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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

F1 Practice 2: Schumacher’s late show

Michael Schumacher has topped the timesheets for only the second time in a Formula One session in his comeback for Mercedes after a frantic finish to second practice for the Qantas Australian Grand Prix on Friday afternoon.

The seven-time world champion left it to his 16th and final lap of the session after the chequered flag had fallen to set his benchmark time of 1min 29.183secs, which edged compatriot Nico Hulkenberg of Force India by 0.109secs.

V8s remembering Richards

Garth Tander could become the most successful V8 Supercar driver at Albert Park during the 2012 Formula 1 QANTAS Australian Grand Prix, but any success during the MSS Security V8 Challenge would struggle to dislodge his memories of the 2011 event.

The Toll Holden Racing Team driver has scored seven race wins in non-championship races at the venue to sit one behind Russell Ingall, who drives for sister outfit Supercheap Auto Racing, on the all-time tally.

Tander’s last win here came in the 2011 event, in a genuine highlight of the V8 Supercar era.

Winterbottom maintains perfect record

Mark Winterbottom nipped past fellow Ford driver Shane van Gisbergen on the final lap to win the second race on the MSS Security V8 Supercar program at the 2012 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

The Ford Performance Racing driver edged out van Gisbergen by just 0.5912 seconds at the flag, with long-time leader Will Davison (Trading Post) making it a clean sweep for Falcon.

F1 Practice 1: Button leads McLaren 1-2

Jenson Button led a McLaren 1-2 in opening practice for the Qantas Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on Friday afternoon.

The 2009 world champion, winner in Melbourne in 2009 and 2010, produced a searing late run in the final 10 minutes of the 90-minute session to top the timesheets with a lap of 1min 27.560secs.

Button’s teammate Lewis Hamilton was second, 0.245secs behind his compatriot, while Michael Schumacher led for a significant portion of the session before finishing third for Mercedes, six-tenths of a second slower than Button.

Winterbottom wins V8 opener

Mark Winterbottom has won the first of four races in the MSS Security V8 Supercar Challenge at the 2012 Formula 1 QANTAS Australian Grand Prix.

The Ford Performance Racing driver took out the 11-lap qualifying race, which featured a unique format, with the bottom three cars at the end of each lap between Laps 3 and 8 eliminated from the field.

Baird strikes first blow in Carrera Cup

Battle-hardened New Zealander Craig Baird has led all the way to win the opening Carrera Cup race at the 2012 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Despite being stalked most of the journey by polesitter Jonny Reid, Baird didn’t hit the panic button once as he completed the 10-lapper with 0.6268 seconds to spare, while current championship leader Alex Davison finished in a strong third position.

Baird has now won three Carrera Cup races in a row at Albert Park, after also tasting success in the last two events of 2011.

Wishing and hoping

Call it a sign of the times.

World champion Sebastian Vettel struggled to push through a media throng for a hit and giggle on St Kilda beach; 24 hours later, the man who inspired the Red Bull driver’s assault on the Formula One record books drew a crowd in single figures.

Looking every inch the man who ruled the sport imperiously in the early 2000s, Michael Schumacher chatted to media in the Albert Park paddock on the eve of his 18th full Formula One season.

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