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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.

Power failure - but Dan looks on the bright side

Daniel Ricciardo must have felt as if he was wading through the water in the Albert Park lake when he fought his way on to the fourth row of the grid for the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

A quick look at the speeds achieved by every runner in the one-hour qualifying session revealed how far off the pace the Red Bull Renaults are this weekend.

The 5.303-km circuit is divided into three sectors for timing purposes.

Lewis looking for a better start

Last year he was out of the Australian running after just two laps.

Lewis Hamilton is intent on making his second straight Melbourne pole count for a lot more as he sets out in defence of his world title.

The 39th pole position of his career was a consummate performance, eclipsing even Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by six-tenths of a second, but Hamilton reminded his media audience that there are still hard yards ahead on Sunday.

Rescue job for Dan, alarm bells for everyone else as Lewis dominates

Daniel Ricciardo did his gritty best to thrill the fans in Albert Park on Saturday, but nothing could stop world champion Lewis Hamilton claiming the 39th pole position of his career for Sunday’s Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

In an exciting season-opening qualifying session the 30-year-old Briton produced a flawless lap of 1:26.327 to outpace his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg of Germany by a crushing margin of six-tenths of a second.

Work to do for F1 on Sunday...

… and we don’t mean any of the guys in the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix, either.

It’s Cam McConville in the Minardi-built F1 Two-Seater, which came off worst in the third running of the popular Ultimate Speed Comparison at Albert Park on Saturday afternoon.

Pitted against Mick Doohan in the Mercedes A45 AMG and Steven Richards in the Red Bull Holden Commodore V8 Supercar, McConville was unable to catch either of them in the handicap sprint around the 5.303km Grand Prix track.

Ricciardo smile slips as Renault engines fail Red Bull team

Daniel Ricciardo’s famous smile slipped on Saturday as he and his Red Bull team endured another frustrating practice session ahead of Sunday’s Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old Aussie, whose beaming face has been on every billboard in Melbourne this week, struggled for the second day with his Renault engine and his car’s performance on his way to 15th place in the third free practice, hours before qualifying for the season-opening race.

Normal service resumed in V8 Supercars

Ford's seemingly inexorable domination of the MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge campaign at the 2015 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix continued on Saturday, with Mark Winterbottom leading home Chaz Mostert for the third consecutive time.

Winterbottom led the whole way, while Mostert took a lap to get past fast-starter Shane van Gisbergen (Holden Commodore VF) before he latched onto the back of his teammate.

Winterbottom has now replicated van Gisbergen's performance at the 2014 Albert Park V8 Supercar challenge by winning the first three races.

Sauber smiles - but Dan doesn't

The moment is unlikely to be repeated in racing conditions at any stage this year, but it must have caught Sauber and all their personnel wearing a wry smile.

At 14:05 on Saturday the cars running in first and second places on the time-sheets for the third free practice session ahead of Sunday’s Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix were numbers 12 and 9 – Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

After their legal battles and limited Friday running, it was an ironic little sidelight on the state of affairs ahead of Sunday’s race.

Meet F1’s most colourful character

How would you like to travel the world, following Formula 1 – not for work, but purely for pleasure?

Meet Moko, a self-declared Formula One fan who has managed to talk his way into the paddock at Grands Prix all over the world, including this weekend’s Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

A 60-year-old Senegalese, Moko is now one of the best-known figures in the F1 paddocks of the world.

That’s because he’s been flying to races at his own expense since first attending the French Grand Prix in 1979.

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