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Australia  2007 Australian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 1 of 17 in the 2007 Formula One season
Circuit Albert Park.svg
Date March 18, 2007
Official name LXXII ING Australian Grand Prix
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia
Course Temporary street circuit
5.303 km (3.295 mi)
Distance 58 laps, 307.574 km (191.12 mi)
Weather Clear
Attendance 105,000[1]
Pole position
Driver Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
Time 1:26.072
Fastest lap
Driver Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
Time 1:25.235 on lap 41
Podium
First Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
Second Spain Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes
Third United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes

The 2007 Australian Grand Prix (formally the LXXII ING Australian Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on March 18, 2007 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia. It was the first race of the 2007 Formula One season. The race, contested over 58 laps, was won by Kimi Räikkönen for the Ferrari team after starting from pole position. Fernando Alonso finished second in a McLaren car, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton third in the other McLaren on his Grand Prix debut.

Räikkönen started the race alongside Alonso, but at the first corner, Hamilton (who started fourth) overtook both Alonso and BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld to claim second place. Räikkönen controlled the race from the front of the field, with Alonso regaining second place after overtaking Hamilton during the second round of pit stops.

Contents

Report

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Practice

The morning session of Friday practice, run in wet weather, saw McLaren's Fernando Alonso take the fastest lap of the session, over a second faster than the next fastest time set by Ferrari's Felipe Massa. The rain dried up for the afternoon session which saw the two Ferraris of Massa and Kimi Räikkönen first and second respectively with the fastest non-Ferrari driver, Lewis Hamilton, just under a tenth of a second behind Räikkönen. The rest of the top six were from different teams with fourth place going to Giancarlo Fisichella of Renault. Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber was fifth and Alexander Wurz's Williams completed the top six. "This was a positive start to the weekend" Massa commented, "but of course what counts is tomorrow’s qualifying and most of all, Sunday’s race."[2]

The morning session of Saturday brought with it sunny skies, but also a light drizzle at the start of the session. This forced teams who went out early to use their wet tires, but what little water was on the track dried up quickly enough to have no effect on any racer on dry tires. Räikkönen was the consistent pace-setter and topped the chart with a 1:26.064. Fisichella pushed his Renault to second with a time of 1:26.454. Rookie Lewis Hamilton came third over his double and defending World Champion Fernando Alonso who came in at 7th. The slowest team of 2006, Super Aguri, got into the top ten with 4th and 10th for Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato, respectively. Felipe Massa and Nick Heidfeld completed the top six.

Qualifying

Räikkönen followed up his pace-setting morning practice performance by topping the times in Part One of the Qualifying session. Mark Webber set the early benchmark with a 1:27.799, but Lewis Hamilton knocked one and one tenths off that, with a lap of 1:26.674 – his personal fastest lap of the meeting, before Räikkönen took control. Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard found themselves knocked out of qualifying, along with the Toro Rossos and the Spykers.

Fernando Alonso took command of Part Two with a lap of 1:25.326 to put him at the top of the leaderboard, with team-mate Hamilton closely behind in third. BMW's Nick Heidfeld split the McLarens with second. However, Felipe Massa was knocked out of qualifying after an error in turns nine and ten brought his Ferrari to a halt, meaning he started the race from 16th on the grid, which would later become 22nd on the grid due to an engine change. Super Aguri's Takuma Sato made it through to part three. But, along with Massa: Anthony Davidson; both the Williams cars of Rosberg and Wurz; Renault's Heikki Kovalainen and Honda's Jenson Button all went out.

Alonso again set the benchmark in Part Three with a time of 1:27.050. But he was soon knocked off top spot by Räikkönen, who went a second quicker with a lap of 1:26.072. Räikkönen kept pole position, with Alonso second, but Nick Heidfeld was third after Lewis Hamilton had an untidy middle sector which saw him end up in fourth. Robert Kubica was fifth, with Giancarlo Fisichella sixth.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was seventh with the Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Trulli eighth and ninth. Super Aguri's Sato rounded out the top ten.

The start of the 2007 season.

Race

Race day saw a crowd of 105,000 people attend the opening round of the 2007 season, and the first race of the "post-Schumacher" era.[3] The only changes before the race were that Felipe Massa started last after an engine-change,[4] and Christijan Albers opted to start from the pitlane.

At the start, Räikkönen got clear off the line. Alonso was passed by Heidfeld on the left and was stuck behind Räikkönen to his front. Hamilton was also briefly stuck behind the leading three before taking the outside line coming into the first corner to take third place; Alonso dropped back to fourth position. McLaren team principal Ron Dennis would later accuse BMW of "showboating".[5] Anthony Davidson stalled on the grid and after getting going hit Adrian Sutil, but managed to keep going. By lap three, Räikkönen was starting to pull away from Heidfeld and by lap five the Finn had a two and a half second lead on the German. Meanwhile debutant Lewis Hamilton was still holding onto third place from teammate Alonso.

Christijan Albers in the Spyker became the first driver to retire in the new season, missing his braking point at the Sports Center corner and hitting the tire barrier. The first to make a pit stop was second place Heidfeld on lap fifteen; four laps later Kimi Räikkönen pitted and came out in fourth behind Hamilton, now leading on his Grand Prix debut; Alonso and Robert Kubica. Alonso was the first of the two McLarens to pit, suggesting that Hamilton was on a heavier fuel load then his Spanish teammate.

Räikkönen leads the field into turn one, with Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso behind.

The Briton's McLaren pitted a lap later and rejoined behind Räikkönen, who had now reclaimed his lead, but ahead of Heidfeld, who had now dropped back to fifth, and Alonso, despite being held up by the lone Spyker of Adrian Sutil, who received a drive through penalty for the infringement. Honda's Jenson Button also received a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Toro Rosso's Scott Speed became the race's second retirement after two of his tires deflated and he crashed at the Clark chicane on lap 31.

Six laps later at the same chicane saw Nico Rosberg overtake Ralf Schumacher for seventh place and soon pulled away from the Toyota. On the same lap, Kubica became the third retirement of the race after problems with his gearbox, which was the part of the car the Polish driver had been most worried about during the pre-season. At the front, meanwhile, Räikkönen was increasing his lead over Hamilton, his lead now over 18 seconds.

Heikki Kovalainen was having, in comparison with Hamilton, a disappointing first race: spinning at the Jones chicane on his fortieth lap, which led to him losing a place to Felipe Massa, and running wide on several occasions during the early part of the race. Renault team chief Flavio Briatore described the Finn's debut as "rubbish".[6] Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella was having an uneventful race, as he was not involved in any racing incidents.

Back at the front, Räikkönen made his final scheduled pit stop of the race and rejoined in third, behind the two McLarens of Hamilton, now leading the race for the second time, and Alonso. Unlike the first set of stops, it was Hamilton who would be the first of the two McLarens to pit, allowing Alonso to lead the race for the first time. Alonso pitted a lap later and this time rejoined ahead of his rookie teammate, while Räikkönen took his lead back.

On lap 48, David Coulthard's attempt to pass Alexander Wurz ended with Coulthard's car vaulting over the Williams, narrowly missing the Austrian driver's head. Both drivers escaped unharmed.[7]

Despite a small water leak towards the end, it was Räikkönen who won the race, 7.2 seconds from Alonso and over eighteen seconds from Hamilton, who became the first driver to finish on the podium on their debut since Jacques Villeneuve at the 1996 Australian Grand Prix; it was also the first time a driver had won on their first race for Ferrari since Nigel Mansell in 1989 and also the first race in World Championship history where all 3 podium finishers were making their debut for their team, disregarding 1950 where all drivers made their World Championship debuts.

Post race there was some criticism of Bridgestone because the rules mandated that the softer tire compound should be "visibly distinguishable" while the car is on track. The tiny white dot on the outer side of the tires proved inadequate. For the next race at Sepang they would go on to paint the "second from outside" groove with white paint.

Classification

Qualifying

Pos Name Constructor Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
1 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.644 1:25.644 1:26.072
2 Spain Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.697 1:25.326 1:26.493
3 Germany Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:26.895 1:25.358 1:26.556
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.674 1:25.577 1:26.755
5 Poland Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:26.696 1:25.882 1:27.347
6 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:27.270 1:25.944 1:27.634
7 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:26.978 1:26.623 1:27.934
8 Italy Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:27.014 1:26.688 1:28.404
9 Germany Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:27.328 1:26.739 1:28.692
10 Japan Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:27.365 1:26.758 1:28.871
11 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:26.986 1:26.909
12 Germany Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:27.596 1:26.914
13 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:27.529 1:26.964
14 United Kingdom Jenson Button Honda 1:27.540 1:27.264
15 Austria Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:27.479 1:27.393
16 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:26.712 no time
17 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:27.679
18 United States Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.305
19 United Kingdom David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:28.579
20 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:29.267
21 Germany Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:29.339
22 Netherlands Christijan Albers Spyker-Ferrari 1:31.932

Race

Pos No Driver Constructor Lap Time/Retired Grid Points
1 6 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 58 1:25:28.770 1 10
2 1 Spain Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 58 +7.242 2 8
3 2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 58 +18.595 4 6
4 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 58 +38.763 3 5
5 3 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 58 +1:06.469 6 4
6 5 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 58 +1:06.805 22 3
7 16 Germany Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 57 +1 Lap 12 2
8 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Toyota 57 +1 Lap 9 1
9 12 Italy Jarno Trulli Toyota 57 +1 Lap 8
10 4 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Renault 57 +1 Lap 13
11 8 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Honda 57 +1 Lap 16
12 22 Japan Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 57 +1 Lap 10
13 15 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 57 +1 Lap 7
14 18 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 57 +1 Lap 19
15 7 United Kingdom Jenson Button Honda 57 +1 Lap 14
16 23 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 56 +2 Laps 11
17 20 Germany Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 56 +2 Laps 20
Ret 17 Austria Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 48 Collision 15
Ret 14 United Kingdom David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 48 Collision 18
Ret 10 Poland Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 36 Gearbox 5
Ret 19 United States Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 28 Puncture 17
Ret 21 Netherlands Christijan Albers Spyker-Ferrari 10 Accident 21

Notes

References

Session results taken from:
  1. ""Raikkonen sees red in final practice"". Official Formula 1 Website. http://www.formula1.com/race/news/5793/770.html. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  2. ""Friday Practice One Results"". Official Formula 1 Website. http://www.formula1.com/race/result/770/28.html. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  3. ""Friday Practice Two Results"". Official Formula 1 Website. http://www.formula1.com/race/result/770/29.html. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  4. ""Saturday Practice Results"". Official Formula 1 Website. http://www.formula1.com/race/result/770/23.html. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  

External links

Previous race:
2006 Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2007 season
Next race:
2007 Malaysian Grand Prix
Previous race:
2006 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix Next race:
2008 Australian Grand Prix

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