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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

31 MAR - 03 APR 2016

Wattie won but Niki was quicker

It’s more than 30 years since it happened, but Niki Lauda still bristles at the memory of the United States Grand Prix at Long Beach in 1983, the last event at which McLaren qualified with two cars so far distant at the back of the grid.

Why?

‘It was because we started at the back of grid, of course,’ said the straight-talking Austrian, now non-executive chairman of Mercedes F1 team. ‘And because I didn’t win!

Carl Cox’s right hand man Eric Powell steps in to perform at GP after party

Eric Powell will be stepping in to perform at the exclusive ‘Renault Torque Bar After Party’ following a family emergency that has forced Carl Cox to return home urgently.

The ‘Renault Torque Bar After Party’ will be held at Ms Collins, this Sunday 15 March. The party will commence following the conclusion of the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Ms Collins will be offering a $20 drink card to all patrons who have pre purchased tickets and arrive prior to 10pm.

Happy birthday!

The Honourable John Eren, Victoria’s Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Minister for Sport and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, won’t forget his 51st birthday in a hurry.

Politicians are not accustomed to taking a back seat, but on Sunday Minister Eren was Cam McConville’s passenger in the Swisse Two-Seater in the fourth and final Ultimate Speed Comparison at Albert Park ahead of the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Richards extends Carrera Cup lead

Defending champion and current series leader Steve Richards has produced a flawless front-running performance to win the third and final Porsche Carrera Cup race at the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Richards' 13th Carrera Cup win and his fourth at Albert Park came after he was pushed all the way by a rejuvenated Craig Baird, with Cameron McConville and Shae Davies also close at hand – the quartet were only 1.4s apart at the end of 10 laps.

Update on Valtteri Bottas

During yesterday’s qualifying session, Valtteri Bottas developed a back injury which the team felt necessary to be examined by the FIA Medical Delegate at the circuit. Following this, he was transferred to Albert Hospital in Melbourne for further precautionary scans which revealed that Valtteri had sustained some soft tissue damage in his lower back.

It can be confirmed that scans revealed that Valtteri had suffered has a very small tear in the annular part of a disc in his lower back.

Winterbottom adds name to history books

Ford Falcon pilot Mark Winterbottom has become the first driver since 1998 to clean-sweep the V8 Supercars Challenge at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix with yet another towering performance in today's fourth and final MSS Security race.

Winterbottom again led the whole way around the Albert Park F1 circuit in his Ford FG/X to put the final exclamation mark on the most complete performance at the event since Russell Ingall seven years ago.

It was a brilliant outing for Ford, with Winterbottom's teammate Chaz Mostert runner-up in all four races.

Lawlor and 'Godzilla' ramp it up in Heritage finale

Terry Lawlor has cruised to victory in his Nissan Skyline R32 – aka 'Godzilla' – in the third and final Penrite Oil Heritage Touring Car race at the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Lawlor really put down the accelerator in the Albert Park finale, uncorking the fastest lap of the weekend (2:07.9622) on lap four as he attempted to put clear air between himself and arch-rival Jim Richards (Nissan Skyline HR31).

Dress rehearsal gets DC going

Folks in Britain following events at Albert Park on the BBC may experience an unusual moment later today – David Coulthard lost for words.

As the sound of the bagpipes swirled across Albert Park in Sunday morning’s rehearsal for the pre-race ceremonies, ‘DC’ met a group of F1 prize-winners and told them he had warned co-presenter Suzi Perry to expect an emotional few minutes as he enjoyed the familiar sounds.

David is no stranger to Albert Park ceremonies: after his maiden victory for Williams, his first and last wins for McLaren came right here in 1997 and 2003.

Race day talking-points

It’s almost time for the 20th running of the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. Who’s saying what ahead of this afternoon’s race?

Question: can Dan come through from seventh on the grid? ‘I’m not going to rest there,’ said our man after qualifying, but Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner was less than complimentary about his supply of Renault engines when Dan and teammate Daniil Kvyat ended up on the fourth and seventh rows of the grid respectively.

McLaren Honda down but defiant

Two decades on from the halcyon days of their last great racing partnership, the McLaren-Honda team hit the ground with a humiliating bump on Saturday when they qualified on the back row of the grid for Sunday’s season-opening Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

The team that in its former incarnation in the era of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna won eight championships in five years and 44 races out of 80 had expected to struggle.

This was more than just a struggle.

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