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Albert Park master strikes back

Craig Baird has hit back with a vengeance in race two of the Porsche Carrera Cup program at the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

After finishing – for him – a lowly third in race one, today was all about redemption, and the New Zealander’s intentions were clear from the outset when he nipped underneath Steve Richards at turn one seconds after the start.

From there, he wasn’t headed again, although he did have to contend with Nick Percat sitting on his bumper for a fair chunk of the eight-lap journey.

Will they be super on the soft option?

The good thing about history is that it teaches us what to expect.

Looking at it another way, the great Murray Walker used to say that he never made mistakes, only predictions that didn’t always come true.

So what should we expect and/or predict when it comes to qualifying for the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix?

History first: the men who have been on pole here for the last seven years are all back again. That’s Jenson Button (2006, 2009), Kimi Raikkonen (2007), Lewis Hamilton (2008, 2012) and Sebastian Vettel (2010, 2011).

“I always knew…”

If you were among the crowd at the Australian Grand Prix 11 years ago, the name Coulthard should be familiar to you.

Not just because ‘DC’, Scotland’s F1 star David Coulthard, led the Formula 1 race for 10 laps in his McLaren Mercedes: his (literally) distant cousin, New Zealander Fabian Coulthard, was also on track.

Not among the F1 elite, of course: the English-born New Zealand driver was making his Albert Park debut as a Formula Ford driver. The field, in which his combative driving stood out, included names like J. Whincup.

‘The best things in life are free’ – or are they?

Television, television, television….

Money, money, money…

Those two linked topics topped the bill when a group of team chiefs and major component suppliers met the media at Albert Park on Friday.

‘The world is changing’, was the keynote, and Formula 1 must change with it to ensure ongoing financial health.

The Formula 1 panel revealed concerns that the sport is facing a major challenge to sustain its levels of financial success as we move from traditional television viewing habits to younger, more flexible multi-platform media audiences.

Brad Hodge dominates Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge with a start to finish win

Brad Hodge maintained his qualifying form with a decisive and calm victory, leading a determined group of celebrity racers at the 2013 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix today.

Hodge capitalised on mistakes made by Sir Chris Hoy and Jonathan LaPaglia, helping him edge away on the second lap and take the exciting race by an impressive 11.3 seconds.

Richards from go-to-whoa

Victorian Steve Richards has joined his legendary father Jim on the Porsche Carrera Cup winners’ list at Albert Park with an all-the-way victory at Albert Park this afternoon, as the support class program at the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix continues to provide some hotly contested competition.

Richards got the better of polesitter Nick Percat from the start, and then successfully kept the shutters up for the remainder of the eight-lapper, despite some very close attention from Craig Baird at first, before Percat took up the cause.

McLaren: ‘Disappointing and tough”, admits Whitmarsh

One year ago McLaren Mercedes almost swept the boards at Albert Park: pole position, front row lock-out, first and third in the race, fastest race lap.

They also ended 2012 on a high when Jenson Button book-ended his season by winning in Brazil as he had in Melbourne.

So what are they doing outside the top 10 in the opening sessions of practice for the first race of 2013?

Fans race to Albert Park for F1 action

Another beautiful Melbourne day greeted an estimated 70,300 fans who came to watch the stars of Formula One take to the Albert Park circuit for the first time this season.

Hometown heroes Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo kicked-off practice alongside World Champions Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel ended up setting the pace ahead of his teammate Mark Webber as they showed their rivals a clean set of wings.

Second Practice: Vettel fastest, Hamilton halted, McLaren missing

Sebastian Vettel again topped free practice for Red Bull Renault as the second 90-minute session ended in a flurry of activity involving some of the biggest names in the field.

Vettel used Pirelli’s Supersoft (red) tyres, making their first appearance at Albert Park, to set a session-best time of 1:25.908 just over halfway through, paring 1.3 seconds off the time that put the World Champion top in the day’s opening free practice.

Coulthard’s perfect outing continues

Fabian Coulthard’s flawless MSS Security-backed V8 Supercars Challenge campaign at the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix has continued, with the Holden driver winning the second 12-lap race this afternoon to add to his success earlier today.

The only driver who proved to be of minor nuisance value for Coulthard was fellow-Holden driver Craig Lowndes, but the New Zealander dispensed with him on lap nine, and was then unchallenged to the finish.


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