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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

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.

Team Chiefs Happy with Opening Day

McLaren-Mercedes team chief Martin Whitmarsh was happy but realistic on Friday after seeing his drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton top the times in second free practice for Sunday’s season-opening Qantas Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

“We have had a very solid, but very encouraging day, but it is only a Friday,” he said. “And there are no points won yet – and we have not yet seen the best of Red Bull. But we are happy and we hope to score some decent points on Sunday.”

Dywer races to pole in F5000

UK driver Mark Dwyer has seized pole position in the F5000 open-wheeler class at the 2011 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix.

In the 20-minute qualifying session at Albert Park, Dywer quickly got down to business in his Lola T400 and set his best lap of 1min 58.3670secs early on, a benchmark which his competitors failed to eclipse in the final, frenetic minutes.

Richards starring in Albert Park cameo

Jason Richards has a spring in his step, and he can thank his Commodore V8 Supercar for the ebullience.

The 34-year-old New Zealander, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in November last year, is making a cameo appearance in the V8 Supercar program at the Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix, and his form in the Team BOC Commodore has been nothing short of irresistible.

Richards will start from grid position five in this evening’s race one of the V8 Supercars Albert Park 400, which has left him gobsmacked.

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