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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2010 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - FRIDAY PRACTICE 1
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Friday Practice 1
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Albert Park
Albert Park © Sutton
01:15 Hello everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for this, the second round of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The teams and drivers are already clocking up the air miles as the flyaway events continue. Two weeks ago the campaign opened up in Bahrain but the race proved to be an anti-climax for many.

Now we move on to the wonderful Albert Park in Melbourne for the Qantas Australian Grand Prix, with everyone hoping for a better show this time around.

01:16 Today, we will guide you through the opening practice sessions with minute-by-minute commentary as the teams and drivers get their first runs on the 5.303 km parkland circuit.

First practice will begin shortly, with commentary ending 15 minutes after the session has concluded.

Later, at 05:15 GMT, we will return for live coverage of the second practice session. AUTOSPORT Live will wrap up the day with a weekend weather forecast, on the Australian Grand Prix weather page.

01:18 Ferrari is the team to beat going into the weekend, but it might have been different had Sebastian Vettel not suffered a spark plug failure while leading comfortably in Bahrain.

The Red Bull star dropped down fourth with the resultant loss of power from his Renault engine, handing the race on a plate to Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

Lewis Hamilton finished a fighting third and will be looking to build on his tally, while Mercedes will hope to find a bit more pace so that Schumacher and Rosberg can fight for victory.

The rest of the teams have work to do to stop the top four teams escaping into a battle of their own, and at the back of the field we can expect more fun and games as Lotus, Virgin and HRT look to build speed and hopefully enjoy some trouble-free track time.
World Championship standings, round 1:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso        25        1.  Ferrari                    43
 2.  Massa         18        2.  McLaren-Mercedes           21
 3.  Hamilton      15        3.  Mercedes                   18
 4.  Vettel        12        4.  Red Bull-Renault           16
 5.  Rosberg       10        5.  Force India-Mercedes        2
 6.  Schumacher     8        6.  Williams-Cosworth           1
 7.  Button         6       
 8.  Webber         4       
 9.  Liuzzi         2       
10.  Barrichello    1       
01:20 The weather has been fine this morning over the circuit and we start today's action with a dry track, plenty of sunshine and just a few clouds around.

As the day continues, more cloud will build from the west and there is a slight risk of showers towards the end of second practice. Light showers are expected later tonight, so hopefully today's running will be unaffected.

There will be a north-westerly breeze during practice, switching round to a south-westerly by the end of today. The top temperature should reach 28 degrees Celsius.

Jenson Button signs autographs for the fans
Jenson Button signs autographs for the fans in Melbourne © Sutton
01:21 AUTOSPORT forum members are invited to join the fun throughout the weekend, offering thoughts and opinions as the event unfolds.

Our questions to you for today are:

• Who will hit the ground running first this weekend at Albert Park? In Bahrain, McLaren looked good initially before Ferrari and Red Bull came on strong.

• Will Sauber's new F-duct system help push Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi into the top ten this weekend?

• Michael Schumacher used to own this place. He has four victories at Albert Park to his name - 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. How will he fare this weekend?

Tell everyone what you think.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you would like to join the debate.

Paul di Resta
Paul di Resta © Sutton
01:23 Some news in brief ahead of the first session:

• Force India tester Paul di Resta gets his first race weekend outing this morning when he takes over Adrian Sutil's car for the first free practice session. "Hopefully, this year we are going to gain a lot of experience and hopefully I can show the team that I am capable of being in a race car at some point in the near future," he explained.

• Changes to circuit since last year include a new combination kerb at the exit of Turn 9 while the kerbs and grass have been extended at Turns 2 and 12.

• Bruno Senna will use a new Cosworth engine in his HRT this weekend following his retirement from the Bahrain Grand Prix with overheating. Team-mate Karun Chandhok hopes that improved gearbox hydraulic systems will allow him more track time than his heavily-disrupted Bahrain debut.

• This is only the second time that Melbourne has not hosted the opening round of the season since its inception in 1996. 2006 was the other year when the event was moved due to a clash with the Commonwealth Games.

01:25 Opening practice for the Australian Grand Prix is now just five minutes away.

01:27 Local hero Mark Webber is strapped into the Red Bull Renault as he gets ready to come out when the session begins.

01:28 Bruno Senna is in the HRT entry and ready to roll as Hispania Racing looks to continue its development.

01:28 Lucas di Grassi is ready for action in his Virgin Racing machine.

01:30 Michael Schumacher isn't in a great rush as he arrives in the Mercedes garage.

0 min: The practice session is underway.

0 min: Jarno Trulli leads a train of cars out of the pits.

1 min: The Italian is joined by Liuzzi, Buemi, Vettel and debutant Paul di Resta.

1 min: Bruno Senna and Mark Webber exit the pits and join the track. Nico Hulkenberg is also on track as the installation laps begin.

2 min: The Lotus pair return to the garage as installation laps continue.

3 min: Tonio Liuzzi and Paul di Resta cross the start/finish line to begin a second checking lap. They are likely to return to the pits at the end of this tour.

3 min: Hamilton, Massa and Alonso are all on their first tour of the weekend.

3 min: Red Bull is also opting for a double installation lap. Vettel and Webber cross the line to continue checking the cars.

4 min: Jarno Trulli has stepped out of his Lotus as the team begin to check over the car.

4 min: Karun Chandhok is now getting his first experience of driving a Formula 1 car at Albert Park. The Indian returns to the pits without problem.

5 min: Championship leader Alonso tours back into the pitlane at the end of his installation lap.

5 min: The Force India and Red Bull machines are all back in after that two-lap installation process. The team engineers will now study the telemetry data to make sure that everything is functioning correctly.

6 min: Once the data has been looked at and the engineers are happy, they will inform the race engineer that he is good to go and proceed with the day's programme of tyre and set-up work.

7 min: The track falls silent as all but one of the drivers has been out for an installation lap. Michael Schumacher is the only man yet to run.

7 min: Being a street circuit, with a year of ordinary motoring since the last Formula 1 action, track conditions will be very poor in these early stages.

7 min: The tyre covers are taken off Schumacher's Mercedes and the German rolls out of the garage.

8 min: The Mercedes looks great in the Australian sunlight as Schumacher rounds the tricky Turns 3, 4 and 5 complex.

9 min: Schumacher has the track to himself as he checks over the car. As Vettel climbs out of his Red Bull, Schumacher returns to the pits.

11 min: Sebastien Buemi has walked over to the Toro Rosso pit gantry to chat with the engineers. Meantime, a healthy crowd is soaking up the atmosphere.

12 min: Felipe Massa has taken a seat at the back of the Ferrari garage as his mechanics check over the F10.

14 min: At Force India Paul di Resta gives a nervous smile as he watches over the mechanics who are fettling his car.

15 min: At the back of the Williams garage, Rubens Barrichello is chatting away with Patrick Head, with RBS ambassador Sir Jackie Stewart joining in.

16 min: Grip levels will continue to build throughout the day and the teams will struggle to get meaningful data on tyre wear until the track is properly rubbered in.

17 min: Karun Chandhok is strapped into the HRT F1, as he prepares for a first serious run of laps on the parkland circuit.

17 min: His team-mate Bruno Senna joins the track for a run of laps.

18 min: Senna is alone on the circuit and he will welcome this as he gets used to the 16-turn track.

18 min: Lewis Hamilton is chatting with team principal Martin Whitmarsh on the McLaren pitwall and seems to be in no hurry to resume his running.

18 min: Senna crosses the line and begins the first timed lap of the weekend.

20 min: The Brazilian rounds the final corner and puts the first time on the board - 1m39.329s.

21 min: Kamui Kobayashi is perched on the toolchest at the rear of the Sauber garage, waiting for his morning to resume.

21 min: Senna continues on for a second effort and is predictably finding time in the first sector. He will be looking to knock this time down below 1m35s pretty quickly.

22 min: Senna's second lap is a 1m37.989s as Jaime Alguersuari monitors his progress from the Toro Rosso pit wall.

24 min: Senna has lost time in the second sector on his third timed lap. He returns to the pits having gathered more data for the team.

25 min: Bridgestone is supplying the soft and hard compounds for this event. "We have moved our allocations a step harder for this season, which should mean tyre management is not as challenging as in 2009. Melbourne is very severe for graining and even bringing this harder allocation, competitors have to take care of tyre set-up," said director of motorsport tyre development, Hirohide Hamashima.

26 min: Lucas di Grassi is helped out of the Virgin garage and makes a practice start before heading out.

27 min: The other teams will be pleased to see another car running to begin cleaning the circuit in this slow start to first practice.

28 min: Di Grassi flashes over the line and begins a timed lap in the Virgin.

29 min: Flicking up the leaves from the circuit, the Brazillian is over two seconds slower than countryman Senna through the first sector.

30 min: Karun Chandhok joins Lucas di Grassi on the circuit.

30 min: A 1m43.581s is Di Grassi's first effort of the weekend.

31 min: Robert Kubica is monitoring progress from the Renault garage but seems in no hurry to get back on the circuit.

31 min: Chandhok completes that lap out of the pits and is now on his first timed effort of the event.

32 min: Di Grassi improves to a 1m40.581s but is still well off Senna's early benchmark.

33 min: Lewis Hamilton joins the early runners in his McLaren.

33 min: Chandhok is quickly up towards team-mate Senna's speed. He sets a quicker second sector time than the Brazilian and yes, he tops him with a 1m37.978s lap.

33 min: Senna is back out on track for a second run as Paul di Resta comes out in the Force India to continue his Formula 1 education.

34 min: Heikki Kovlaianen puts Lotus on top of the order for now with his first attempt of 1m36.810s.

34 min: Hamilton is now on to his first flying lap and is over two seconds quicker than former team-mate Kovlaianen through the first sector.

35 min: Chandhok completes a second flying lap but yields no improvement. He is now second to Kovalainen.

36 min: Almost four seconds up through the middle portion of the lap, the McLaren crosses the line in a 1m30.076s to put Hamilton comfortably on top

36 min: Nico Hulkenberg comes out for a first run in the Williams, as Chandhok improves to a 1m36.256s.

36 min: The gap is almost six seconds between Hamilton's first lap of the day and the best from Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus.

37 min: Both Mercedes drivers are now on the circuit. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are about to post their first laps of the weekend.

38 min: Paul di Resta shoots into second spot behind Hamilton with 1m33.765s.

39 min: Bruno Senna has improved his time but as yet hasn't surpassed team-mate Chandhok's mark. Senna is now ninth with 1m37.290s.

39 min: Kobayashi is now best of the rest in the Sauber, as Hamilton improves the leading time to a 1m28.680s.

40 min: Michael Schumacher slots into second spot on his first flying lap. 1m30.734s is two seconds slower than Hamilton's leading pace.

40 min: Kobayashi has clattered the front wing of the Sauber on the kerb and marker at the inside of turn 11.

40 min: The Japanese just managed to collect the moment over the gravel and heads back to the pits for repairs.

40 min: The session has been stopped.

41 min: Parts of Kobayashi's car remain on the circuit and the session has been halted to have the debris removed.

41 min: Schumacher now sets the timing monitor alight with the fastest first sector time of all. Oh this could prove interesting! Schumacher posts 1m28.629s under red flag conditions.

42 min: The German crossed the line with the fastest lap time of the session a good 20 seconds after the red flag was first displayed.

43 min: His time has been discounted on the official timing monitor so Hamilton still leads the standings with 1m28.680s.

43 min: Schumacher has now returned to the pits after that run. He was the last driver back into the lane.

44 min: Meanwhile, the debris is being cleared by marshals and the action will resume in less than a minute.

44 min: The session has restarted.

45 min: Mark Weber answers the call and is the first driver onto the circuit in the Red Bull Renault.

46 min: His team-mate Sebastian Vettel is also out there, as well as Williams driver Rubens Barrichello.

47 min: Webber begins his first flying lap of the weekend. Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg are also out there.

47 min: Jenson Button is out in the McLaren for his first flying laps of the weekend.

48 min: Sebastien Buemi comes out in the Toro Rosso as Webber breaks the beam with 1m32.331s to go fourth.

49 min: Webber is immediately demoted by team-mate Vettel who posts a 1m32.188s lap on his way to fifth. Webber is now sixth.

49 min: Robert Kubica springs up to second quickest with a 1m29.886s in the Renault.

50 min: Lewis Hamilton leads the standings with less than half the session remaining. His time is 1m28.680s. Rosberg is now second in the Mercedes with Webber improving to third, Kubica fourth and Barrichello fifth.

50 min: Jenson Button clocks a 1m29.541s in his McLaren to go third for the moment.

51 min: Sebastian Vettel usurps his team-mate once again and takes fourth from Webber with a lap of 1m29.737s.

51 min: Nico Rosberg now takes his place at the top of the list in the Mercedes with 1m28.357s.

52 min: Button is the fastest man through the all three sectors of his next lap and crosses the line in 1m27.798s to top the order.

52 min: Michael Schumacher is back out there in the sister Mercedes and it will be interesting to see if he can replicate his earlier quick pace.

53 min: Rosberg retakes the top spot with a lap of 1m27.659s.

53 min: Lewis Hamilton is back out and goes fractionally quicker than his team-mate but the McLaren pair are now behind Rosberg at the top of the times.

53 min: Fernando Alonso has slotted in sixth with his early efforts.

54 min: The top positions are changing all the time as the drivers get used to the current track conditions. Rosberg returns to the pits at the end of that short run.

54 min: Robert Kubica is back up to fourth quickest his Renault as Alonso battles traffic on his latest lap.

55 min: Button tops the times again as the times continue to tumble with the improving grip levels. 1m27.482s is now the time to beat.

56 min: Felipe Massa is now ninth quickest as he gets his programme underway.

56 min: Tonio Liuzzi has yet to post a time on the board. He does so now with 1m36.613s to go 19th quickest.

57 min: Schumacher improves his pace with 1m28.659s. He is now sixth fastest in the Mercedes.

57 min: Robert Kubica continues to set fastest sectors for Renault and is now second quickest - exactly a tenth slower than Button.

57 min: Jaime Alguersuari has run wide exiting the final corner onto the pit straight. He kicks up the dirt and dust, spreading some of it on the racing line and he continues at speed.

57 min: The session has been stopped.

58 min: Kobayashi has again caused the red flag with a heavy off in the Sauber.

59 min: There is debris all over the circuit after the front wing of the Sauber appeared to detach on the run down to Turn 3.

59 min: Kobayashi had just left the pits in the Sauber for another run of laps. Coming down to Turn 3 his front wing came off as he started braking for the tight right-hander.

60 min: The front wing then shattered to pieces, hitting one of the polystyrene braking marker boards. The wing had just been changed following his earlier incident at Turn 11 causing the first red flag.

61 min: The car came to rest quite safely as Kobayashi slowed everything down without causing any further damage. The car is now being removed from the Turn 3 run-off by the marshals.

62 min: The session will get back underway in less than a minute.

63 min: The session has restarted.

63 min: Sauber will be clearly concerned at this, a flyaway event, with limited spare nose cones and only 60 minutes of the weekend having been completed.

64 min: Lucas di Grassi is heading out to get the action back underway.

65 min: Rubens Barrichello joins di Grassi on the circuit, as the drivers look to complete the remaining 24 minutes of the session without further incident.

65 min: Overhead, quite a bit of cloud is building, as expected by the forecast. There is a stiff breeze blowing in the changing weather.

65 min: Sebastian Vettel comes out in the Red Bull. HRT drivers Senna and Chandhok are also on track, as is Jaime Alguersuari.

66 min: With just over 20 minutes remaining, it should be quite a busy conclusion to the session as the drivers will want to get the best out of the set of tyres they must hand back.

68 min: Jarno Trulli is heading around to set a time after a troubled session so far in the Lotus.

68 min: Bruno Senna improves from 24th position to 23rd with a time of 1m35.964s. He is now 8.4s off the leading pace, set by Button.

70 min: With the drivers remaining on their used set of the harder tyres for some longer runs, there may be limited changes to the order to come.

70 min: Karun Chandhok improves with a solid lap of 1m34.841s to 21st place in the second HRT entry.

71 min: Rubens Barrichello is 13th, but set to move up the order in the Williams. He crosses the line and posts 1m29.712s. It is his quickest of the session but he stays down in 13th.

71 min: Kobayashi is watching the action from the Sauber garage as his team try to get to the bottom of that worrying wing failure.

72 min: Jarno Trulli has been off track in the penultimate corner, taking to the grass in his Lotus. He has, however, clocked a time of 1m33.799s.

72 min: Jenson Button leads the standings with 1m27.482s at the moment. Kubica is second, with Rosberg third, Hamilton fourth, Vettel fifth and Schumacher in sixth place.

73 min: Robert Kubica is fastest through the final sector to top the order with a 1m27.327s for Renault.

74 min: Replays show a spin for Heikki Kovalainen in his Lotus at the Turn 9 chicane. The Finn is back underway after a quick spin turn.

74 min: Sebastien Buemi moves up a place from 12th to 11th with his latest lap - 1m28.832s.

75 min: Karun Chandhok gets his braking all wrong for Turn 3 in the HRT. He does well to keep it together and just stay on the track. The India is now 23rd in the standings, three-tenths of a second behind team-mate Senna.

76 min: Kubica is on another quick tour and is fastest through the first and second sector.

76 min: Sebastien Buemi improves for the second lap on the trot and goes sixth in the Toro Rosso with 1m28.294s.

76 min: Despite traffic in the form of Chandhok's HRT, Kubica is back on top in 1m26.927s.

76 min: Chandhok has recovered from his late-braking Turn 3 moment well enough to post 1m34.345s on his next lap. He improves to 22nd place.

77 min: The McLaren pair of Button and Hamilton are lapping again.

78 min: Pedro de la Rosa has pulled to a halt out of Turn 4.

78 min: Paul di Resta has made a solid start to his Formula 1 career with 13th place so far n the Force India. His latest lap - 1m28.797s - is his quickest of the session so far.

78 min: This looks like some kind of technical failure for the Sauber.

79 min: Yellow flags are being shown as de la Rosa is wheeled back behind the wall.

80 min: Robert Kubica is the surprise leader of the classification at the moment, with a time of 1m26.927s. Nico Rosberg is second with Button third, Hamilton fourth, Vettel fifth and Buemi in sixth.

80 min: With the track now clear, fast laps can resume.

81 min: Felipe Massa improves to sixth with a 1m28.058s.

81 min: The Toro Rosso drivers are on the move and setting personal best sector times. Buemi is now seventh with team-mate Alguersuari improving to ninth spot with 1m28.572s.

82 min: Buemi retakes sixth place from Massa with a time of 1m28.014s as his pace improves.

83 min: Bruno Senna has found a full second on this current run. He is up to 21st place with a lap of 1m33.401s - 6.474s off the leading pace.

83 min: The hefty new 'combination' kerb is proving tricky for the drivers at Turn 9, being a factor for recent spins by Kovalainen and Petrov.

84 min: Massa continues to improve in the Ferrari with a 1m27.868s.

84 min: Karun Chandhok reports on the team radio that the circuit is picking up grip all the time. He is feeling more and more happy with the improvement in speed on each run.

85 min: Most of the drivers are on track to put some final laps on the set of tyres they must hand back after this session.

85 min: Bruno Senna runs wide as he attacks Turn 15. He sails onto the grass but does no damage to the HRT. He has stayed out to continue the run.

87 min: This busy end to the session is good news for grip levels on the circuit as more and more rubber goes down on the asphalt.

88 min: Alonso is working hard at the wheel of his Ferrari and is now seventh quickest with a 1m27.919s.

88 min: Timo Glock is propping up the order in this session with his Virgin machine undergoing repairs in the garage after only eight laps today.

89 min: Paul di Resta is 14th in the Force India. He was on for an improvement on his latest tour but backed off towards the end so he could get some clear space for a final effort.

90 min: The session has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

03:01 Karun Chandhok found one tenth of a second on his way to 1m34.251s on his final effort. He ends the session in 23rd position.

03:01 A late 1m28.114s puts Petrov ninth in his Renault.

03:02 Heikki Kovalainen has pulled off the track at Turn 4 in the Lotus with clearly some kind of technical problem. He finishes the session in 20th place.

03:03 Robert Kubica tops the first session of [practice at Albert Park. His time was 1m26.927s. Nico Rosberg was second for Mercedes.

03:04 Jenson Button was third in the McLaren ahead of Massa fourth, Vettel fifth and championship leader Alonso in sixth.

03:05 Lewis Hamilton ended the session in seventh spot with Michael Schumacher 12th and local hero Mark Webber in 14th place.

03:07 The teams have just under two-and-a-half hours to study the data, debrief and make changes to find more performance for the second session.

03:08 Here is our round-up of a busy first session at Albert Park:

Kubica fastest in first Melbourne practice

03:11 Australia has certainly delivered excitement as the cars took to the track for the first session.

Kamui Kobayashi made the session his own with two unfortunate incidents in the Sauber, while Michael Schumacher raised many an eyebrow when he kept his foot in under red flag conditions.

Robert Kubica put Renault on top, but can he stay there? Join us for live coverage of the second practice from 05:15 GMT.

  OVERVIEW PRACTICE ONE  
Session length: 90 minutes
  CURRENT WEATHER
Mainly cloudy High Temp: 28°C / 82°F
Track: Dry
  INFOBOX
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  LIVE COVERAGE NAVIGATOR
Monday 22 Mar Start GMT
 Australian Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 26 Mar
 Friday Practice 1 01:15
 Friday Practice 2 05:15
Saturday 27 Mar
 Saturday Practice 02:45
 Qualifying 05:45
Sunday 28 Mar
 Race day at Albert Park 04:30