Australian Grand Prix as it happened

Text and video highlights as Mercedes' Nico Rosberg wins the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

16 March 2014 Last updated at 04:33

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As it happened

  1. 10:50: 
    Nico Rosberg

    So Mercedes' Nico Rosberg takes victory as a new era of Formula 1 gets under way. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel suffered retirements, McLaren lead the constructors' championship and rookies Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat star. And Daniel Ricciardo might be excluded after an impressive drive to second. Not bad for a season-opener, eh?

    That's all from me. Thanks for your company and contributions. I'll be back at 01:30 GMT on Friday 28 March to bring you live coverage of first practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix which will be live across BBC TV, radio and online. Until then, it's good morning from me.

  2. 10:45: 

    Stay across the website and @bbcf1 Twitter account for all the latest on Daniel Ricciardo being investigated for exceeding the fuel flow limit.

  3. 10:35: 

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and design chief Adrian Newey have just left the stewards' office after arguing their case as to why Daniel Ricciardo should not be excluded. The decision should not be too far away.

  4. 10:25: 

    If you've got seven minutes and 44 seconds free, you can watch a highlights edit of the race.

  5. 10:20: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    Well, as if this race hasn't been entertaining enough, there's now a real buzz outside the race stewards' office in the paddock, as we await the decision on whether Daniel Ricciardo will be penalised. If Red Bull can't argue the case successfully Ricciardo will be disqualified for exceeding the fuel-flow limit in his car.

  6. 10:10: 

    We will have race highlights on BBC One at 14:00 GMT with the BBC Radio 5 live Chequered Flag show on air at 21:00.

  7. 10:05: 

    Well what an entertaining start to the season, eh? Here's Andrew Benson's race report and a video of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel retiring early on.


    Former F1 driver Mark Webber: Tidy podium that one. Nico=good and plenty more wins to come in 2014. Dan=I'm smiling like him. WHAT a result. Kevin=Very very impressive.

  9. 10:00: 
    Felipe Massa

    Williams driver Felipe Massa, after being taken out at the first corner by Kamui Kobayashi, who had a brake failure: "I'm obviously very disappointed as I had the sort of car capable of challenging for a podium today, but the incident in the first corner ruined my race.

    "It's a shame but there are a lot of positive things that the team can take from this weekend in terms of pace and reliability, so I'm just thinking about the next race and having a strong result there."

  10. 09:55: 

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is remaining positive despite his retirement in the Australian Grand Prix.

    "My start didn't feel great today and I had a lot less power than usual when pulling away, so it was obvious immediately that something was wrong," said Hamilton.

    "It looks like we only had five cylinders firing and, while I wanted to keep going, we had to play safe and save the engine. It's unfortunate but that's racing and we will recover from this."

  11. 09:50: 

    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, who makes history in becoming the youngest driver to score a point in Formula 1 by finishing 10th, says: "It was a very intense afternoon and finishing my first race with a point is a great feeling.

    "I never expected to score a point in my first race, so it feels amazing. It's a real boost for us and now we have to keep on working hard and if we keep on the way we are going, then we can look forward to a really positive season."

  12. 09:47: 

    Nico Hulkenberg, who finished seventh on his return to Force India, says: "Seventh place is a positive way to start the season. I was very happy to see the chequered flag - the first time I've done so in Melbourne - and it's important to score some good points early on.

    "I made a strong start and enjoyed good track position for the first two stints when I was running up in fourth. It was a shame to lose two positions at my second stop [to Button and Alonso] but it looks like some of the cars around us have a bit more pace at the moment."

  13. 09:40: 

    With regards Daniel Ricciardo, the FIA say: "During the race car number 03 has exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100 kg/h."

    Kamui Kobayashi

    Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi: Find out system fail was no rear brake so this was problem of accident. Sorry to Felipe but was not my mistake.

  15. 09:33: 

    Romain Grosjean is looking on the positive side after Lotus suffered a double retirement in Australia.

    "In a way, it was a pretty positive day," said the Frenchman. "I expected to do around 15 to 20 laps in the race after all the issues we've had this weekend, and we managed 45!

    "We've learnt a lot today and all the changes made to the car have been positive. We still have a long way to go, but at least I know more about tyre usage, all my engineers know where we need to improve with the chassis, and we've learnt a lot about aero balance and fuel consumption.

    "Of course there's more to do with the energy management and recovery and some work yet with the braking. We've still got lots of work to do, but we're definitely heading in the right direction."

  16. 09:28: 

    Could there be trouble brewing for Daniel Ricciardo? The Australian has been referred to the stewards over fuel flow rate. more on that when we have it.


    McLaren racing director Eric Boullier: "Great feeling and huge credit to @McLarenF1 #believeinmclaren Great drive for @JensonButton and @KevinMagnussen."

  18. 09:20: 

    According to Caterham, the FIA will take no further action against Kamui Kobayashi for the first corner accident with Felipe Massa because the stewards determined that "the incident was caused by a serious technical failure completely outside the control of the driver".

  19. 09:10: 

    Williams' deputy team principal Claire Williams is understandably delighted with Valtteri Bottas' performance but it's tinged by the fact Felipe Massa could have made it an even better day if he hadn't been taken out by Kamui Kobayashi.

    "Felipe would have done a great drive if we didn't have the unfortunate first corner incident," says Williams.

    "But Valtteri did a fantastic job. From our perspective, he was the man of the race, he overtook more than 20 cars.

    "It's a great for everyone at the factory and trackside.

    "There was minimal damage to the car when he hit the wall."


    McLaren: Ron Dennis: 'We're pleased but we're not ecstatic. We save 'ecstatic' for wins.'


    Jan Magnussen, former F1 driver and father of Kevin: I'm a very proud Dad who can't wait to go the Malaysian Grand Prix.

  22. 08:59: 
    Kevin Magnussen, David Coulthard and Suzi Perry

    Kevin Magnussen is the son of Jan, who scored one point in 25 races in Formula 1 for McLaren and Stewart. You can hear from Magnussen Jr on our highlights programme at 14:00 GMT.

  23. 08:53:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    You can listen to BBC Radio 5 live's Chequered flag at 21:00 GMT tonight. If you've fallen asleep by then, you can download the podcast via the 5 live website.

    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Shilpa: If today's race was anything to go by, this season is going to be extremely exciting.

    Christian J Sanders: That was well worth the four hours sleep I got last night. Love these new cars. Outstanding effort from McLaren.

    Matthew Vernon: Great to see the new generation on the podium at the start of 2014. Two first-time podiums and an emerging championship challenger.

  25. 08:46: 
    Daniil Kvyat

    At 19 years 10 months and 18 days, Daniil Kvyat is the youngest driver to ever score points in Formula 1, according to Toro Rosso, beating Sebastian Vettel's previous record.

  26. 08:40: 

    While Nico Rosberg had a perfect race, his Mercedes' team-mate Lewis Hamilton saw his race end very early on. Technical director Paddy Lowe said the team knew there was an issue before the race had even started.

    "The engine wasn't running on all cylinders," said Lowe. "We knew that on the formation lap. Lewis didn't know but we thought we'd see how the pace was."

  27. 08:33: 
    Jenson Button, Suzi Perry and David Coulthard

    Our highlights show will be on BBC One at 14:00 GMT will feature interviews will all the stars of the Australian Grand Prix, including McLaren's Jenson Button.

  28. 08:30: 

    If you're just tuning into this live text page, you've missed a corker of a grand prix to open the season. Here's what happened in 60 words.

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton failed to finish, Nico Rosberg drove a perfect race to take victory and the championship lead, both Lotuses failed to finish, McLaren take the lead in the constructors' as Kevin Magnussen finishes third on his debut with Jenson Button fourth and 19-year-old Daniil Kvyat scores a point on his F1 debut.

    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Ian Jones: Not a bad opening race at all. Shame for Lewis, impressed with Magnussen & Williams/Bottas. That Mercedes power unit has some grunt.

    Rachel Bradley: Great race. Good to see new faces on the podium. Could be an interesting season.

    Neil Trangmar: Delighted to see Sebastian Vettel not win a Formula 1 race.

    Kevin Magnussen's trophy

    McLaren: Here's @KevinMagnussen's 3rd place trophy! #F1Melbourne #AusGP #BelieveInMcLaren

  31. 08:24: 
    David Coulthard, Suzi Perry and Valtteri Bottas

    Valtteri Bottas receives a huge round of applause when he walks into the Williams hospitality unit. He then pops outside to have a chat to David Coulthard and Suzi Perry. You can see that interview in our highlights show at 14:00 GMT.


    Toro Rosso: A big hug for both our drivers, but a special BRAVO to @Dany_Kvyat for his first point on his debut!

  33. 08:19: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo took 18 points for second. He only needs to score two more to match the total he achieved in the whole season last year with Toro Rosso.

  34. 08:15: 

    Those eight points for Williams is three more than the team managed in the entire 2013 season. It could have been even more if Felipe Massa hadn't been taken out by Kamui Kobayashi at the start.


    Williams: Awesome drive by #BO77AS to collect 8 points to kick of the 2014 season!

  36. 08:12: 

    That was the 100th win for a Mercedes engine in Formula 1. That's the power unit that every driver will want this season.

    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Janine Pingree: Congratulations to Rosberg on a faultless drive and if a Red Bull had to be on the podium, I'm glad it was Ricciardo.

    Mahesh S Koneru: Missing Schumacher. He was a master in the art of nursing the car without sacrificing speed and would've excelled in these conditions.

    Michael Teychenne: They've changed the engines, aero, tyres and calendar. Yet a German still finishes ahead of an Australian.

  38. 08:10: 

    So McLaren have 27 points, two more than Mercedes, with Red Bull third on 18. Ferrari have 14 in fourth with Williams fifth on eight. Force India are sixth with six points with Toro Rosso seventh on three.

    Sauber, Marussia, Lotus and Caterham all failed to score.

  39. 08:08: 

    McLaren lead the constructors' championship. No, really they do. What a performance from the British team who went without a podium last season for the first time since 1980 and resulted in the removal of Martin Whitmarsh as team principal. They've got a star on their hands in Kevin Magnussen and a resurgent former world champion Jenson Button.

    Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg and Kevin Magnussen

    More from winner Nico Rosberg, who says: "We will evaluate everything we have learned and there's still some way to go. We can improve and we must improve. The other teams will not go to sleep so we have to make sure we are ready for Malaysia."

  41. 08:04: 

    Red Bull show just how good they are by going from being in all sorts of trouble in testing to second on the podium with Daniel Ricciardo. Yes, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel had issues and didn't finish, but that's still a remarkable performance from the Milton Keynes-based team.

  42. 08:02: 

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

    11) Perez 12) Sutil 13) Gutierrez 14) Chilton 15) Bianchi

    Did not finish: Grosjean, Maldonado, Ericsson, Vettel, Hamilton, Massa and Kobayashi


    McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, who finishes third to become the first Danish driver to claim a podium finish in Formula 1, says: "It's hard to believe and it seems so surreal. The car was so much better than it has been and I had just exactly what we needed for the whole race.

    "The preparation we have done have been fantastic. I have never had a Formula 1 race and you only get limited time testing, so congratulations to the team for doing such a good job."


    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who finished second: "Just two or three weeks ago, I would not have bet we would be standing up here but full credit to team for an unbelievable turn around. And thanks to the Aussie fans. The support has been completely overwhelming."

    Nico Rosberg

    Winner Nico Rosberg of Mercedes: "It has been an amazing time in Melbourne. The support has been fantastic, Daniel got more support than me, but that's normal. It has been an amazing day. Everyone has worked so hard over the weather and to have such an amazing Silver Arrow is unbelievable. The reliability was good and it's the perfect start to the season."

  46. 07:54: 

    Australian Alan Jones, the 1980 world champion, is the man in charge of podium interviews.

  47. 07:52: 

    Nico Rosberg runs to the front of the podium and soaks his mechanics with champagne.

  48. 07:48: 

    Australian Daniel Ricciardo gets a huge reception from the crowd. What an atmosphere in Albert Park. The German national anthem rings out as Nico Rosberg soaks up victory on the top step.

  49. 07:47: 

    Nico Rosberg embraces his mechanics before heading towards the podium. That's the first time since July last year since we've had a winner other than Sebastian Vettel.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "There have been so many surprises at the first race of the season. I was saying in pre-season that if half the field finished it would be good, based on testing. But the teams are learning so much, so quickly about the new systems. The ones who have managed the new technology best were Mercedes. It was a flawless performance from Nico Rosberg."

  51. 07:45: 

    It's the first time a Danish driver has finished on the podium with Kevin Magnussen taking third for McLaren. This kid is has a bright future. Lewis Hamilton also finished third for McLaren on his debut in Australia in 2007.

  52. 07:44: 

    "Thanks guys, it's all a bit of a blur right now," says Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who takes second. "It's really cool," His engineer replies: "That's brilliant mate, I think we can see your smile from here."

  53. 07:43: 

    "Fantastic boys," says race winner Nico Rosberg. "What a car you have given me, what a car."

  54. 07:42: 

    The crowd are on their feet as Daniel Ricciardo takes his first podium in Formula 1 with Kevin Magnussen making a stunning debut with third.

    Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg wins the Australian Grand Prix.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "I have thoroughly enjoyed this race. There have been so many unknown factors and it's great to see young drivers at the front. Rosberg has been in control from the lights going out and it has been a case of managing these new power units."

    LAP 57 - FINAL LAP

    Nico Rosberg has not put a foot wrong in this race. The German starts his final lap with a 24-second lead.

    LAP 56

    Daniel Ricciardo looks to have done enough to hold on to second place and score his first podium in Formula 1 - and it'll be on home soil, too. The gap is 2.1 seconds to Kevin Magnussen.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Racing utopia is not only winning the grand prix, but winning the grand prix with a small gap to second place so you see the car a lot and the sponsors are happy!"

    LAP 55

    Jean-Eric Vergne makes a tiny mistake, but that's enough for Kimi Raikkonen to take advantage and overtake for eighth. To make matters worse for the Frenchman, he is told not to hold up rookie team-mate Daniil Kvyat who is on the soft tyres.

    LAP 54

    Nico Rosberg is closing in on victory, the German's lead is up to 23.8 seconds.

    LAP 53

    Williams' Valtteri Bottas passes Force India's Nico Hulkenberg with the help of DRS to take sixth place. Fernando Alonso is 11 seconds up the road.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Despite the home crowd, Red Bull will be happy with any finish at all. Second would be amazing, but third would still be a very good result."

    LAP 52

    Kevin Magnussen is putting the pressure on Daniel Ricciardo again with five laps remaining. The gap is down to 0.9 seconds. Let's not forget that neither driver has finished on the podium in F1 before.


    Kevin Magnussen's race engineer: "Use overtake button. Use overtake button."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "There has never been a Danish driver finishing on the podium in Formula 1 history. I'm sure there are a lot of Danes eagerly watching on with Kevin Magnussen in third."

    LAP 51

    So Nico Rosberg leads Daniel Ricciardo with Kevin Magnussen third. Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, Jean-Eric Vergne, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat complete the top 10.

    If Bottas stays where he is in seventh, Williams will have scored more points in this race than they managed all season in 2013.

    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Balaji Abbabatulla: Great to see new names on the Melbourne leaderboard.

    Tim Hutchings: I was worried we might have a repeat of Monaco 96 when only three cars were classified as finishing. Points for anyone who finishes today?

    James Body: Cars may not make the same noise - but this is exciting. A heck of a lot going on there. Much better than a Vettel procession.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "With all the problems we saw in testing, anyone who is still running will be pleasantly surprised, and will be absolutely delighted if they get any points."

    LAP 50

    Fernando Alonso has picked up the pace. The Spaniard is fifth but only 10 seconds behind second-placed Daniel Ricciardo. The Ferrari driver is lapping quicker than the three cars in front of him.

    LAP 49

    McLaren tell Kevin Magnussen that Daniel Ricciardo is really struggling. The gap is down to 1.1 seconds. This is a good performance from Red Bull considering their disappointing experience in winter testing.

    LAP 48

    Force India inform Nico Hulkenberg that he should expect to come under attack from Valtteri Bottas shortly. The German holds a 1.7 seconds lead.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Vergne had a wheel on the grass there. That was just a simple driver error."

    LAP 47

    Huge slide from Jean-Eric Vergne in the final corner after putting a wheel on the grass. The Frenchman holds it well, but that allows Valtteri Bottas to close up and then drive past on the pit straight for seventh.

    LAP 46

    Kevin Magnussen is told by his McLaren team to protect the rear tyres because the Dane may be racing his team-mate Jenson Button at the end of the race.


    Lotus: Stop the car @RGrosjean - well, better than than it could have been. Certainly positives to take. Bring on Sepang!

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    Adeel Ejaz: People blaming Bernie and FIA for the new rules: Teams wanted and agreed these rules changes, Renault wanted these engines.

    David McMillan: Magnussen having a great race and considering it's his first, he is showing real maturity and simply getting the job done.

    Peek: F1 has been ruined. This isn't racing at all, all teams have to slow to save fuel and also to survive.

    LAP 45

    Romain Grosjean has pulled over to the side of the track. he Lotus driver was running 12th. That's probably the most consecutive laps that car has managed, though, so that's a positive.

    LAP 44

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg is the quickest driver on track and the only one lapping in the 1m32s.

    LAP 43

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo has responded to Kevin Magnussen's pressure by pushing the gap back out to over a second.

    LAP 42

    Valtteri Bottas is catching Jean-Eric Vergne in the fight for seventh place. The gap is down to just 1.7 seconds.

    LAP 41

    Kevin Magnussen in third is now within one second of Daniel Ricciardo. That means he'll have use of the DRS overtaking aid.

    LAP 40

    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat is chasing down Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. Kvyat is on the softs, while Raikkonen is on the slower mediums. They're battling for ninth place.

    LAP 39

    Nico Rosberg holds a lead of 16 seconds over Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull. Kevin Magnussen is just 1.1 seconds further back.


    Jenson Button's race engineer: "OK Jenson, the car in front is [team-mate] Kevin [Magnussen]. You are racing him for third place."

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    Xnemesis: How can you call a bunch of cars going around trying to save fuel racing? It isn't. FIA with all their rules have killed F1.

    Keisya Alice Murdoko: They should reward the team whose both drivers survive all the laps in every race, it's an achievement in the 2014 season.

    Joe Djamasi: What a start to the Australian Grand Prix. Engine failures? What happened to all the testing that was going on?

    LAP 38
    Australian GP

    Nico Rosberg is called into the pits from the lead. The Mercedes driver has a comfortable lead over Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen who have already pitted.

    LAP 37

    Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat in seventh, eighth and ninth all pit. It's good work from Williams, who spent one day of their pre-season test focusing solely on pit stop practice, to get Bottas back out ahead of Raikkonen.

    LAP 36

    Great pit work from the Ferrari team to service Fernando Alonso's car and get him out ahead of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg.

    LAP 35

    Kimi Raikkonen locks up heavily and runs wide. That allows Valtteri Bottas to cruise past into fifth. The Williams recovery continues.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "I was expecting more cars to not be running at this point of the grand prix. But it's full testament to how Formula 1 teams can develop in a short space of time."

    LAP 34

    The Force India pairing of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg both pit for new boots. They are running eighth an 11th respectively.

    Kamui Kobayashi

    As we mentioned earlier, Kobayashi has admitted fault for the first-lap crash which ended his and Felipe Massa's race by apologising on Twitter. Massa said Kobayashi should be handed a "big penalty".

    LAP 33

    Jenson Button pits and takes on the medium tyres. The McLaren driver could go to the end of the race without stopping again as he has used both compounds. Bizarrely, the front part of the nose breaks off when the car is jacked up. "Jenson will get a bit of extra cooling on his legs," jokes BBC F1 commentator David Coulthard.

    LAP 32

    Nico Rosberg extends his lead to 14 seconds. His Mercedes team tell him they are going to stretch this stint out.


    Williams' Felipe Massa, whose race ended in the first lap when he was hit by Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi, tells BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "It's a shame. He can't start like that and every time he does it will be the same outcome. I did a very safe start but if someone hits you, you can't do anything about that.

    "It's not a big difference from what he [Kobayashi] did to what [Romain] Grosjean did at Spa and he sat out one race for that."

    LAP 31

    Pastor Maldonado rolls to a stop on track in his Lotus. We're down to 15 cars.

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    Blade: Last year the biggest problem was tyres. This year it looks like the new problem will be engines.

    Suika Manti: F1 is now better. Perhaps there's a bit less overall speed but competitiveness has hugely increased. Reliability will improve with time.

    LAP 29

    Nico Rosberg leads by 9.5 seconds from Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Jean-Eric Vergne, Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvyat.

    LAP 28

    Caterham tell Marcus Ericsson to stop the car. "Engine oil pressure," says his engineer. The Swede has just completed his first F1 pit stop in racing conditions and was 16th.

    LAP 27

    Nico Rosberg report that his left front is graining. The German has a 10-second lead with 30 laps remaining.

    LAP 26

    Kimi Raikkonen locks up heavily as he chases down the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne in sixth. The Finn makes the corner, but drops back significantly.


    More from Lewis Hamilton, who was talking to BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie.

    "As soon as I left the lane I had a lot less power than I usually have," says Hamilton. "They asked me to come in, but I said 'no, no, I can keep going', but I then had to come in.

    "I think of all the work that has gone in from the guys in the factory and all the days and nights stressing. We looked so strong but to then have a hiccup is tough for everyone, but we will bounce back. I wish Nico [Rosberg] all the luck and hopefully he finishes safely."

    LAP 24

    Valtteri Bottas has closed on Daniil Kvyat in 10th place and passes the Toro Rosso with the help of DRS on the start-finish straight.

    Australian GP

    Rosberg leads Ricciardo by 7secs. Hamilton out with loss of power. Vettel out with loss of power, Kobayashi and Massa crash out on first lap. Bottas 10th after climbing through field then causing safety car release after hitting wall and losing a tyre. Bianchi out. 1 Rosberg 2 Ricciardo 3 Magnussen 4 Hulkenberg 5 Alonso 6 Button 7 Vergne 8 Raikkonen 9 Kvyat 10 Bottas

    LAP 23

    The Lotuses are well off the pace. Both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado are five seconds a lap slower than leader Nico Rosberg. They are currently 13th and 14th respectively.

    LAP 22

    Nico Rosberg is pulling away the front. His lead is now up to seven seconds. Nico Hulkenberg is holding up the field in fourth, but Fernando Alonso can't find a way past.


    Lewis Hamilton, who retired as a result of a misfiring cylinder, talking to Jennie Gow on 5 live: "We knew reliability could be an issue but of course it surprises you when it happens, but it's early stages and there's a long way to go so I will remain positive and focus on the next race. You see people pulling away and I felt like I didn't have power. I kept going as long as I could, but there was no point."

    LAP 21

    Sergio Perez passes Romain Grosjean for 12th place while Valtteri Bottas is told by his Williams team to be careful when using his DRS. "We do not want to get in trouble - there is a problem with the hardware."


    More from Sebastian Vettel who spoke to Jennie Gow on 5 live: "We came here to do well, The most important thing is that the car is quick. At least 50% of the garage is happy. It's disappointing when it happens to you but what can I do now?"

    LAP 20

    Nico Rosberg is lapping at least eight tenths quicker than Daniel Ricciardo at the moment, with Kevin Magnussen is around 1.5 seconds a lap slower.


    Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi: Sorry for messed up it's just my mistake sorry to Felipe and @CaterhamF1 all member!

    Kobayashi crashed into the back of Felipe Massa on Turn One of the opening lap, an incident that left both drivers in the gravel and out of the race.

    LAP 19

    Nico Rosberg opens up a 2.9 second lead over Daniel Ricciardo. However, the Red Bull driver has just been told he does not need to save fuel which will be music to his ears I'm sure.

    LAP 18

    Valtteri Bottas' Williams looks in good shape after he hit the wall earlier. The Finn passes Pastor Maldonado for 11th. He's just one place outside the points now.

    Australian GP

    Here's the Kobayashi and Massa crash on Lap 1. Difficult to tell what happened, but the stewards will investigate it after the race.


    Sebastian Vettel, who retired from the race in lap six, tells BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "On the second formation lap we lost power for some reason, we don't know why. I hope Daniel [Ricciardo] is fine, but 50% of the garage is down, which is bad. It's going to be a long season. At the beginning I thought it was OK, but I didn't get any power from the battery and the engine failed."

    LAP 17

    Romain Grosjean passes Marcus Ericsson for 12th place. The Lotus driver might actually score points today providing his Renault engine lasts. That would be impressive considering his lack of running this weekend and the fact he started from the pit lane and had a drive-through penalty.


    We're back under way at Albert Park with Nico Rosberg comfortably retaining the lead as the safety car dives back in. Kevin Magnussen is told that his McLaren team are expecting to get 20 laps out of the current set of tyres.


    Mercedes: Update on @LewisHamilton: We were forced to retire his car due to a misfiring cylinder.

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

    "This safety car period is heading towards being long enough for the Mercedes-engined cars to be able to run the rest of the race without any fuel-saving - the key figure was three of four laps. Ferrari and Renault are not believed to be in as strong a position."

    LAP 15

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is told that there is very light rain at Turn Three but only Turn Three.

    LAP 14

    The marshals have removed the debris, so we should be back racing soon. Caterham's Marcus Ericsson is running strongly in 12th.

    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Dave Paice: Looks like Bernie has ruined F1 with all his stupid changes. Why mess with a 'formula' that was working.

    James Teale: These young drivers just aren't holding back.

    Jay: I know building a car is complicated but that's what these teams do - and they had a whole year. How can cars not be working?

    LAP 13

    Nico Rosberg retains the lead, from Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso. Jenson Button has moved up to sixth, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and Kimi Raikkonen.

    LAP 12

    Jenson Button is the first to pit in the McLaren. Leader Nico Rosberg pits, too, as does Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg.

    LAP 12

    There is debris on the track from Valtteri Bottas' incident which means the safety car is out. That will actually help Bottas, because many will use this opportunity to pit and that will allow the Finn to catch up.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "After Bottas made contact with the wall, it was like he couldn't change from that seventh gear. As he accelerated he just kissed the wall, but it was just enough to break the rear rim."

    LAP 11

    Valtteri Bottas makes it back to the pits. The Williams team assess the damage, change the tyres and send him back on the way.

    LAP 10

    It was all going so well for Valtteri Bottas, but he pushes too hard and clatters the wall coming out of Turn 10. The contact is enough to break the rear rim. A few corners later, he loses the tyre. Deputy team principal Claire Williams buries her head in her hands. This car has pace and should be leaving this race with a good haul of points. That is looking unlikely at the moment.

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson

    "I have just caught up with Niki Lauda and he said Lewis Hamilton's engine was not functioning correctly from the start."

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "That message means that Bottas isn't using too much fuel at this quick pace. Otherwise they would be telling him to ease off."


    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg sets the fastest lap of the race to extend his lead to five seconds over the field.


    Valtteri Bottas' race engineer: "This is mega Valtteri. Good work."


    There's a roar of delight in the Williams garage as Valtteri Bottas passes Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari at Turns Three and Four. This time going down the inside at Three and making it stick around the outside at Four. Stunning stuff from the Finn who is now sixth. Does Raikkonen have any damage from that possible contact with Kobayashi?

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Let's have a look at the start again. The Caterham locked up massively and ran into the back of Felipe Massa, who was the innocent party. You can expect Kamui Kobayashi to have a trip up to the stewards' room later."


    They are dropping like flies. Jules Bianchi didn't manage to get back out after his issue on the grid, while Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa were out on the first lap. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have also stopped, which means only 17 drivers are still going.


    Valtteri Bottas is hunting down Kimi Raikkonen, the Williams looking very strong at the moment. The gap is just 0,7 seconds. It's not such good news for Sebastian Vettel, who pulls into the pits and retires the Red Bull. It's a terrible start to the German's title defence.


    Valtteri Bottas pulls of a lovely move around the outside of Jean-Eric Vergne of Turn Three and makes the move stick up the inside into Turn Four. That's seventh for the Williams driver. Replays show that Kamui Kobayashi locked up and took Felipe Massa out at Turn One, hitting Kimi Raikkonen on his way. Raikkonen continues, running sixth 2.2 second behind Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.


    Nico Rosberg sets the fastest lap of the race to extend his lead to 2.8 seconds over Daniel Ricciardo with Kevin Magnussen third, 1.4 seconds further back.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It's not what Mercedes were hoping for. They have had a great qualifying on the back of positive testing, but it could be any number of issues that have stopped Lewis Hamilton running."


    It's all over for pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, who peels into the pit lane and rolls to a stop in his pit box. The Briton removes his steering wheel and steps out of the car. Who saw that coming?


    Lewis Hamilton's race engineer: "Stay out, keep rolling."


    Lewis Hamilton's race engineer: "Retire, retire. we need to save the engine."


    Kevin Magnussen sets the fastest lap of the race as he chases down Daniel Ricciardo in second place. Nico Hulkenberg passes Lewis Hamilton for fourth place. Fernando Alonso is up to sixth, one place ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne.


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "The engine is not running smoothly."


    It's a disappointing return to Formula 1 for Kamui Kobayashi who crashes out at Turn One, with Williams' Felipe Massa spinning out, too. There's contact in the midfield and Sebastian Vettel does well to avoid it all. Rosberg leads Ricciardo with Magnussen passing Hamilton around the outside. Sensational start for the rookie.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Will we get a safety car with two cars in the gravel at Turn One already?"

  148. 06:08: 

    It's a dreadful start from Lewis Hamilton who bogs down massively. His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg takes advantage, nipping into the lead, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo following him through.

  149. 06:08: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    One light, two lights, three lights, four lights, five, lights and it's go, go, go for a new era of Formula 1!

  150. 06:06: 

    Marussia seem to have rectified the problem on Max Chilton's car as he's has now made his way to the end of the pit-lane for the start of the race.

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

    "There were stand-out performances in qualifying from two of this year's new-boys. Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat took fourth and eighth, and the Dane's position was especially impressive as he beat his vastly experienced team-mate Jenson Button, who is normally so good in mixed conditions. Magnussen has looked on the edge all weekend, making a number of mistakes as he tried to piece together the limits of the McLaren on the Albert Park track, which he had never driven before. He said he was finding the limit by going over it because time was so limited. It is a delicate balancing act because push just a bit too far and you'll be in the wall. But when it all counted in qualifying Magnussen put it altogether magnificently. He just keeps on building on the good impressions he has created since stepping into an F1 for the first time. Has a star been born?"


    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo: "It feels like the launch [of the car] is bogging down a little."

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

    "Sebastian Vettel starting on mediums. Is he hoping for an early safety car and a quick free stop for softs?"

  154. 06:04: 

    Marussia's Jules Bianchi has a problem, which is why the start has been aborted. Drivers will head round for another formation lap and the race will be reduced by a lap to 57. That'll help with fuel consumption.

  155. 06:03: 

    Here we go, then. Everyone has lined up in their grid slots. But hang on, we've got an aborted start....

  156. 06:02: 

    Romain Grosjean, who is starting from the pit lane, has been given a drive-through penalty for leaving his garage before the 15-minute signal. When it rains, it pours. The misery continues for Lotus.

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson

    "After what we saw in Bahrain, I think we're going to see less than 10 cars finishing in Melbourne. Everyone was having problems, even Mercedes. Williams were only team not to have reliability issues, they were just asked by Mercedes to run that engine into the ground and it eventually let go with about an hour to go on the final day of testing with Valtteri Bottas. So Williams look really reliable - only Mercedes completed more laps in pre-season testing."

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

    "There will be a lot of talk about 'fuel-saving' between drivers and teams during this race - but don't be fooled. It's not as if the drivers are not flat out. The most efficient way to reduce consumption is to 'lift and coast' - back off about a second before a driver would normally brake for the corner. But doing this as well as possible is a skill in itself, and the drivers are still on the limit through the corners."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Given that it's the world's best teams in Formula 1, we should expect them all to get away."

  160. 06:00: 

    Lewis Hamilton gets away cleanly to lead the field on the formation lap. Everyone gets away apart from Marussia's Max Chilton.

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

    "The start of the race will be fascinating - no-one is absolutely sure how the different cars will get off the line. Renault cars were not able to do starts at all until the end of testing - the crankshaft would break is they did. That issue has been fixed, but insiders admit starts are still 'not a strong point' of the Renault. So Daniel Ricciardo may well lose some places off the start. But how will the Mercedes-powered cars stack up against Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, which in recent years has got off the line as if it had been hit with a bolt of electricity? We're about to find out."

  162. 05:59: 

    Everyone is on the soft tyres apart from reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Gutierrez, who have chosen the mediums.

  163. 05:58: 

    The grid is bathed in sunshine, with pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, visor down, looking completely focused.

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

    "Strategy-wise, this will almost certainly be a two or three-stop race and the teams will be trying to stay on the faster 'soft' tyre as long as possible. On paper, a three-stop is quicker, but only if you can run at your optimum pace. So if drivers can overtake, they may lean towards three stops. If overtaking is hard, it will be two. That may differ between engine manufacturers as the Mercedes-powered cars have a significant advantage on straight-line speed over Ferrari and Renault. When will they run the mediums? It may well be for a short stint at the end - the idea being to restrict your running on them to as little as possible."

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen

    "There is a very high chance of safety car today, 60% is Melbourne average, but with new technology it must be higher this year. That'll help fuel consumption."

  166. 05:55: 

    The buzzer sounds which means all those who are not required to work on the cars must leave the grid. All the drivers are in their cockpits. The formation lap is coming up, followed by the start of this 58-lap opening race of the season.


    Pirelli: With the race about to begin we have air temperature of 19 degrees and track temperature of 28 degrees.

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

    "Kimi Raikkonen has had a troubled first race weekend on his return to Ferrari. Already on the back foot after experiencing more problems than team-mate Fernando Alonso in testing, Raikkonen was unhappy with the feel of the car on the brakes on Friday and 0.8secs adrift. He looked more comfortable on Saturday morning in the dry, but then failed to make the Q2 cut and then crashing at Turn Four. The accident was on his in-lap - he said he was 'playing around with some switches or something, got a little wheel spin and hit the wall'. He said traffic on his fastest lap had been to blame for him not making it through, and that 'in the wet the speed was there'. But in fact he was never close to Alonso on lap times once it started to rain in qualifying."

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson
    Kimi Raikkonen

    "The fact Ferrari invited Kimi Raikkonen back after all the problems they had last time is a huge confidence boost for the Finn. The 2007 world champion is also playing the game better this time around. I saw a photograph of him wearing a suit at a car launch with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo. That was something he would have never considered in his previous time at Ferrari. I think Raikkonen is in a good place within team."

  170. 05:52: 

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Daniel Ricciardo 3) Nico Rosberg 4) Kevin Magnussen 5) Fernando Alonso 6) Jean-Eric Vergne 7) Nico Hulkenberg 8) Daniil Kvyat 9) Felipe Massa 10) Jenson Button

    11) Kimi Raikkonen 12) Sebastian Vettel 13) Adrian Sutil 14) Kamui Kobayashi 15) Valtteri Bottas* 16) Sergio Perez

    17) Max Chilton 18) Jules Bianchi 19) Marcus Ericsson 20) Esteban Gutierrez* 21) Pastor Maldonado

    Pit-lane start: Romain Grosjean

    *Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez take five-place grid penalty for gearbox change

  171. 05:51: 

    The Australian national anthem rings out across Albert Park. Less than 10 minutes to go until the formation lap...

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson

    "Williams are set for their best season since 2004. It is fascinating as to why Williams are suddenly going to have a revival, because yes, they have the Mercedes engine, which appears to be best engine, but last year they had the Renault engine, which Red Bull took to the world championship so something has changed. I can only think it's the influence of Pat Symonds. He has got the systems working as they should to be really competitive. And in Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, they have a strong driver line-up. Williams looking very strong."

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen

    "Williams have been the surprise package so far. They were abysmal last year; they got five points compared to the 596 champions Red Bull scored. The team were so far off with their blown diffuser last year that they had to take it off because they couldn't get it to work. That's not an issue this year as every team has had to removed them because of the new regulations. On top of that, Williams have produced a tidy car, which you would expect form Pat Symonds, and the Mercedes engine."

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

    "It is a measure of the progress Williams have made this winter that Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were disappointed to be down in ninth and 10th places on the grid. The car lacks rear downforce - which is obvious even in perfect dry conditions. Rain exacerbates that problem. 'It is quite snappy,' Bottas said. 'We are struggling with the rear end and the more grip in the track helps us with that.'"

  175. 05:48: 

    Just time for Nico Rosberg to refuel with a banana before pulling on his balaclava and helmet and stepping into his Mercedes.

    Get involved- #bbcf1

    More of your predictions and thoughts ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

    Fernando Alonso

    Fahad Khan: This race is Alonso's to lose. The rookies should not be a problem and Mercedes are suffering from technical issues.

    Keri Gibson: So very sleepy! But it's Formula 1 on 5live. I can sleep in a few hours. Just have to convince the rest of my body.

    Pete Rowley: Stayed awake for the race, love it too much. I cant wait to see where this race, and this season goes.

  177. 05:46: 

    We have blue skies down at Turn One, but there are some pretty ominous dark clouds hanging at the other end of the pit straight.

    BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry

    "It is quite feasible that anyone with a Renault engine might not finish the race based on their performance in pre-season testing. In contrast, we can expect Mercedes to be the ones to beat and anyone with a Mercedes engine to have a great chance of getting round and seeing the chequered flag. However, none of the teams feel totally comfortable because they haven't had much time to get used to the new rules so that should keep it very interesting in the early part of the season."

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

    "The wet conditions in qualifying revealed that the new generation of Formula 1 cars, with their increased torque and power and reduced downforce, are, as Lewis Hamilton put it, 'so much harder to drive in the wet'. For nearly all the drivers the rain in second qualifying was their first experience of this. Hamilton said it was a 'serious task and challenge' and Fernando Alonso described it as 'not fun'. Alonso - who famously leaves no stone unturned in his preparation - also revealed that the drivers were still coming to terms with the complex systems of the cars. 'In Q3, the only time I knew what position I was in was when I switched off the car in parc ferme,' Alonso said. 'The rest of Q3 is about getting information on the steering wheel. That is not the best thing.' More work needed to be done, he said, on simplifying the systems."

  180. 05:43: 

    Red Bull motorsport chief Helmut Marko tells BBC Radio 5 live that he believes the reigning world champions will be much nearer to the pace-setting Mercedes by the time we get to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix, round five of the World Championship.

  181. 05:40: 

    It's heaving on the grid, with mechanics and the drivers jostling for space with the media and VIP guests. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo has made it to the grid. He jumps out of the car and heads over to his engineer to have a chat.

    Dannii Minogue

    Australian singer Dannii Minogue on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's amazing, I haven't been to race for a long time. It's my home town, I'm loving it. It's nice to see Mark [Webber] to progress to commentating and for Daniel it was so nice to see the pure enjoyment after he qualified second. He really enjoyed that moment.

    "It's going to be so exciting. If it rains, it'll be even more exciting. I'm hoping for rain, because it'll be good for Jenson as he's good in those conditions."

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "Mercedes have a very interesting pairing. Lewis Hamilton drives with his heart, he's a natural racer. He's aggressive when he needs to be and is fantastic to watch. Nico Rosberg drives with his head, he plans a weekend. Right from the start of qualifying, he's thinking about the last lap of the race.

    "His favoured way is not necessarily overtaking but it's being at the front and doing whatever it takes to stay there, even if that means driving slow laps and backing off to protect his tyres. This year's regulations might suit Rosberg more, but Hamilton has the experience of winning a title. I would give the edge to Hamilton, but I think their rivalry could be the most destructive on the grid if the team is not careful."

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

    "The subject of how Mercedes are going to handle two competitive drivers who will undoubtedly be competing for race wins has been a central topic of the weekend. Mercedes insist they are 'completely free to race', as long as they don't do anything stupid. 'The main thing is to have a clear picture of what's going on,' said Nico Rosberg, split from team-mate Lewis Hamilton's pole-sitting car by Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull.

    "'But I can tell you now there will be battles between Lewis and me. That's important, for the TV, for us as a team. That's racing. That's what we're here for. But within certain limits. Of course you can't go crazy as team-mates. We're both here to have great success for Mercedes and help bring them to the front of F1. At the same time we want to go racing, have a good time and do some exciting stuff on track. So you need to find the fine line. We have done so, we have prepared for it, we've gone through it in detail so we know what to expect.'"

  185. 05:31: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Lots of drivers are taking the opportunity to do a practice start before heading out onto the track. Out goes Lewis Hamilton, closely followed by his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  186. 05:30: 

    The pit lane has opened its doors, which means the drivers are free to head around to the grid when they're ready.

    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Here are some of your early predictions for what you expect to see today at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne:

    37Dave: Sebastian Vettel could score his 10th win in a row, provided Renault/Red Bull sufficiently sort the Power Unit Software.

    Matt: I reckon Red Bull won't make it that far and may even overheat on the line. 14 cars to finish.

    Elliott Evans: Hopefully the Australian Grand Prix gets the season off to a flyer. Praying for rain to make the race even more interesting.

  188. 05:28: 
    Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton

    Britain's Jenson Button has won the Australian GP three times, but will start in 10th place on the grid today. He says: "You are never happy with 10th, but I'm really happy with the car."

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

    "Romain Grosjean is to start from the pit lane after Lotus made a number of changes to his car. It's no major loss for Lotus - the Franco-Swiss was 21st in qualifying, with only team-mate Pastor Maldonado behind him. It's been a trying weekend for Lotus, with almost no running because of myriad problems with both car and Renault power-unit. The team are still playing catch-up from their late start to testing. The chances of them finishing the race must be considered slim, and the team are effectively treating it as a 58-lap test session. If they can finish, they'll be thrilled."

  190. 05:27: 
    Felipe Massa

    Venue: Albert Park Laps: 58 Circuit length: 5.303km Race distance: 307.574km Number of corners: 16 (6 left and 10 right) Lap record: 1min 24.125secs (Michael Schumacher, 2004) Fastest race lap in 2013: 1min 29.274secs (Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus) Lowest winning grid position: P7 (Kimi Raikkonen, 2013) Historical safety car probability: 50%

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "Force India made the decision very early last year to stop developing their car and concentrate on this year. They saw the potential and opportunity to really profit. They have financial support throughout Sergio Perez, who is quick, a strong driver in Nico Hulkenberg, and the Mercedes engine which appears to be the best power unit at the moment so they have the potential to get some great results early on."

    Hulkenberg starts seventh, Perez 16th.

  192. 05:25: 
    Class of 2014

    The Formula 1 Class of 2014. I wonder what caught Force India's Sergio Perez's eye....

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

    "Before coming to Australia, not many people in Formula 1 expected to see a Red Bull on the front row. And if you had said one would be, no-one would have said it would be Daniel Ricciardo's. But there he was, splitting the Mercedes with a sensational performance. The wet conditions undoubtedly flattered the Renault power-unit, which still has a significant deficit to the Mercedes.

    "And Sebastian Vettel had an engine software problem that affected his car's driveability. But that should take nothing away from the Australian's achievement. Perhaps mindful of the delicate dynamic in the team, Ricciardo was low-key afterwards. Red Bull are still very much focused on Vettel, and it's clear Ricciardo has been told his is a supporting role. But a marker has undoubtedly been laid down."

  194. 05:22: 

    While Daniel Ricciardo starred for Red Bull, there weren't so many smiles on the other side of the garage as reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel had an engine software issue which meant he was only able to qualify 13th, which will be 12th on the grid after Valtteri Bottas' five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

  195. 05:20: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who starts second in his home grand prix, says: "I'm tripping right now; it's crazy, but awesome.

    "It has been a good weekend and I would hope we have the right car. Let's see how we go and we will do everything we can. We've definitely made a lot of progress, but this is the biggest test of the weekend so fingers crossed we will get it over the line."

  196. 05:18: 

    The driver parade is all done and dusted, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo having the honour of leading the way in a train of historic cars around the Albert Park track. The Red Bull driver even hopped out midway round the lap to throw some caps to his adoring fans.

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

    "Can Lewis Hamilton convert pole into a win? There are a lot of uncertainties over reliability, even at Mercedes. 'We are going into it with the focus of trying to win,' Hamilton said. 'Of course it would be a dream to get a one-two for the team. But it's just about trying to get that first race under the belt as good as we can get it and just get to the end of the race. We're going to learn a lot about fuel-saving and all those things. Red Bull were very competitive on one of their long runs so we definitely can't rule them out.'"

  198. 05:15: 

    After a cloudy start to the morning in Melbourne, the sun has started to break through. Just 45 minutes until the start of the race.

  199. 05:11: 
    Pin badge to remember Jenson Button's dad John

    Nice touch from McLaren. All of their team will be wearing one these badges in memory of Jenson Button's dad John, who died in January, aged 70.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It is interesting that a lot of people are predicting that Nico Rosberg will be better suited to managing the new powertrain because I would like to think that with Pirelli producing more durable tyres, it will actually play into Lewis Hamilton's hands. When Hamilton feels he can push and lean on the car, he is exceptionally quick and he can make the most of his talent. It's when he has to drive to protect the tyres that he generally struggles."

  201. 05:05: 

    So who do you think is going to win the first grand prix in this new era of Formula 1? Can Lewis Hamilton convert pole in victory? Will Red Bull surprise us all after a miserable time in winter testing? Where will Ferrari and McLaren be? Can Williams and Force India spring a surprise? And what of Lotus, who have been in all sorts of bother so far this weekend. Tweet us using the #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only).

  202. 05:02: 

    Last season, the cars had become so reliable that if you started on pole, you were very likely to go on to win. This season, or at least for the first few races, that's not necessarily going to be the case as the drivers and teams get used to the aforementioned new rules.

    One of the big challenges is fuel consumption. Cars will have to use a third less fuel to complete a race distance this year - just 100kg. With new 1.6-litre V6 engines that teams are still trying to understand, it'll be interesting to see how the drivers cope as they adjust their driving style to be more efficient.

  203. 04:56: 

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Daniel Ricciardo 3) Nico Rosberg 4) Kevin Magnussen 5) Fernando Alonso 6) Jean-Eric Vergne 7) Nico Hulkenberg 8) Daniil Kvyat 9) Felipe Massa 10) Jenson Button

    11) Kimi Raikkonen 12) Sebastian Vettel 13) Adrian Sutil 14) Kamui Kobayashi 15) Valtteri Bottas* 16) Sergio Perez

    17) Max Chilton 18) Jules Bianchi 19) Marcus Ericsson 20) Romain Grosjean 21) Esteban Gutierrez* 22) Pastor Maldonado

    *Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez take five-place grid penalty for gearbox change

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

    "Lewis Hamilton starts the race from a brilliant pole position - as he was favourite to do so before he even arrived in Australia. The Mercedes has been the quickest car all weekend, with estimates as to its performance advantage on a dry qualifying lap being as much as 1.5 seconds.

    "But qualifying was not dry and Hamilton had to work for his pole - his lap included a big sideways moment at Turn Six, which he said he felt might have cost him his chance. 'I lost a lot of time in the mid-section. That was the spot where I lost it. I thought it was going to make it very close, which it did. But I was grateful I was able to pick it up elsewhere.'"

  205. 04:50: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton has not finished on the podium or led a lap in any of the last eight races, but he put himself in the best possible position to end that dismal run by taking a brilliant pole position in a rain-hit qualifying session on Saturday.

  206. 04:45: 

    Here's the plan for today, BBC Radio 5 live will hit the airwaves at 05:30 GMT, with Jennie Gow's grid walk, 30 minutes before the start of the race. Highlights will follow at 14:00 on BBC Two and 19:00 on the Red Button. All the best content will be online, too, such as race highlights.

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

    "What a start to the season it has already been. Fascinating stories up and down the pit lane, an all-new formula with the demands of which teams and drivers are only beginning to get up to speed, a mixed weather qualifying session producing a mixed-up grid that sets up a race rich with potential, and a dynamic between the two drivers in the dominant Mercedes team that is already crackling with pent-up pressure. Adding to the mix is uncertain weather, with showers predicted during the race. The Australian Grand Prix has the makings of a classic."

  208. 04:40: 

    The teams have had three practice sessions and done their best through qualifying. All that's left now is to race. Lights go out in Melbourne's Albert Park at 06:00 GMT. But before then, we've got plenty to get through.

  209. 04:36: 
    Jean-Eric Vergne slides though the rain in qualifying

    Hopefully it won't have escaped your attention that Formula 1 is introducing arguably the biggest set of rule changes in its history this season.

    Most affected are the engines as the sport goes further than ever before to embrace 'green' technology. The appearance of the cars has changed, too, particularly the front end. All this means today's Australian Grand Prix could throw up some surprising results.

    Handily, here's a guide to the key things to look our for in 2014 which you can peruse at your leisure.

  210. 04:33: 

    Morning all and a very warm welcome to the opening grand prix of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

    Australia is our host, the first stop on a 19-race calendar which will visit China, Monaco, Canada and Great Britain among others before landing in Abu Dhabi for the season finale when F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone's controversial double points rule will be enforced.

  211. 04:30: 

    Guess who's back, back again...

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FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2015

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 43
2 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 40
3 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 33
4 Brazil F Massa Williams 20
5 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 12
6 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 10
7 Finland V Bottas Williams 10
8 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 9
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 6
10 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
11 C Sainz Toro Rosso 6
12 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 4
13 Russia D Kvyat Red Bull 2
14 Mexico S Perez Force India 1
15 France R Grosjean Lotus 0
16 Great Britain J Button McLaren 0
17 R Merhi Manor Marussia F1 0
18 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Spain F Alonso McLaren 0
21 W Stevens Manor Marussia F1 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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