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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

Barbed Response

Narain Karthikeyan may have spent all day Friday standing in a fruitless and frustrating wait for his Formula One racing car to be built, but he retained his dry sense of humour.

As a team of mechanics from his hard-worked Hispania team toiled to build up a machine for him to use, India's first Grand Prix driver turned his mind elsewhere.

"At least we smashed the Aussies," he said, his first words of greeting shortly before second free practice on Friday afternoon. "We didn't give them a chance."

Baird in control of cup car

by Andrew van Leeuwen

Craig Baird is in the box seat to win the first round of the re-born Porsche Carrera Cup, after winning race two at the 2011 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix.

Having finished second to fellow-Kiwi Jonny Reid yesterday, Baird bolted from the front row of the grid and was never troubled throughout the eight laps.

His winning margin was 9.6sec, and he now holds a 24-point lead heading into tomorrow’s final.

Perez impresses on debut day

Sergio Perez came, took a first look and then shone like a star of the future on Friday when he drove to the eighth-fastest time in free practice for Sunday's Qantas Australian Grand Prix.

The Mexican, who only turned 21 in January, is the youngest of the four Formula One rookies making their debuts at Albert Park this weekend, but behaved with measured maturity in and out of his Sauber car.

The start of something big?

Daniel Ricciardo was happy but exhausted after his maiden outing at an Australian Grand Prix weekend – and the young Aussie can’t wait for his next chance

by Matthew Clayton

Late on a windy and cold evening at Albert Park, Daniel Ricciardo was emotionally spent – but still sporting his trademark wide grin.

Friday had been a whirlwind day.

The keys to the 2011 door

Tim Collings lists the crucial factors that will influence the outcome of the first race of the new World Championship season.

Qualifying - Red Bull set the pace last season with 15 poles from 19 races, Vettel taking ten and Webber five. Alonso had two and Hamilton one. In head-to-head last season between team-mates Vettel outpaced Webber 12-7, but made hard work of turning pole starts into wins.

Dywer trumps field in F5000 opener

UK driver Mark Dwyer has scored a runaway victory in race one of the F5000 open-wheeler class at the 2011 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix.

Dwyer’s second F5000 victory at Albert Park – his first was in 2009 – saw the polesitter cross the chequered flag in his Lola T332 over 20 seconds in front of Australian Aaron Lewis (Matich A50), with New Zealander David Abbott (Lola T430) claiming the last step on the podium.

Saturday preview: qualified optimism

“McLaren look quick, but with Ferrari you can never tell…” Mark Webber knows where the main opposition is as he bids to plant his Red Bull racer on the front row at Albert Park for the second time in a row.

Webber topped the first free practice session on Friday and joined last year’s ‘Big Five’ at the front of the second, but today is the day when things get really serious at the 2011 Formula One Qantas Australian Grand Prix.

Opportunity knocks

Misfortune for a former teammate has opened the door for Nick Heidfeld to make a long-awaited breakthrough

by Matthew Clayton

After 172 Grand Prix starts, Nick Heidfeld’s Formula One career appeared to be over. Called in late last year at Sauber to replace Spaniard Pedro de le Rosa, the 33-year-old did a solid if unspectacular job, and with the Swiss team having signed Mexican Sergio Perez for 2011, Heidfeld was out of a job – and perhaps out of the sport for good.

Van Giz Fastest and Retains Pole Chance

Ford’s Shane van Gisbergen set the fastest time during Thursday evening’s V8 Supercar qualifying session at Albert Park, and will have a chance to challenge for pole position during tomorrow’s Top 10 Shoot-out.

As the fastest qualifier, van Gisbergen was in charge of randomly selecting how much of the field will be inverted before the Top 10 Shootout.

The number eight was selected, meaning that his team-mate Tim Slade was effectively ‘bumped’ to fastest, but the participants in tomorrow’s Shoot-out aren’t affected – only their running order.

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