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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

Hart scores Formula Ford breakthrough

Mathew Hart has joined the illustrious list of race winners in the Australian Formula Ford Championship, taking out Race 2 at the 2012 Formula 1 QANTAS Australian Grand Prix.

The Synergy Motorsport driver qualified on pole position on Thursday and finished second in Friday’s opening race, but went one better in a Safety Car-affected second race.

Hart was part of a three-car battle at the head of the field, fighting for top spot with Race 1 victor Jack LeBrocq and Garry Jacobson.

Maria de Villota has a dream.

Standing at the back of the Marussia F1 team's garage, dressed in racing overalls and hooked into their communications system, she is trying to make that dream reality.

The noise is deafening. The engines rev, but her ears are protected by the 'bins' that feed her all the information passing between drivers and engineers.

For this serious, hazel-eyed 32-year-old Spaniard, there is no satisfaction in landing a role as test driver and possible reserve for German Timo Glock or Frenchman Charles Pic, himself a rookie.

No flies on JEV

Is Daniel Ricciardo the natural successor to fellow-Aussie Mark Webber in the most prized seat in Formula 1 – at Red Bull Racing?
One man with the potential to scupper those plans is Ricciardo’s own current team-mate, French rookie, 21-year-old Jean-Eric Vergne. ‘JEV’ has a motorsport CV that closely mirrors Ricciardo’s.

Like the West Australian, Vergne is a British Formula 3 champion, and like Ricciardo, he’s been brought to Formula One through Red Bull’s Driver Academy run by former racer and motorsport consultant Dr Helmut Marko.

How your team fared - Friday

Ferrari

Result:

FP1 – Alonso P4, Massa P18

FP2 – Alonso P4, Massa P7

Report:

Alonso gave us a wet-weather master-class at various times during the day, the highlight a pulse-quickening moment out of Turn 16 on his final flying lap in the first session; meanwhile Massa, under pressure in 2011, didn’t help his cause with an off at Turn 9, mistiming his braking and putting two wheels on the grass, that beached him in the gravel trap.

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.

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