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GP Australia ... Mercedes McLaren Top ... Ferrari Flop ... only 6 cars crossed the start finish line


Lewis Hamilton won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne

The start, shortly after Massa touched with Kovalinen and went straight into the barrier

The start, shortly after Massa touched with Kovalinen and went straight into the barrier

The start Lewis Hamilton accelerated into an immediate lead followed by Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) and Heikki Kovalainen

The start Lewis Hamilton accelerated into an immediate lead followed by Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) and Heikki Kovalainen

Lewis Hamilton won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne

Heikki Kovalainen, who led for eight laps and ran second for 21 laps came home fifth ... Heikki pressed the speed limiter after passing Alsono, this allowed the spaniard could pass him again

Heikki Kovalainen, who led for eight laps and ran second for 21 laps came home fifth ... Heikki pressed the speed limiter after passing Alsono, this allowed the spaniard could pass him again

Kimi Raikkonen classified 8th

Kimi Raikkonen classified 8th

 

Melbourne, 16th March 2008

McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, the first race of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship. After turbulent 58 laps (307.574 kms) with three Safety Car periods, Lewis won with 5.4sec ahead of Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) and Nico Rosberg (Williams Toyota). Lewis’ new team mate Heikki Kovalainen, who led for eight laps and ran second for 21 laps came home fifth. It was the fifth victory for Lewis, just one year after his first ever Grand Prix. After the first of 18 Grands Prix, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads the Constructors’ Championship with 14 points ahead of BMW Sauber and Williams Toyota with 8 points each. Lewis took the lead in the drivers’ ranking with 10 points ahead of Heidfeld (8) and Rosberg (6). 

Things went badly for Massa shortly after the start, as he spun out of fourth place, hitting the wall in a battle with Kovalainen, forcing him to pit for a new nose. Out in front, Hamilton, (McLaren-Mercedes) starting from pole for the seventh time, led Kubica (BMW-Sauber) and Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes.) Rosberg (Williams-Toyota) moved up to fourth ahead of Heidfeld (BMW-Sauber) and Trulli (Toyota.) Kimi had moved up from 15th on the grid to eighth at this point.

Button and Davidson collided in the Honda and Super Aguri and local boy Mark Webber in the Red Bull also went no further than the opening lap. The incidents saw the safety car deployed.

Out in front, Hamilton was stepping up the pace and by lap 10, he led Kubica by 7.6s, while Kovalainen was on his own in third ahead of Rosberg, Heidfeld, Trulli. Behind them came the Honda of Barrichello who was now locked in a battle with Kimi who was right behind him and keen to get past.

Kubica was the first man to change tyres and take on fuel, while Massa's long hard afternoon improved by one place as he passed Nakajima in the Williams on lap 17. When Raikkonen finally disposed of Barrichello on lap 19, running on the softer tyres, he began to set personal best laps. Felipe's day took another downward turn on lap 26, when, having got his nose ahead of Coulthard, the two men collided at Turn 1, forcing the Scotsman to retire and bringing out the safety car yet again. Kimi actually thought of pitting at this point, but fortunately he realised that, according to the safety car regulations, the pit lane was not yet open.

Felipe's race ended on lap 30, as he pulled off the track to retire with an engine problem and one lap later, the race was on again as the safety car came in. Kimi charged past fellow Finn, Kovalainen but ended up having to run through the gravel trap at Turn 3, consequently slipping down the order and pitting.
Lap 44 saw the most serious incident of the race, when Glock had a heavy crash in his Toyota, bringing out the Safety Car yet again. Barrichello refuelled before the pit lane was open and also knocked over the refueller in the Honda pit. By lap 50 it was obvious that Raikkonen was in trouble from looking at his lap times and on lap 54 he came back to the pits to retire with an engine failure. On lap 56, Bourdais, making his F1 debut for Toro Rosso retired from fourth place and in the final move of the day, Kovalainen passed Alonso but the Spaniard re-took fourth place on the finish straight.

So the race ended with Hamilton taking his fifth F1 victory to be joined by Heidfeld and Rosberg on the podium. The remaining points then went to Alonso, Kovalainen, Nakajima, Bourdais and Raikkonen.

Pit Lane Notes:
Weather: air temperature 37 °C
track temperature 50/48 °C
sunny

The start:
Lewis Hamilton started from pole position for the seventh time.  Heikki Kovalainenhad qualified third on the grid, his best starting position in Formula 1 so far. Lewis accelerated into an immediate lead followed by Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) and Heikki. The Safety Cat was deployed due to an incident at the first corner. 

The race:
Lap 3: Re-start. Lewis maintained his lead ahead of Kubica and Heikki. With a number of fast laps, Lewis opened a gap ahead of the field.

Lap 10: Lewis led 7.6sec ahead of Kubica; Heikki was third 9.1sec behind the leader.

Lap 16: Kubica came in for his first pit stop; Heikki moved up to second place.

Lap 18: Lewis pitted for the first time (9.2sec) and resumed in fourth position; Heikki took the lead.

Lap 21: Rosberg and Heidfeld pitted; Lewis was now second.

Lap 22: Heikki made his first pit stop (9.0sec) from the lead and rejoined the race in second place behind Lewis.

Lap 26: Following a collision between Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and David Coulthard (Red Bull Renault) the Safety Car was deployed again.

Lap 30: Re-start. Lewis maintained the lead whilst Heikki held off charging Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) at the first corner. At the next corner, Räikkönen attacked again and went off.

Lap 43: Lewis came in for his second stop (8.6sec) and dropped to fourth position. Heikki took the lead and posted the fastest lap of the race (1:27.418).

Lap 44: An accident of Timo Glock (Toyota) caused the third Safety Car period of the race.Following Heidfeld’s second pit stop Lewis moved up to second place.

Lap 47: Heikki pitted for the second time (8.0sec) and, due to the close field behind the Safety Car, dropped to ninth.

Lap 49: Re-start. Lewis maintained the lead again; Heikki improved to seventh. Then the Finn overtook Räikkönen and took sixth place.

Lap 57: Heikki passed Fernando Alonso (Renault) and was fourth. When he accidentally touched the speed limiter, the Spaniard fought back and Heikki was fifth again.

Chassis Numbers

K.Raikkonen 8th chassis 268
F.Massa dnf chassis 267