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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

31 MAR - 03 APR 2016

Richards pips Lawlor in Heritage opener

Veteran Jim Richards again reminded everyone why he is such a legend in motor racing circles with a classy victory in the opening Penrite Oil Heritage Touring Car race at the 2015 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

After passing fellow-Nissan driver Terry Lawlor on lap one, Richards then had his rear vision full for the remainder of the race but didn't miss a beat, eventually crossing the line with 0.2527 seconds to spare over his front row rival.

Frosty treat in V8 Supercar qualifying

Ford's Mark ‘Frosty' Winterbottom has pipped teammate Chaz Mostert to take the No. 1 spot on the grid for Friday’s opening MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge race at the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Winterbottom stopped the clock with a best lap of 1:56.0517, just a smidgeon in arrears of Craig Lowndes's lap record of 1:55.9682 set in 2011.

‘It's fantastic to be on pole position again,’ said Winterbottom. ‘The team has topped every session today, and I'm just glad I made it to the top in the right one!

McBride to lead away Porsche Carrera Cup pack

Nick McBride left his best until last to snare pole position for the Porsche Carrera Cup program at the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Just when it appeared that 19-year-old class rookie Matt Campbell was going to claim a stirring pole position in his first visit to Albert Park, McBride pulled out a scorching 1:57.9486 to move to the top, just 0.038 seconds ahead of the teenager (1:57.9514).

But it's tight all-round, with just 0.1973 seconds separating the top six in qualifying.

Lewis lost for words as Max gets ready to race

Lewis Hamilton was left struggling for words on Thursday.

Glancing at the faces around him, the 30-year-old world champion realised he was the oldest driver in the room.

At the first official press conference on the eve of opening practice for this weekend’s race, Hamilton came face to face with a truth he had not anticipated.

‘Hey, so, you were born in 1997?’ he asked 17-year-old Dutch debutant Max Verstappen. ‘That was the year I signed my first contract with McLaren… ‘

Richards on Penrite Oil Heritage pole position

Motor racing's tireless campaigner, Jim Richards, has romped to pole position in the Penrite Oil Heritage Touring Car class at the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

After warming to the task in this morning's practice session, Richards really hit his straps in the Nissan Skyline HR31 this afternoon and maintained his place at the top of the timesheets with a best lap of 2:09.5924, over two seconds ahead of Terry Lawlor (2:11.6722) in the Nissan Skyline R32.

Let's get into it, says F1 stars

One clear theme emerged from the first official FIA press conference at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit on Thursday: these guys just want to get out there and go racing.

Facing the world’s media, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo spoke for the group of six drivers on stage when he said: ‘I’m excited to get the season going.

‘For all of us it’s great to have time off, but testing starts and you get the taste for it again and you just want to go racing,’ Ricciardo added.

Car safe, driver on the mend

Fernando Alonso is alive and well, has exchanged text messages with his team and is absent from this weekend’s Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix strictly on doctors’ orders, his McLaren Honda team-mate Jenson Button said on Thursday.

‘It is important for him to recover properly and get ready to return fully fit when he starts racing again,’ said Button.

The English driver swept aside news reports that the two-time champion Spaniard may have suffered memory loss, or worse, after an alleged electronic malfunction when he crashed in testing in Spain.

When your number's up...

Baseball may be the only sport that’s more stat-saturated than Formula 1. With the numbers in mind, here are some pointers to help you hit a few home runs this weekend.

The first crucial moment is qualifying on Saturday: at some circuits, starting from pole is almost a guarantee of adding the race win on Sunday.

In Melbourne, eight of the 19 races to date have been won by the man who took pole.

The first was Mika Hakkinen for McLaren in 1998, the most recent was Sebastian Vettel in 2011 with Red Bull.

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