Vergne 12) Sutil 13) Kvyat 14) Hulkenberg 15) Perez 16) Kobayashi

  71. 06:19: 

    17) Chilton 18) Bianchi 19) Gutierrez 20) Ericsson 21) Grosjean 22) Maldonado

  72. 06:18: 

    Daniel Ricciardo finishes fastest in the first part of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, as both Lotus drivers fail to make the cut.

  73. 06:17: 

    So Daniel Ricciardo is quickest, ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso is fourth, six tenths off the pace.

  74. 06:15: 

    Everyone is back in the pits. Kamui Kobayashi is currently 16th and set to make Q2 on his debut for Caterham.

  75. 06:14: 

    It's properly raining now. Pastor Maldonado is off again. His Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean is crawling around. With only five minutes remaining, there is little hope of the Lotus boys making it through to Q2.

  76. 06:13: 

    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado spins into the gravel, but he hasn't beached it and is able to accelerate out. Those tyres will have seen better days, though.

  77. 06:12: 

    Rain drops in the pit lane. Lotus are in bother here.

  78. 06:11: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes fastest in the first sector but then makes a mistake and backs off. The Briton is currently sixth. The six slowest drivers will be knocked out of this session. At the moment, that's Chilton, Bianchi, Gutierrez, Ericsson, Grosjean and Maldonado.

  79. 06:09: 

    Romain Grosjean has taken to rallying, the Lotus driver sliding off track and bouncing across the gravel before finding the track again. The Frenchman is having a miserable opening weekend.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "I would be surprised if Lotus make it into Q3."


    Fernando Alonso's race engineer: "I think we can box [pit] and put the soft on." Alonso: "OK, but quickly."

  82. 06:06: 

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel brushes the wall with the front right and then the right rear but he survives to complete the lap and go seventh fastest.

  83. 06:04: 

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is our new pace-setter, the Red Bull driver clocking a 1:30.775, nearly two tenths quicker than Kevin Magnussen in second.

  84. 06:03: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes fastest, but he is bumped down to second as Felipe Massa, on the softs, goes top of the pile. Jenson Button is third, with Valtteri Bottas fourth.

  85. 06:01: 

    The Mercedes have gone for the slower medium tyres, while Daniel Ricciardo has gone straight for the softs.

  86. 06:00: 

    The first part of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix is go, go, go. The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are the first two cars out on track. With the weather uncertain, the two pace-setters will want to get a banker lap or two in nice and early.

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

    "Some housekeeping ahead of qualifying. The duration of the three sessions has been tweaked. The first part has been reduced by two minutes to 18 minutes and the top 10 shoot-out increased by the same amount to 12 minutes. Q2 remains at a quarter of an hour. Drivers who reach Q3 have an extra set of 'option' tyres - the softs this weekend - to play with, to ensure they go out to set a time. They have to start the race on the tyres on which they set their fastest time in Q2."

  88. 05:55: 

    Dark clouds are approaching Melbourne's Albert Park...

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "I think this is one of the most unpredictable starts to the season that I can remember. There are some teams who have not completed a 10-lap run let alone a race distance."

  90. 05:50: 

    The wait is almost over. This is your 10-minute warning.

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

    "Can anyone stop Mercedes? It doesn't look like it. The silver cars appear to have at least a second a lap in hand over their rivals. Which driver will come out on top? It's difficult to say. On the one hand, Nico Rosberg has seemed to be more comfortable in the car than Lewis Hamilton, making fewer mistakes. But if Hamilton can put a lap together he will be tough to beat. He was 0.5secs quicker than his team-mate on the harder medium tyre after the first part of final practice."

    BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry

    "Susie Wolff will get the chance to drive for Williams in two Friday first practice sessions this year - at the British and German Grands Prix. She's only interested in getting in the car and going fast. If she does that, she'll be fine. She did a great job in the young driver test last year when she was under huge pressure and that has resulted in an expanded role this year. She is so strong, so focused and she really wants it."


    BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson: "QUALI Radar suggesting intermittent showery rain likely around 06:20 GMT."


    Marussia: Rain coat - check. Umbrellas - check. Electronic device - check. All set for the exciting first qualifying of the 2014 season.

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

    "Kimi Raikkonen had a troubled time on Friday, unhappy with the feel of the rear of the Ferrari under braking and 0.8secs off team-mate Fernando Alonso. The Finn was happier on Saturday morning, but remained 0.2secs behind the Spaniard as one of the headline battles of the year gets under way."

  96. 05:45: 

    F1 commentary legend Murray Walker will be Kirsty Young's castaway on the next edition of Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. You can hear about his favourite records at 1115 GMT tomorrow which fits neatly between the race in the early hours of the morning and our highlights show. Your Sunday is planned out.

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "Max Chilton nursed his car round to finish every single race last year - he was the only driver to do that in what was his rookie season. If he can repeat that this year, there is no reason why he couldn't pick up his and Marussia's first points in Formula 1 considering how teams are likely to struggle with reliability early on."

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

    "The threat of possible rain is only heightening the atmosphere here in Melbourne. The air force have done their best to deafen everyone with the traditional F18 fighter-plane display; the paddock is buzzing with intensity and bustle. Where everyone stands in F1 2014 is finally going to become clear. Expect an incident-packed, gripping qualifying session - and a Mercedes on pole."

  99. 05:40: 

    Red Bull locked out the front row last year, with Sebastian Vettel on pole ahead of Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton was third in the Mercedes ahead of then Ferrari pair Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

    It's looking like things will be rather different this year...

  100. 05:37: 

    Weather update: It's still not raining... at the moment.

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "Daniel Ricciardo has a tough job on his hands at Red Bull. The Australian is very talented and will be strong in qualifying but his team-mate Sebastian Vettel has developed into a pretty exceptional driver. Vettel is learning all the time and he'll learn from Ricciardo.

    "If the Australian is quicker somewhere, Vettel will learn why and then adapt. I think he'll have more of a relationship with Ricciardo than he did with Mark Webber, but Vettel is ruthless. Ultimately, he'll be determined to beat Ricciardo both in terms of pace and results."

    Mark Webber and Tony Hawk

    Red Bull: The Birdman & The Honey Badger. @danielricciardo meets @tonyhawk ahead of today's quali session at the #AusGP.

  103. 05:31: 
    Marcus Ericsson

    Unpredictability. That's what we can expect, at least in the early part of the season, after the Formula 1 rulemakers introduced the biggest set of rule changes in its history.

    Most affected are the engines as the sport goes further than ever before to embrace 'green' technology. And it won't have escaped your attention that the appearance of the cars has changed, too. Here's our guide to the key things to look out for in 2014.

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

    "The wind has really picked up as qualifying approaches - it's gusting pretty heavily, and that will make life more difficult for the drivers, who were already struggling with the wind in final practice. There have been a few big blobs of rain, but it's dry at the moment and muggy. It feels like it could rain at any time. Indeed, the forecast is that it will at some point this afternoon or evening - the only question, they say, is when."

  105. 05:27: 

    Last year's qualifying session was hit by rain. Will it be more of the same this year?

    BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry

    "So anyway I can announce that @idriselba will be @bbcf1 VoiceOver artist for the season."

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen
    Felipe Massa

    "When Williams announced Felipe Massa would drive for them this season, I thought it was a good idea as I think he still has something to offer. The Brazilian was quicker than Fernando Alonso quite a few times last year at Ferrari.

    "It was very demoralising being Alonso's team-mate for all those years but who is going to walk away from Ferrari? He was between a rock and a hard place. Massa is still very quick, he's got something to prove and he's hungry enough. Along with Valtteri Bottas, who also looks strong and will learn from Massa, Williams have a very good line-up."

  108. 05:17: 

    So who is your top for pole position? I'm going for Lewis Hamilton, as I expect him to get it right when it matters, with Nico Rosberg completing the front row and Fernando Alonso taking third. Send your predictions to #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only).

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

    "Coming into this weekend, there were more than a few people who quietly fancied Williams's Valtteri Bottas to get on the podium here. That task just got that bit harder - he will get a five-place grid penalty after the team needed to change his gearbox, a problem with which meant the Finn missed all of final practice. Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez is in a similar position. Given the lack of pace of the Swiss car, the Mexican will likely start from the back unless one of the Marussia or Caterham cars also has a problem."

  110. 05:11:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extraTV COVERAGE

    Qualifying starts at 06:00 GMT. Commentary will start on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra at 05:55 with BBC Radio 5 live joining the party for Q3 at around 06:45. Highlights will follow at 14:55 on BBC Two and 22:00 on the Red Button.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "Going to be a very interesting first qualifying session of new era #F1, front row looks a one team show, but which one? Battle for the rest of the top ten is going to be tight."

  112. 05:07: 

    If you're just waking up, you'll have missed Nico Rosberg smash it in practice. The Mercedes driver was comfortably quicker than anyone else, confirming the team's favourites tag. Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest after a mistake on his soft tyre run.

  113. 05:03: 

    Hello everybody and welcome to the first qualifying session of the 2014 Formula 1 season. Melbourne's lush Albert Park is our host for the season opener.

  114. 05:00: 

    Playtime is over. It's time to get serious.

  115. 04:15: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's final practice report. I'm off for a quick break but will be back at 05:00 GMT for a full hour of build-up to qualifying. See you soon.

  116. 04:11: 

    So it's Mercedes who will enter qualifying happiest, with McLaren looking strong and Ferrari showing encouraging pace, particularly in the hands of Fernando Alonso. Red Bull will be in the mix for the second and third rows, while Force India look to be winning the battle with Williams for the title of best of the rest.

  117. 04:07: 
    Third practice results

    1) Rosberg 2) Button 3) Alonso 4) Hamilton 5) Ricciardo 6) Hulkenberg 7) Raikkonen 8) Magnussen 9) Perez 10) Massa 11) Kvyat

    12) Vettel 13) Vergne 14) Bianchi 15) Sutil 16) Kobayashi 17) Chilton 18) Maldonado 19) Ericsson

    Did not set a lap time: Bottas, Gutierrez, Grosjean.


    Williams: The team are straight on with a gearbox change for Valtteri to ensure we are ready for qualifying - which means a five-place grid penalty.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "I think Mercedes are about a second ahead at the moment. Without doubt, the front row will be fought out between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Which one? I don't know. It's going to be a great fight."

  120. 04:04: 

    Jennie Gow reports that Lotus are low on spare parts. Not ideal that Pastor Maldonado has stopped out on track, then. The team broke their curfew last night but the problems continue.

  121. 04:03: 

    Williams' need to change the gearbox on Valtteri Bottas' car. The pressure is on to get it sorted for qualifying.

  122. 04:02: 
    Nico Rosberg

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg finishes fastest in third practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

  123. 04:01: 

    Pastor Maldonado stops out on track in the Lotus. Oh dear.

  124. 04:00: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button is off again at Turn Nine. If the wind continues to play havoc at that corner in qualifying, the session is going to be very, very interesting.

  125. 03:59: 

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel tells his team: "The car is horrible." His engineer replies: "Can you explain what is horrible? "Drivability, the car doesn't accelerate."

  126. 03:56: 

    Lewis Hamilton will not get a clean soft tyre run ahead of qualifying as he is out of the car and Mercedes report that its session over for both him and team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    The good news for both is that Rosberg's lap was very quick, which shows Mercedes will be the team to beat in qualifying. And if anyone can do the job in qualifying under pressure, it's Hamilton.


    Lotus: Both cars out. @Pastormaldo on a slow, fast, slow run. Surely we've done enough of the first and last.

    Jenson Button

    McLaren's Jenson Button: "Got to be careful with the wind, it's very strong in certain places."

  129. 03:54: 

    The tailwind at Turn Nine catches Sebastian Vettel out, as it has done with several drivers this morning, but he catches it and keeps his foot down. He gets caught out again and decides to back off. He crosses the line three seconds off the pace.

  130. 03:52: 

    Reigning world champion and last year's pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel has headed out for his soft tyre run.


    Sauber: Gearbox change on #Guti car. We expect to be up and running for quali.

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

    "There were worrying signs for Ferrari in Friday practice in Melbourne. Fernando Alonso looked reasonably competitive on outright pace, fastest of all in the first session and quickest non-Mercedes in the second. But on race pace the car appears to be behind Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams and McLaren. And while Alonso looked relatively comfortable, Kimi Raikkonen was miles off.

    "The team said the Finn did not have any particular problems, he was just uncomfortable with the feel of the car, particularly its rear brake-by-wire system. Ferrari insist both they and Raikkonen will 'be there', but for now the impression is that the car lacks some grip and is unable to generate the same amount of power per unit of fuel as the Mercedes and perhaps even the Renault."

  133. 03:49: 

    Jenson Button goes second quickest, 1.4 seconds off the pace. Daniel Ricciardo goes fifth, with Kevin Magnussen sixth. Lewis Hamilton makes another mistake on his next lap and this time heads for the pits. Advantage Rosberg at Mercedes. He looks very pleased with himself.

  134. 03:47: 

    Romain Grosjean has spent a lot of time in the garage this session. His Lotus team finally get him out, but there's a problem. "Nothing is solved," hisses the Frenchman on team radio. That is one frustrated racing driver.

  135. 03:46: 

    Lewis Hamilton is a tenth up in the first second but makes a mistake in the second sector, locking up a tyre and running wide so he backs off and cools the tyres in preparation for another run.

  136. 03:45: 

    Nico Rosberg clocks the fastest lap in Melbourne so far this weekend with a 1:29.375, 1.6 seconds quicker than the rest of the field.

  137. 03:43: 

    Nico Hulkenberg goes second, 0.059 seconds adrift of Lewis Hamiton, after bolting the soft tyres on.

  138. 03:42: 

    Both Mercedes have headed out on the soft tyre. Expect the times to tumble, folks.

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

    "You have to be impressed by Red Bull. After a winter testing programme littered with problems, they come to the first race and run an almost completely trouble-free programme on the first day. OK, Sebastian Vettel was late out for first practice, and ended it stopping in the pit lane with what looked suspiciously like another overheating problem, but Daniel Ricciardo ran a race-distance worth of mileage and Vettel wasn't far off.

    "Not only that, but despite the Renault engine still being a fair way short of optimum performance, the car was genuinely quick. The widespread belief is that, chassis-wise, it is the fastest car on the grid. Again. So if Renault can get their engine anywhere close to the Mercedes on performance, the rest might have to watch out."


    Sauber's Adrian Sutil: "The car is all over the place - it's so bad."

  141. 03:40: 

    The threat of rain looks to have evaporated as the clouds disperse and the sun breaks through.

  142. 03:39: 

    Williams have been close to bulletproof so far this year, but luck deserts Valtteri Bottas at a very bad time indeed. The Finn has yet to set a lap time in this session and looks unlikely to do so. He's out of the car as the team work on a gearbox issue. They only have two hours and 21 minutes until qualifying.

  143. 03:36: 

    Mercedes report that the item which Nico Rosberg threw out of the car was the "thermal elbow protector" which came loose.

  144. 03:35: 

    Fernando Alonso goes fourth fastest, 1.2 seconds off the pace but two tenths quicker than Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and one place ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

  145. 03:33: 

    If you've got a burning F1 question for the BBC Radio 5 live team? Well why not send it over by Twitter using #bbcf1. Any F1-related chat on the session or race weekend so far is welcome, too, on the same hashtag or via text on 81111 (UK only).

  146. 03:32: 

    No sign of the soft tyres yet with a little under 30 minutes of this session remaining.

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

    "Williams confirmed on Friday the potential they had showed in pre-season testing. The car wasn't quite as quick as it had appeared in Bahrain but third in P1 and eighth in P2 for Valtteri Bottas is a massive step forward from last year. And on race pace it appears to be the third fastest car, just behind the Red Bull and in the mix with McLaren and Ferrari. They are obviously being helped by the Mercedes engine, but it is an impressive turnaround after the worst season in their history in 2013."

  148. 03:30: 

    "The tyres are finished, the first lap was by far the best but I made a lot of mistakes," reports Mercedes' Nico Rosberg. His race engineer replies: "OK, Nico. Do you want to do a [practice] start, Nico?" Rosberg: "You need to make the call, you need to decide what's best to do."

  149. 03:28: 

    Kimi Raikkonen sets his first timed lap of the day, the Finn clocking a 1:32.365 to go fifth, one place and one tenth behind reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso's first effort puts him 12th.

  150. 03:26: 

    Lewis Hamilton tells his team that his medium tyres are overheating and then goes and puts in the fastest lap of the day with a 1:30.919, six tenths clear of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  151. 03:25: 

    Felipe Massa, who is currently third fastest, overtakes Max Chilton's Marussia and then has a big moment in the Williams. Pastor Maldonado is getting a bit wild, too, the Lotus driver understeering off at Turn 12, kicking up the dirt before returning to the track.

  152. 03:22: 

    Nico Rosberg throws a piece of car out of the cockpit. It looks like something broke. Rather than keeping it on his lap and risk it falling into the footwell and jamming under pedals, he slows down and flings it onto the grass.

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

    "One notable quote from Friday was Red Bull team principal Christian Horner's observation that they felt there was 'quite a gap to the Mercedes and the Ferrari'. Mercedes, yes, but the race-simulation lap times suggested the Red Bull was quicker than the Ferrari. Red Bull's data analysis, though, is second to none. It doesn't seem that Horner was engaging in any kidology, so they must have seen something in the red cars. Which is interesting."

  154. 03:19: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes quickest with his first flying lap of the day, but moments later his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg demotes him with a time of 1:31.583, just over a tenth clear.

  155. 03:16: 

    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat currently leads the way with a time of 1:32.605, half a second clear of McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, with Sergio Perez three tenths further back in the Force India.

    James Allen, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "There's a huge black cloud approaching."

  157. 03:15: 

    McLaren drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button have separate off-track excursions, but both rejoin without too much fuss.

  158. 03:12: 

    This is exactly what teams will have feared coming into practice. A problem in this session will make it incredibly difficult to get the car sorted in time for qualifying in just over two hours and 45 minutes.

    Gutierrez looks like he's stuck between two gears and drops to a snail's pace. Rather than pull over, to try and rectify the problem, he keeps coasting, but his stubbornness pays off and gets into first gear which allows him to recover back to the pits. That'll give his Sauber team extra time to work on the car.


    Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez: "The gearbox, something's wrong with the gearbox. I don't think I can make it back [to the pits]."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Albert Park:
    Romain Grosjean on Friday

    "Poor Lotus. Fewer miles than any other team in pre-season testing, and their troubles continue at the first race. The team desperately need mileage but an electrical problem that required a wiring loom replacement restricted Pastor Maldonado to two laps and Romain Grosjean (pictured spinning into the gravel on Friday after clipping the wall) managed only 12 before a gearbox oil leak stopped the Franco-Swiss. The team, some of whom did not get away from the track until 8am on Saturday and had to be back by 11am, admit they still have no real idea where the car's performance level is."


    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado's race engineer: "Pastor, the brake pedal is not fantastic, but we have not got time to sort it now."


    Sauber: Rain or no rain? That's the question of the day!


    Esteban Gutierrez's race engineer: "There's rain expected within 10 minutes so we're preparing to do an option tyre run early."


    Marussia: And they're back! Engine cover off, nose off, a good look round the car & bleeding of the brakes before heading back out for our first run.

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

    "As ever, Jenson Button was open and precise with his analysis of both McLaren's form and that of their rivals. 'We still don't have a good balance in high speed - low-speed we are reasonable,' he said, after setting fifth fastest time. 'I don't think our outright pace is as good as it looks but I think we're OK. Red Bull put a lot of laps in and were very quick, the quickest overall apart from Mercedes. We're a second off them on the long run but I think everyone is. A little bit surprised they're that much quicker than everyone else including Williams, which looks a handful in the high-speed corners.'"

  166. 03:02: 

    Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button stop at the end of the pit lane to carry out a practice start before heading out on track for an installation lap.

  167. 03:00: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The roar of a vacuum cleaner - or rather the new 1.6-litre V6 engine - rings out in Melbourne to signal the start of final practice.

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen

    "The wind has really picked up and is currently 17 metres per second. Yesterday, it was blowing across the pit straight from left to right. Today, it's blowing in the opposite direction."

  169. 02:55: 

    So third practice lasts one hour and traditionally sees teams do a qualifying-simulation run to get a feel ahead of qualifying, which starts at 06:00 GMT.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "Some teams might feel it is safer not to run in final practice, because if they have a problem, they might miss qualifying."

    McLaren steering wheel

    McLaren: You're in the driving seat: reckon you could handle all these switches at 185mph?!?

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

    "Mercedes came out of winter testing looking like the form team, and nothing that has happened this weekend has changed that impression. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were more than half a second clear of the field on one-off lap pace and the best part of double that on their race simulations. Rain or not, it is hard to see them being beaten this weekend."


    Caterham: Both cars are ready and we have everything crossed for a better day!

  174. 02:47: 

    Caterham had a dreadful day on Friday, Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson managing a paltry three laps between them.

    Ericsson had an electrical issue in the morning and a hydraulics leak in the afternoon. Kobayashi had a small fire under the engine cover which came from a fuel system leak. The fire was out immediately but it couldn't be fixed in time to get him out for second practice.

  175. 02:45: 
    View from the commentary box

    So as always, I'll be here to guide you through final practice and qualifying but if you crave the sound of the new 1.6-litre V6 engines, plus expert insight from James Allen, Allan McNish and Jennie Gow, may I suggest listening to BBC Radio 5 live sports extra as well.

    This is their view from the commentary box. You can hear their dulcet tones by clicking the link at the top right of the page at 02:55 GMT.

  176. 02:42: 

    Check out the forecast for today's final practice and qualifying and tomorrow's race on the BBC weather pages.

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

    "Friday brought glorious sunshine, but the Melbourne's fickle weather gods have some tricks up their sleeves for the first qualifying day of the new season. The day dawned sunny, but by late morning the clouds had come in and showers are predicted for the rest of the day, getting progressively heavier. Like last year, the grid could well be decided in the wet."

  178. 02:39: 

    As Andrew says, Red Bull surprised everyone yesterday with both cars running reliably in the hands of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo after a dreadful time in winter testing. But I guess they haven't become four-time reigning world champions by accident...

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

    "It's fair to say the first day of the 2014 Formula 1 season did not go quite as expected. The Mercedes was every bit as quick as expected, but on the evidence of practice the Red Bull, disastrous pre-season notwithstanding, was the second fastest car. And that's supposed to be them in trouble. It was an ominous sign for the rest of the field."

  180. 02:33: 
    Albert Park

    Morning everybody and welcome to our live text commentary of third and final practice for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park. The track is clear, the grandstands packed but the skies are grey, very grey.

  181. 02:30: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Friday was quite a day for Lewis Hamilton. The Briton was the first driver to break down in Australia when his Mercedes ground to a halt on his first lap in first practice. The 29-year-old missed the rest of the session but bounced back the next session, topping the times to lead a Mercedes 1-2 and confirm the Brackley-based team's pre-season favourites tag.

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Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 241
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 238
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 181
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 133
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 124
6 Finland V Bottas Williams 122
7 Great Britain J Button McLaren 72
8 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 72
9 Brazil F Massa Williams 65
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 45
11 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 45
12 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 39
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 19
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 France J Bianchi Marussia 2
17 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
18 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham 0
19 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
21 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi 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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