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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2010 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - RACE DAY AT ALBERT PARK
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Race day at Albert Park
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Albert Park
Display at Albert Park © Sutton
04:30 Hello and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for the second round of the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

A less-than-thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago could soon be forgotten as the fast cars hit Albert Park for the 15th time.

The race itself begins at 06:00 GMT, but before then we will set the scene by reviewing yesterday's action from an interesting qualifying session, update you on today's weather conditions and support card activity, and focus on some of the major talking points so far this weekend.

04:33 Overnight showers served as a warning for today's race. This morning, conditions dawned overcast but dry. However, a couple of light showers have already passed over the circuit in the last few hours.

Track conditions have switched back and forth from dry to greasy and back again. The local weather radar suggests that more rain could be on the way, keeping the team meteorologists on their toes.

It is much warmer today as a strong breeze blows from the north-west. Conditions will certainly be tricky for the drivers - even if no further rain falls. The maximum temperature is up at 29 degrees Celsius.

Sebastian Vettel flies to pole
Sebastian Vettel flies to pole © Sutton
04:35 Sebastian Vettel spoiled the Australian party yesterday with a stunning hot lap in qualifying to snatch pole position away from Mark Webber's fingertips.

The first phase of qualifying these days is a question of who will be the unlucky loser to join the six drivers from the three new teams on the sidelines. This time it was Vitaly Petrov who initially lacked pace and then pushed too hard knowing he was under pressure to improve his lap time.

Q2 is where the real action tends to be. With four teams looking strong at the front, all it needs is for a couple of drivers to go for it in phase two for a big scalp to end up on the wrong side of the divide. Lewis Hamilton was the man to suffer yesterday. He aborted his first effort because of traffic and pitted for another set of tyres. But he was out of phase with the rest of the rest, and gave his best too early. He slipped from seventh to 11th, joining Buemi, Liuzzi, de la Rosa, Hulkenberg, Kobayashi and Alguersuari.

The fastest ten went on to the shootout with Red Bull out to dominate. Webber challenged Vettel hard but the German managed to edge out an extra tenth of a second with a great 1m23.919s lap to grab pole ahead of his team-mate, with Alonso third, Button fourth, Massa fifth, Rosberg sixth and Michael Schumacher in seventh spot. Barrichello, Kubica and Sutil rounded out the top ten.

Vettel heads all-Red Bull front row

04:40 The supporting card at the Australian Grand Prix is always packed with entertainment and on-track action.

This afternoon we have already seen the Formula 5000 cars rolling back the years to a golden era in Australian motorsport.

That was followed by the second Formula Ford race of the weekend. Chaz Mostert dominated Saturday's eight lap race and the Queenslander got a flyer at the start today in race two. However the race was short-lived when Caleb Rayner crashed heavily approaching Turn 3.

The race was stopped after just two laps as medical crews attended to Rayner, who was later taken to hospital for observation. Mostert was leading when the crash occurred.

Saturday's Australian GT race was red-flagged prior to Formula 1 qualifying after a huge first-lap shunt approaching Turn 1. Today's eight lap race was also curtailed following another shunt - this time at Turn 10.

Former V8 Supercar star John Bowe pulled to the side of the track with technical problems in his Ascari KZ1, but unfortunately was smashed into by another car. Debris and fluids were strewn all over the circuit on the quick lakeside section, bringing an immediate end to the race.

Fans at Albert park
Fans at Albert park © Sutton
04:45 Motor racing enthusiasts love to debate and discuss the action on track, and the live forum at the bottom of the screen is your chance to let everyone know your thoughts on events as they unfold at the circuit.

• Can Mark Webber win his home race and give the Albert Park crowd its greatest day in 15 years?

• Do you want to see a wet or dry race today?

• How will Lewis Hamilton fare starting from 11th place? At the first corner he will be in the middle of a huge traffic jam.

• Who will come out on top in the new teams battle? Lotus took the honours in Bahrain getting both cars to the end of the race.

Tell the world what you think.

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

04:50 No real change to the weather situation over Albert Park in the last few minutes. It remains heavily overcast with a strong breeze blowing.

The rainfall radar is updating the situation continually. Latest indications are that the main band of rain to the west will slide south-east into the ocean, but the current area to watch is the pocket of smaller showers directly to the north-west.

We will continue to monitor how the main band moves between now and the start of the grand prix.

04:55 Here is how the grid will line up this afternoon:
Pos  Driver         Team
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault
 2.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault
 3.  Alonso         Ferrari
 4.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes
 5.  Massa          Ferrari
 6.  Rosberg        Mercedes
 7.  Schumacher     Mercedes
 8.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth
 9.  Kubica         Renault
10.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes
11.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes
12.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari
13.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes
14.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari
15.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth
16.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari
17.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18.  Petrov         Renault
19.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth
20.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth
21.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth *
22.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth *
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth 
24.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth 
* Pit lane start
05:00 Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock will start from the pitlane for the Australian Grand Prix after Virgin Racing replaced fuel collectors on both cars and made modifications to the set-up of the suspension.

Timo Glock was already facing a five-place grid penalty after the team was forced to open up his gearbox.

The pitlane start will at least allow both cars to begin the race with full fuel tanks after avoiding the run to the grid and the formation lap.

Pitlane start for Virgin drivers

05:05 The V8 Supercars kept a packed Melbourne crowd entertained for the third time this weekend.

Jamie Whincup took the lead at a chaotic start, but slowed dramatically, handing the top spot to Garth Tander on a plate, just as the safety car was deployed to recover the crashed car belonging to Tony Ricciardello.

Race one winner James Courtney then spent two laps dropping oil on the racing line as he challenged Tander for the lead. The oil leak proved terminal and Courtney was forced to retire - no doubt much to the delight of the Formula 1 drivers who will have been monitoring track conditions closely. Tander eventually romped home to his second victory this weekend.

The final piece of the pre-race jigsaw was completed when the drivers appeared on track for the traditional parade. Each driver had his own open-top car to wave to the spectators from, with the leading car being occupied by Qantas ambassador John Travolta.

Cars leave the pits
A busy and tight pitlane © Sutton
05:10 Strategy for the Australian Grand Prix was looking quite straightforward before the chance of showers added another factor for the teams to worry about. The unusual 60 km/h pitlane speed limit and Bridgestone's supply of relatively durable tyres means one stop is the clearly the favoured way to complete a dry race here.

Both tyre compounds look capable of lengthy stints, so even the front runners, forced onto the softer rubber for one-lap pace in Q3, could potentially run longer than in Bahrain to their stops - despite punishing the option tyres when the car is at its heaviest.

"I think the weather and the safety cars will be the spectacle tomorrow, to be honest," said Ross Brawn after qualifying yesterday. "And I think the start will be very important..."

The high chance of safety car intervention is the big worry for strategists, which would trigger a scramble to the pits to make the mandatory switch to the alternate dry tyre compound. A very early safety car might see only a few drivers gamble on a tyre change, with a chaotic pitlane rush only likely if the race is neutralised a few laps after the start.

Now, however, all eyes are on the skies as rain continues to threaten the circuit. If wet tyres are used, the need to run both dry tyre compounds is removed.

Wet strategy is all about being on the right tyres for the conditions and - without the need to refuel - drivers can simply keep going until they need a change of rubber.

Heikki Kovalainen
Heikki Kovalainen © Sutton
05:15 Heikki Kovalainen could be one to watch in the pack at the start of today's race. The Finn, driving for Lotus Racing this season, qualified 19th and the best of the new team drivers.

He looked cheerful after qualifying, and stated his clear intentions for the first lap of the race. "If I have a chance to attack at the start tomorrow, I'll have a go," he told AUTOSPORT.

"There are a few cars ahead of me that if I can get a good start I'll try to get ahead of - and then I'll fight if possible.

If the Lotus does come out of Turns 1 and 2 with no damage, then expect an exciting early battle in the middle of the pack as other drivers try to overtake.

Kovalainen aims to get among midfield

05:20 Beyond the circuit to the north and west, the band of rain and showers continue to add to the suspense ahead of the race start.

The rainfall radar shows the large band of rain holding position to the west, with only minimal movement since we last spoke about it.

Shower activity to the north-west is building and Albert Park remains in the potential firing line - particularly the shower closest to Melbourne that is shaded green, representing moderate rain.

05:24 Mike Gascoyne of Lotus relays his latest forecast: "Rain predicted in 20mins, duration for 20mins so looks like a wet start"

05:27 A huge and passionate crowd is on hand again at Albert Park. Organisers estimated 82,000 fans watched qualifying yesterday, with the circuit expected to be at full capacity this afternoon.

05:30 The pits are now open for the drivers to head around to the grid.

Now that there is no need to conserve fuel, some may pass through the pits and make a further reconnaissance lap to check out the tricky track conditions.

05:31 The pitlane is immediately busy as cars head out straight away.

05:32 Alonso in the Ferrari was struggling to make the turn out of the garage, causing a temporary traffic jam.

05:32 There are heavy black clouds overhead as the first cars stream around the back of the circuit.

05:33 Felipe Massa tours around to the grid with the softer tyres on his Ferrrari.

05:34 Home hero Mark Webber pulls out of the Red Bull garage and heads to second on the grid.

05:34 Polesitter Sebastian Vettel is also on his run to the grid.

05:36 Mike Gascoyne's latest forecast: "rain now predicted 10mins before start and light, could be an interesting 30mins"

05:36 The Ferrari pair are opting for a run through the pits and an additional lap to the grid.

05:37 Vitaly Petrov briefly ran wide onto the grass exiting Turn 13 on his lap to the grid. He continued round without problem.

05:37 Virgin chairman Richard Branson is on the grid. Unfortunately, his team's cars will be starting from the pitlane.

05:39 You can keep track of the showers that Mike Gascoyne and the rest of the teams are concerned about here, via the close range rainfall radar.

05:39 The Ferraris finally take to the grid after a third reconnaissance lap.

05:40 The track temperature is 28 Celsius under heavily overcast skies.

"We'll see how it goes for the first 150 metres off the line. Whoever gets the start [between us] will probably get the lead into Turn 1."
Mark Webber, Red Bull speaking to ONE HD

05:42 Threatening clouds continue to build overhead, but it remains dry for the moment down on the grid.

05:43 Rain is now falling moderately over Albert Park lake.

05:44 The rain is progressing rapidly across the circuit and is now falling on the grid.

05:44 The fans scramble for umbrellas and coats in the stands as light rain continues to strike the circuit.

05:45 The pits are now closed. 24 cars are down there with the two Virgin starting from the pitlane, but now we see Jarno Trulli's car being pushed off the grid.

05:46 This will send teams into a scramble to decide on tyre strategy for the start. At the moment, it remains dry enough for slicks.

05:46 Shots of Albert Park lake show moderate rain still falling.

05:46 Trulli's Lotus is now back into the garage and the team will quickly try to remedy the problem with just 13 minutes to go.

05:48 Lotus have a sensor problem with the car of Jarno Trulli. The team are working to sort it out quickly.

05:48 Rain continues to dampen Albert Park, setting up a potentially fascinating start to the Grand Prix.

05:50 The Australian national anthem proudly rings out over Albert Park. Today it is performed by Australian-Italian Gabriella Climi, who was launched to international stardom with her 2009 hit 'Sweet About Me'.

05:50 The rain continues to make the track damp and it is beginning to look to a tricky surface for slick rubber.

05:52 A Qantas A380 now flies over Albert Park. There are now just eight minutes to go.

05:53 The teams have until three minutes before the formation lap to make a call on a gamble with slick rubber or the intermediate tyres.

05:54 Michael Schumacher is informed over the Mercedes team radio that there will be 15 minutes of rain to come.

05:55 There are five minutes to go until the start of the formation lap at Albert Park.

05:55 The safety car leaves its position at the front of the grid, signaling that we will see a normal start to the race today.

05:56 Intermediates look like the sensible choice, with further rain approaching the circuit - although the track remains only damp at present.

05:56 With light rain still falling, the track is 24 Celsius in a 26 degree ambient.

05:57 The dry tyre rules of using both compounds will not apply if wet tyres become involved, as looks likely.

05:58 The drivers will now encounter a nightmare when they head off on the formation lap. When they drove round to the grid 25 minutes ago it was bone dry Now they will need to gauge grip levels in just one lap before the start.

05:58 Polesitter Vettel is going for intermediate tyres.

05:59 The track has been declared wet as light rain continues to fall.

05:59 Engines fire with a minute to go before the formation lap.

06:00 The formation lap begins. Sebastian Vettel leads the field away from the grid.

06:00 Intermediates are the choice of the field to tackle this damp track.

06:01 All 21 cars leave the grid without problem. Virgin drivers Glock and di Grassi will start from the pits, as will Jarno Trulli.

06:01 Vettel leads the field round the back of the circuit as the formation lap continues. The drivers are quickly finding that the grip level is low.

06:02 The big question will now be where to brake for Turn 1 when the race gets underway. This will be a cracking start.

06:02 The track is only damp and the intermediate rubber could be quickly used up if further rain doesn't arrive.

06:02 Vettel rounds Turn 16 and leads the pack onto the pit straight.

06:03 The front row drivers are in position. The field is neatly forming up behind them.

We await the lights ...

Lap 1: The five red lights go out and we are racing in Australia!

Lap 1: Immediately Vettel is away well but Webber is under pressure from Massa.

Lap 1: Around to the back of the circuit it is Vettel from Massa and Webber after a chaotic start.

Lap 1: Kubica is up sensationally to fourth from Rosberg and Schumacher, who has a damaged car.

Lap 1: Alonso has spun at Turn 1 and is down in 22nd position.

Lap 2: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 2: Several cars are off at Turn 6.

Lap 2: Michael Schumacher is touring with front wing damage and he is advised to come into the pits by the team.

Lap 2: Schumacher's front wing is grinding along the circuit and he will need a new front wing.

Lap 2: Fernando Alonso was the big loser off the start as he spun and fell down the order. Disaster for the championship leader.

Lap 2: Buemi, Hulkenberg and Kobayashi were all involved in that incident at Turn 6. Schumacher is in and out of the pits with a new front wing.

Lap 2: The order is Vettel from Massa, Webber, Kubica, Rosberg, Button, Hamilton and Sutil.

Lap 2: Replays show three cars - Button, Alonso and Schumacher collided in the first corner, with the McLaren spinning the Ferrari into the Mercedes.

Lap 2: Alonso is up to 18th place as the field continues under the control of the safety car.

Lap 2: There is sure to be some interest in that clash between three world champions.

Lap 2: Jarno Trulli has failed to start the race after a hydraulic pump failure on the Lotus.

Lap 2: The crash at Turn 6 was huge, as Kamui Kobayashi lost his front wing against the back of Buemi's Toro Rosso. The Sauber then speared across the Turn 6 apex, smashing into the side of Hulkenberg very heavily.

Lap 3: Lewis Hamilton made a solid start, benefitting from the Alonso incident with Button and Schumacher. Lewis is seventh at the moment.

Lap 3: Track conditions are only lightly damp and this will quickly ruin the intermediate rubber.

Lap 4: The safety car will pit at the end of this lap.

Lap 4: Behind Hamilton, Sutil is eighth with Barrichello ninth, Petrov tenth, de la Rosa 11th, Liuzzi 12th, Alguersuari 13th and Senna 14th.

Lap 4: The order is Vettel from Massa, Webber, Kubica, Rosberg, Button heading to the restart.

Lap 4: Alonso will take the restart from 18th place with a lot of work to do.

Lap 5: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 5: Vettel is away and gets the jump on Massa but Kubica is all over Mark Webber.

Lap 5: Webber fights back around the outside and just holds off the Renault to stay third.

Lap 5: Vettel and Massa are clear in one-two as the pack scraps behind Webber.

Lap 5: Michael Schumacher is past di Grassi and up to 19th place.

Lap 6: Bruno Senna has stopped out on the circuit. The Brazilian would appear to be out of the race.

Lap 6: Vettel leads by 1.1 seconds over Massa.

Lap 6: Hamilton fancies a move on team-mate Button and he's through with a bold move at Turn 3.

Lap 7: Massa is slow for some reason and Mark Webber steams through in the Red Bull, dropping Massa to third.

Lap 7: Schumacher certainly did not have it easy with the Virgin of di Grassi. Having got past, he would have been surprised to see the Virgin slicing back up the inside at Turn 13.

Schumacher then drilled the Virgin on the pit straight and runs in 17th place.

Lap 7: Button gambles on pitting for slicks!

Lap 7: Button is down and away on a brave move to slick rubber.

Lap 7: Up front it is Vettel from Webber, Massa, Kubica, Rosberg and Hamilton.

Lap 7: Jarno Trulli never got away at the start of the race following that sensor problem. Button rejoins in 19th place and is off the track at Turn 3!

Lap 7: Button is straight off the road at Turn 3 as he finds out it is too wet for his risky gamble.

Lap 8: Vettel is told on the radio that more rain is expected as he leads by 1.2 seconds over team-mate Webber.

Lap 8: Meantime, Alonso is the fastest man on track as he climbs through the field. The Spaniard is now 13th and chasing Alguersuari.

Lap 8: The track continues to dry quickly.

Lap 8: Button is the quickest of all through sectors two and three. He is 19th and about to close up and pass Karun Chandhok.

Lap 8: Button's pace is good, indicating dry tyres is the way to go very soon.

Lap 9: Hamilton's pace is poor, falling back from Rosberg.

Lap 9: All but the Red Bulls dive for the pits.

Lap 9: Liuzzi, Algusuari and Sutil have gone through.

Lap 9: With most of the field in for tyres, the order at the top is Vettel from Webber and Liuzzi an amazing third with Alguersuari fourth.

Lap 9: It's a mighty scramble for fresh rubber.

Lap 10: The Red Bull pair continue to lead but will surely pit this time.

Lap 10: Vettel pits - but Webber doesn't. This could be costly for the Australian!

Lap 10: Vettel resumes ahead of Button and Kubica.

Lap 10: Lucas di Grassi did not pit for tyres. He is the only driver down the order yet to come in.

Lap 10: With Red Bull unwilling to stack the stops, Webber is losing out badly on his worn intermediates.

Lap 10: Vitaly Petrov has spun away his 14th place into the gravel. The Russian is out of the race.

Lap 11: Timo Glock is in and out of the pits for dry tyres. He resumes at the back of the field in 19th.

Lap 11: Webber pits from the lead, handing a lead to the yet-to-pit Sutil.

Lap 11: Webber resumes well down the queue of cars and he drops behind Massa into the first corner.

Lap 11: The order is Vettel from Button, Kubica, Rosberg, Massa and Webber.

Lap 11: Lewis Hamilton is the fastest with a lap of 1m33.039s. He is eighth after that rush of stops for dry tyres.

Lap 12: Adrian Sutil has come into the pits with a problem. He will soon go one lap down.

Lap 12: The McLarens are finding good pace at this stage with Button harrying Vettel and Hamilton now hot on the case of Webber's Red Bull.

Lap 13: It is a new fastest lap from Vettel as he pulls 1.7 seconds clear of Button. Kubica is a further two seconds behind in third.

Lap 13: Rubens Barrichello is now eighth after being passed a short time ago by Hamilton with de la Rosa ninth and Alonso slicing through the field in tenth.

Lap 13: Liuzzi is 11th ahead of Alguersuari 12th and Schumacher is up to 13th place.

Lap 13: Alonso dives up the inside of de la Rosa at Turn 9 and takes over ninth place.

Lap 14: Vettel cements his advantage with a 1m31.856s, pulling to 2.4 seconds up on Button.

Lap 14: The teams fitted softer slick tyres during that pitlane scramble and could run for the rest of the way unless more rain arrives.

Lap 14: Schumacher is all over the gearbox of Alguersuari, as Sutil climbs out of the Force India and retires. 17 runners left in the race.

Lap 14: Light spots of rain are falling once again but should not last long, as Alonso passes Barrichello for eighth.

Lap 15: Alonso now has six seconds to make up. His next target is Hamilton.

Lap 15: A great scrap developing here with Massa fifth, Webber sixth and Hamilton seventh all nose to tail.

Lap 15: Alonso is now free to close on this pack, setting up the prospect of a fascinating battle.

Lap 15: Webber is right on Massa after they streak past di Grassi's Virgin ...

Lap 16: Webber is through and past Massa as the Brazilian fumbles Turn 1. Hamilton comes through as well!

Lap 16: Hamilton and Webber fight on to Turn 3 and they are wheel to wheel ...

Lap 16: Webber is off into the gravel, Hamilton is through and Massa follows on.

Lap 16: Barrichello in ninth is coming under attack from de la Rosa. Liuzzi is 11th and catching the pair of them. Alguersuari is 12th and Schumacher is tight up behind him.

Lap 16: A fascinating piece of racing but Webber is badly compromised having out-braked himself and gone straight on into the gravel trap.

Lap 16: The order, then, is Vettel from Button, Kubica, Rosberg, Massa, Hamilton and Alonso.

Lap 16: Webber has recovered from the Turn 3 gravel and is now eighth.

Lap 17: Karun Chandhok in 16th skates off the road at Turn 1 and drives through the gravel trap. He makes it back onto the track.

Lap 17: Hamilton appears to have survived the clash with Webber and is all over the gearbox of Massa's Ferrari.

Lap 17: Schumacher is struggling with a very wide Jaime Alguersuari as the battle for 12th place continues.

Lap 17: Webber sets the fastest lap as he looks to bounce back from that clash with Hamilton. He's 2.3 seconds behind Alonso in eighth.

Lap 18: Hamilton is right with Massa's Ferrari as a fascinating race continues. Alonso is catching this pair rapidly.

Lap 18: Tonio Liuzzi in 11th has caught de la Rosa's Sauber. Alguersuari and Schumacher are homing in on these two.

Lap 19: Up front, Vettel has pulled out a comfortable 4.1 second lead over Button. Kubica is a great third for Renault, another 3.1 seconds down.

Lap 19: Rosberg, fourth, is told on the radio no more rain is expected and he needs to push on to keep clear of the battle behind him.

Lap 19: Chandhok is 16th and running eight seconds per lap slower than di Grassi. The gap is 9.5 seconds and di Grassi should take the place soon.

Lap 19: There is some evidence of right rear graining on Massa's Ferrari as Hamilton continues to harry him.

Lap 21: Hamilton is plotting a move on Massa as Alonso continues to close - as does Webber.

Lap 21: The Alguersuari-Schumacher pair have now caught up to the de la Rosa versus Liuzzi fight. A four car scrap for tenth place now going on.

Lap 21: Massa has a huge slide and surely Hamilton will move ...

Lap 21: Down the inside at Turn 1 and Hamilton takes fifth.

Lap 22: Hamilton has to defend in Turn 3, Alonso is slowed and Webber takes him!

Lap 22: Behind this amazing action Barrichello is all alone in ninth, then it's the other four car battle for tenth with de la Rosa leading Liuzzi, Alguersuari and Schumacher.

Lap 22: More brilliant racing in Australia with the order shuffled to Vettel, Button, Kubica, Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Webber and Alonso.

Lap 22: Hamilton has pulled clear of Massa with Webber now eying a move on the Ferrari.

Lap 23: Replays show Hamilton's front wing clashed lightly with Massa as he barged by on the front straight.

Lap 23: After Schumacher comes Kovalainen in 14th, Glock 15th and di Grassi now 16th. The Virgin driver passed Chandhok on the last lap.

Lap 23: The team has been standing by but it looks like Hamilton's wing has survived its second impact of the afternoon.

Lap 23: Hamiton is now right on Rosberg and is looking set to pass the Mercedes.

Lap 23: Liuzzi is through as the other four car battle comes to life. He passes de la Rosa as the Sauber is slow off Turn 13.

Lap 24: Michael Schumacher has also passed Jaime Alguersuari. De la Rosa will have to fend off the seven-time champion.

Lap 24: It's all go behind the podium trio as Hamilton pressures Rosberg and Webber pushes Massa.

Lap 24: Massa is defending vigorously from Webber and a move seems imminent.

Lap 25: Massa is struggling for pace and Webber is right on the gearbox of the Ferrari.

Lap 25: Alonso is sure to fancy a way through as well when Webber does make a move.

Lap 26: Glock's Virgin is coming into view ahead of these battling drivers but Rosberg and Hamilton clear him.

Lap 26: Hamilton puts a stunning move on on Rosberg but ...

Lap 26: Vettel is out of the grand prix.

Lap 26: Schumacher is almost one second per lap quicker than de la Rosa. The gap between them is 0.5s as the battle for 11th shapes up.

Lap 26: Jenson Button leads as Vettel has gone clean off the road.

Lap 26: It might have been rain spots that caused the leader's crash. It has started spotting again in the last minute or two.

Lap 26: Hamilton has cleared Rosberg but the pair were fighting into the yellow flags caused by Vettel.

Lap 26: So now it is Button from Kubica and Hamilton in a breathless Australian Grand Prix!

Lap 27: It's only light spots and thus far the other drivers are keeping going at full pace.

Lap 27: Hamilton's move on Rosberg was outstanding, around the outside along the back straight, just holding it into Turn 11.

Lap 27: Webber is with Massa ... and through into Turn 3.

Lap 28: Vettel skated off the road at Turn 13 and with this new points system he could find himself some distance behind after just two events.

Lap 29: Alonso will surely pass the struggling Massa soon as well.

Lap 29: Alguersuari pits from 12th place in the Toro Rosso. He had a big lead over Kovalainen in 13th so will keep that place.

Lap 29: Hamilton is right with Kubica and is setting up to make it a McLaren one-two!

Lap 29: The pair are right with a Lotus. Hamilton is on Kubica's gearbox!

Lap 29: Lucas di Grassi has come into the pits and there is a problem with the Virgin entry.

Lap 29: Kubica fends off Hamilton this time but surely the McLaren will be past the Renault very soon.

Lap 30: Michael Schumacher is not able to make any immediate impact on de la Rosa's tenth place, as di Grassi climbs out of the car. He is out.

Lap 30: Button realises his team-mate is flying and gets a spurt on in the lead.

Lap 30: Button leads by 5.1 seconds over the battling Kubica and Hamilton.

Lap 30: Rosberg is fourth and under pressure from Webber fifth.

Lap 31: Michael Schumacher pits from 11th in the Mercedes. He was being held up by de la Rosa so not a bad idea to bring him in.

Lap 31: Massa is still holding off Alonso, with the Ferrari pair sixth and seventh.

Lap 31: Barrichello is having a lonely time in eighth but running well. Liuzzi is ninth with de la Rosa tenth, Schumacher 11th and Alguersuari 12th.

Lap 31: Hamilton continues to tail Kubica but the Renault man is still holding off the charging McLaren driver.

Lap 32: Hamilton clearly has the faster car but Kubica is sill holding on well.

Lap 32: Hamilton feigns a move into Turn 1, and still can't make it at Turn 3.

Lap 32: Hamilton loses some time as he fails to outbrake Kubica. He's fallen back to just ahead of Rosberg.

Lap 32: In fact, Alguersuari was able to sneak through past Schumacher as the Mercedes driver rejoined following that stop. The Spaniard is 11th.

Lap 33: Barrichello pits from eighth and is back on track after a clean stop, as Schumacher sets the fastest lap of the race.

Lap 33: Alonso continues to tail Massa, who is still struggling for grip.

Lap 33: Mark Webber is stopping for fresh soft tyres.

Lap 34: Hamilton tries his move along the back straight but Kubica deftly closes the door.

Lap 34: Barrichello rejoined in tenth place, promoting Liuzzi to eighth and de la Rosa to ninth. Alguersuari in 11th has Schumacher all over him.

Lap 34: This is fascinating stuff, with the difficult call on pitting for new tyres or staying out to the finish.

Lap 34: Rosberg goes for fresh rubber in his Mercedes.

Lap 34: Webber and Rosberg come out right together ...

Lap 35: Webber, who pitted a lap before Rosberg, muscles ahead of the Mercedes.

Lap 35: Button sets the fastest lap while Hamilton pits the McLaren.

Lap 35: McLaren clearly hope Kubica will also come in and they can leap him on fresh rubber.

Lap 35: Hamilton resumes ahead of Webber, who has warmer tyres.

Lap 36: Button leads from Kubica, Massa and Alonso - all still on their original dry tyres.

Lap 36: Hamilton's decision to pit means he will hope Kubica and the Ferrari pair do decide to stop.

Lap 36: Heikki Kovalainen is struggling in the Lotus. He is 13th but has Glock catching him at over one second per lap. The gap is 5.8s.

Lap 36: Button leads comfortably by 11 seconds as his smooth style keeps his rubber intact.

Lap 37: Hamilton sets the fastest first and second sector as he enjoys fresh rubber.

Lap 37: Hamilton has fallen back towards Webber on the last lap after an off at Turn 13.

Lap 37: Webber was briefly through, but Hamilton fought back past the Red Bull.

Lap 38: Kovalainen responds to Glock's challenge and pulls out the advantage to 7.2s. This is the fight for 13th with only Chandhok behind them.

Lap 38: Hamilton is currently 37.5 seconds down on team-mate Button now after that stop.

Lap 38: 20 laps remain in a fascinating Australian Grand Prix.

Lap 38: Hamilton sets the fastest lap a 1m28.754s.

Lap 38: He is 20.5 seconds behind Alonso, with the Ferrari team currently thinking they should stay out to the finish.

Lap 39: Hamilton was two seconds quicker than the Ferrari pair with his fresh rubber.

Lap 39: Barrichello in tenth sets his best lap of the race so far, as di Grassi rejoins the race after being in the pits for almost 15 minutes.

Lap 39: Webber takes the fastest lap, he is 1.5 seconds behind Hamilton.

Lap 39: Button continues to press on in the lead, which is a comfortable 12.1 seconds over Kubica.

Lap 40: Massa and Alonso, third and fourth, are closing slowly on the Renault.

Lap 40: Liuzzi in eighth is going to come under pressure soon from de la Rosa. Barrichello is a further nine seconds back in tenth.

Lap 40: Hamilton clocks the fastest lap at 1m28.591s, closing to 17.5 seconds down on Alonso.

Lap 40: Button must surely plan to run to the finish now, otherwise he will soon fall behind team-mate Hamilton if he makes a stop.

Lap 40: Alguersuari in 11th has Schumacher pegged at one second behind him. Michael has been staring at the back of that Toro Rosso for many laps.

Lap 41: Lucas di Grassi's return to the race was short-lived. He is back in the pits again in the Virgin entry.

Lap 41: Hamilton is 15.7 seconds behind the Kubica, Massa, Alonso battle but will have to pass them on the road if they don't make a stop.

Lap 41: Massa is closing slowly on Kubica, which helps Hamilton's pursuit of this trio.

Lap 42: Kovalainen in 13th still has Glock hounding him. The gap between them is just under five seconds.

Lap 43: Button sets his best lap of the race as the fuel continues to burn down. He's 14.8 seconds in the lead over the battling Kubica, Massa and Alonso.

Lap 43: Hamilton continues to charge towards that battle and is now 12.8 seconds behind Alonso.

Lap 43: Mark Webber is sixth but not able to make any real impression on Hamilton. Nico Rosberg is a further five seconds behind in seventh.

Lap 43: Massa is beginning to line up a move on Kubica for second. Alonso will no doubt be eying benefit from any clash between the pair.

Lap 44: Massa is well wide through the final sector, dropping him back from Kubica.

Lap 45: Hamilton is now nine seconds behind the Ferraris and closing.

Lap 45: Timo Glock pits from 14th place and this is the end of the challenge to Kovalainen. The Virgin mechanics wheel the German into the garage.

Lap 45: Massa is told he must get past Kubica, with Hamilton closing in on this group.

Lap 46: Webber is also finding speed behind Hamilton. He is only one second behind the McLaren.

Lap 46: Button's pace is very good, despite staying on the tyres he used in that early switch to slicks.

Lap 46: Hamilton and Webber continue to home in on the Ferrari pair as they struggle on heavily worn rubber.

Lap 47: This is setting up a fascinating conclusion when Hamilton reaches the Ferraris.

Lap 47: We could be set for another four-car fight again down the field. Liuzzi in eighth is also losing pace. De la Rosa is less than five seconds behind him now, with Barrichello, Alguersuari and Schumacher all closing in.

Lap 47: Hamilton is now 3.4 seconds behind Alonso and a on-track battle is just a couple of laps away.

Lap 48: Webber is right with Hamilton and will be keen to make up for that earlier clash between the pair.

Lap 48: Button's lead is a comfortable 16.7 seconds after a fantastic performance from the world champion.

Lap 49: Hamilton now just over a second behind Alonso.

Lap 49: The McLaren will soon be in a fight with his former team-mate, who is struggling with finished tyres.

Lap 49: Hamilton also has a useful straight-line speed advantage thanks to McLaren's F-duct.

Lap 49: Hamilton right on the gearbox of the Ferraris now with eight laps to go in Melbourne.

Lap 50: Clearly no quarter will be given in this scrap between former champions Alonso and Hamilton.

Lap 52: Rosberg is seventh and all alone. Liuzzi is eighth but de la Rosa has the gap down to three seconds. Barrichello has caught de la Rosa.

Lap 53: Hamilton is now in the dirty air behind Alonso and isn't able to make a move. Webber is right with the McLaren too.

Lap 53: Chandhok pits from 14th as Hispania Racing looks to get to the finish for the first time. He rejoins still in 14th after a regular stop.

Lap 53: Alonso defends down the back straight and Hamilton remains behind the Ferrari.

Lap 53: A fascinating scrap here but still no success for Hamilton.

Lap 53: Michael Schumacher in 12th has got to within half-a-second of Alguersuari again.

Lap 53: Hamilton must be ruing that decision to pit, as now he is struggling to regain the positions he lost by stopping.

Lap 53: Hamilton reports on the radio that his tyres have gone off now he is stuck behind Alonso.

Lap 53: Barrichello has passed Pedro de la Rosa for ninth place. The Sauber driver now has Alguersuari and Schumacher right on his tail.

Lap 54: Button continues to lead by an impressive 18.5 seconds over Kubica's Renault.

Lap 54: Barrichello is now chasing after Tonio Liuzzi in eighth. The gap is less than four seconds.

Lap 54: Battle continues between Alonso, Hamilton and Webber as they dispute fourth in these final stages.

Lap 55: The group behind Kubica are so slow now that Nico Rosberg is catching all of them. The German is seventh and just three seconds behind them.

Lap 55: Barrichello in ninth pulls in another second and is just three seconds behind Liuzzi now.

Lap 55: Hamilton still can't get Alonso on the front straight, despite superior straight-line speed.

Lap 56: Michael Schumacher has finally passed Jaime Alguersuari for 11th. He dived up the inside at Turn 13 and the pair were side by side at Turn 14 - even banging wheels before Michael finally took the position.

Lap 56: Hamilton, on the radio, is clearly unhappy with the team's decision to pit his McLaren. He was battling Kubica for second before the stop.

Lap 56: Rosberg is now right on top of the group in front. He has caught Webber to make it a six car train.

Lap 56: The McLaren continues to harry Alonso but still the Spanaird defends.

Lap 57: Alonso closes the door and Webber slams into Hamilton, putting the pair in the gravel!

Lap 57: Both limp out of the sand, but it has all gone wrong for Webber, who pits for a new nose.

Lap 58: One lap remains in a sensational Australian Grand Prix.

Lap 58: Schumacher surges past de la Rosa at Turn 3 to grab the final point.

07:37 Jenson Button wins the 2010 Australian Grand Prix! A tricky start became a glorious drive as the world champion claims his first victory as a McLaren driver.

07:37 Robert Kubica finishes in a fine second place for Renault, with Felipe Massa taking the final podium spot for Ferrari.

07:38 Fernando Alonso comes home in fourth place with Rosberg fifth and Hamilton in sixth place.

07:39 Tonio Liuzzi finishes in seventh spot, taking advantage of Webber's misfortune. Barrichello was eighth, right on his tail.

07:39 Button is delighted with his win, telling the team they timed that gamble to go to slicks perfectly.

07:39 Mark Webber struggles home in no doubt a very angry ninth place. He will be gutted with the way the race unfolded.

07:40 Michael Schumacher, having been stuck behind Alguersuari for what seemed like an age, claims the final point in tenth spot.

07:40 Hamilton will also no doubt be unhappy after that call to pit only his McLaren. He was third at the time and right with Kubica's Renault.

07:41 Alguersuari was 11th, de la Rosa 12th after succumbing to his fellow-Spaniard in the closing laps. Kovalainen and Chandhok deserve credit for finishing the race in 13th and 14th.

07:42 Jenson Button tours into the pitlane as back-to-back winner of the Australian Grand Prix.

07:43 It is nearly dark at Albert Park as Button gets out of the McLaren. He is delighted.

07:44 Ten drivers retired from the Australian Grand Prix:

Timo Glock, Lucas di Grassi and Adrian Sutil all retired with mechanical problems in the pits.

Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the race at Turn 13 while leading.

Vitaly Petrov spun out of the race while looking on course to score his first points.

Bruno Senna stopped out on track shortly after the safety car came in to release the field.

Sebastien Buemi, Nico Hulkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi were involved in a horrible accident at Turn 6 on lap one.

Jarno Trulli didn't start the race, after a sensor problem was found on his Lotus on the grid.

07:45 God Save the Queen rings out over Albert Park to honour Jenson Button and McLaren - today's winners at the Australian Grand Prix.

07:46 Jenson Button accepts the winner's trophy after an outstanding drive this afternoon.

07:46 Recovering from a clash with Alonso off the start, his bold gamble on dry tyres paid off and he claimed the win in a memorable grand prix.

07:46 Robert Kubica receives his prize for second place today. He did really well under pressure from the chasing pack.

07:46 Martin Whitmarsh accepts the constructors' prize for McLaren. He is delighted for the team.

07:47 Felipe Massa gets his award for another strong podium finish.

07:47 The champagne sprays on the podium at the end of a wet-dry incident-filled race. Jenson Button congratulates both Kubica and Massa.

07:49 The trio stand atop the podium for the photographers. All three will be pretty satisfied with how the race unfolded.

07:52 Here is our round-up of a spectacular Australian Grand Prix:

Button takes first win with McLaren

07:55 An exciting race leaves Alonso and Ferrari on top of the pile, chased by his team-mate and the McLaren pair. Another disastrous day for Red Bull leaves them fourth in the constructors' battle after two rounds.
World Championship standings, round 2:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso        37        1.  Ferrari                    70
 2.  Massa         33        2.  McLaren-Mercedes           54
 3.  Button        31        3.  Mercedes                   29
 4.  Hamilton      23        4.  Red Bull-Renault           18
 5.  Rosberg       20        5.  Renault                    18
 6.  Kubica        18        6.  Force India-Mercedes        8
 7.  Vettel        12        7.  Williams-Cosworth           5
 8.  Schumacher     9       
 9.  Liuzzi         8       
10.  Webber         6       
11.  Barrichello    5       
07:56 Well, that was more exciting than Bahrain, wasn't it! Chaos, incident and good racing from the first lap to the last, Formula 1 delivered today - partially thanks to the weather.

Having dispersed with Alonso and Schumacher at the first corner in the wet, Jenson Button then kept it together to take a wonderful victory. His early stop for slick tyres initially looked to be the wrong tactic, with an off at Turn 3, but he got it together and drove magnificently to romp home by 12 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber endured a nightmare race. The Australian was too impatient and fate dealt Vettel a cruel blow. Red Bull has serious work to do already to catch up in the championship race.

Down at the back, Karun Chandhok finished to give Hispania Racing a boost after another tough weekend, and Lotus will be pleased with Kovalainen bringing his car home once again.

This was the Australian Grand Prix weekend on AUTOSPORT Live. We hope you have enjoyed the coverage over the last three days. We will be back tomorrow, with the early weather forecast for next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix from Kuala Lumpur.

  OVERVIEW AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX  
Race length: 58 laps
  CURRENT WEATHER
Overcast High Temp: 29°C / 84°F
Track: Dry
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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