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Summary

  1. Hamilton on pole, Rosberg 2nd, Massa 3rd
  2. Vettel 4th, Raikkonen 5th, Bottas 6th
  3. Ricciardo 7th, Sainz 8th, Grosjean 9th, Maldonado 10th
  4. Kvyat out for Red Bull, McLarens out in Q1
  5. Manor will not race on Sunday
  6. Van der Garde drops Sauber dispute
  7. McLaren do not know when Alonso will return

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    The last driver to win the season opener after ending the previous year with a victory was Sebastian Vettel in 2010-2011. He, of course, went on to smash aside all before him, winning 11 races on his way to the title. Can reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton replicate that feat and start the season as he no doubt means to go on?

    Catch highlights of qualifying on BBC One at 12:50 GMT and join us tomorrow for build-up and coverage of the Australian Grand Prix from 03:30 GMT. See you then!

  2. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    More from Felipe Massa, who will start third: "It is very good to be back in the game and I am happy to start in the best position our car could start in.

    "Ferrari is very strong, much stronger than the last race of the season, and tomorrow we will expect to have a big fight with them."

  3. Post update

    More from Nico Rosberg, who will start second: "Not a good day, I didn't get my sectors together. The pace was there, so that bothers me a lot. Lewis drover like a champion today. But I'm thankful for such an awesome car - I was still safely second, even on a bad day. On Friday I was quicker - but maybe that is irrelevant now…

    "If the opportunity comes tomorrow I'll take it. If it is colder tomorrow then the softer tyre will disintegrate - maybe that will help."

  4. Rookies ready to rumble?

    Max Verstappen

    Sixty one drivers have scored on their debuts, the most recent being Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat last year. Can Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen take that number to 64? They start from eighth and 12th on the grid respectively.

  5. Post update

    McLaren will start from the back of the grid tomorrow and Jenson Button said: "You have to look at winter testing where we ran low fuel and we were slow there so it's no real shock that we are that far back.

    "But when you drive the car you are surprised at how far back you are because the car feels reasonable. For me its a very good base with which to build McLaren Honda on.

    "I like where we are in terms of philosophy of the downforce and how the car responds to my input."

  6. Post update

    More from Lewis Hamilton: "All year you never know what to expect when it comes to the race weekend. I feel very, very happy with the job I was able to do but also the job the team has done. I got everything and more.

    "To be able to have this performance today has given me a lot of confidence. I feel really excited for tomorrow and energised."

  7. Post update

    Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff: "It was the perfect Saturday but we must be careful about talking about winning a Formula 1 race. It is about letting those two battle it out in a positive way. Sebastian Vettel was very strong, as were the Williams. As much we cab be confident with sheer pace, this is still motorsport."

  8. Post update

    Formula 1

    Mercedes: An audience with David Coulthard & Suzi Perry for Lewis Hamilton now, talking through his pole lap. What a lap it was...

  9. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel equalled Ferrari's best qualifying result from all of 2014 with fourth place.

  10. Post update

    Pirelli: Great qualifying performance from Lewis Hamilton: more than a second faster than 2013, when the cars were still using V8 engines.

  11. Get Involved

    Clayton Cook: So if the cars are 3 seconds faster this year, Honda not too bad considering first competitive run. Still learning, long road ahead

    Lee Smith: Stunning performance. @MercedesAMGF1 seem to be further ahead than last season, could they win them all?

    Chloe Osterloff: Sure sign that winter is over: #bbcf1 is backing starting with #AusGP tomorrow!

  12. Post update

    FIA

    We might be staring at another Mercedes-dominated title battle, but the inter-team relations will no doubt prove fascinating once again.

    It might just be me, but this looks like a textbook 'awkward arm around the shoulder' moment between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

  13. Post update

    massa

    A great result for Felipe Massa as he qualified third, but he will likely breathe a little easier if negotiations the first corner without any drama. He has crashed or spun at that point on four occasions (2002, 2006, 2008, 2014).

  14. Get Involved

    Daniel Day: YES @LewisHamilton in pole position tomorrow, the race is going to be good

    Alex Smith: Lewis Hamilton well and truly smashed it, are we back in 2014?

    Lewis Walsham: Excellent stuff from Hamilton to take pole! It's a fight for the podium between Ferrari and Williams tomorrow

  15. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton has not won the Australian Grand Prix since the year of his first world championship win in 2008, but you have to fancy him to add win number two tomorrow.

  16. Post update

    Lotus

    Almost 1.4 seconds separates Lewis Hamilton from third-place Felipe Massa. Quite the gap as Hamilton immediately lays down a marker in the title race.

  17. Post update

    reuters

    Jenson Button has sadly got exactly what he did not want, McLaren starting at the back of the grid. Having failed to take to the track at any point this weekend - including qualifying - Manor will not be racing tomorrow. On to Malaysia...

  18. Get Involved

    Reece Young: @LewisHamilton laying down a huge marker in the early stages of the title race

    Justin Turner: The great news is that the Brits are dominating #F1 again. One at the front of the grid, one at the back!

    Emma Price: Not looking good for McLaren this season, as expected. One horse Mercedes race? Let's hope not

  19. Post update

    Felipe Massa, who qualified third: "It was a very tricky qualifying, especially when four cars are fighting for similar times. The difference in lap times between me, Seb, Kimi, and Valtteri, is pretty small.

    Williams

    "I'm happy, I did a good lap, the best lap of the day. It wasn't so easy with the wind changing. I prepared everything for the last try and it worked. There will be a fight tomorrow with Ferrari especially and I hope we do a good job."

  20. Post update

    Nico Rosberg, who qualified second: "Lewis was on impressive form today. He absolutely nailed it so well done to him. For me, it wasn't a great day today but I am thankful to the team for the car they have given me. It really is a pleasure to drive.

    "I have to live with the performance in P2 but tomorrow is a long day."

  21. Post update

    More from Lewis Hamilton: "We had a difficult start to the season last time we were here so we are definitely hoping for a better start and for both cars to succeed tomorrow. There is a lot of work still to be done and hopefully a good fight with Nico."

  22. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton, who will start on pole in the Australian Grand Prix: "It has been a great start to the weekend. It doesn't feel like a long time since the last race. We found a good balance today and it was just about pushing those laps. It is so much fun in qualifying pushing those single laps."

  23. Get Involved

    Ethan Robinson: Williams have gone under the radar a little - fantastic qualifying session.

    Wasiyullah Budye: Hamilton on Pole for #AusGP. The champ was absolutely flying out there. Good news for #TeamLH

  24. Fast facts

    Mercedes have locked out the front row at the last nine consecutive races.

    Felipe Massa qualifies in the top three for the first time at Melbourne in his career.

  25. Get Involved

    Byron FOXX Mubaiwa: Lap time by @LewisHamilton MIGHTY!

    Henry Bayne: Go HAM

    Rian Hoskins: Vettel to Ferrari could be compared to Hamilton to Mercedes. Seems wrong when announced but turns out to be the right move.

  26. Qualifying result

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Felipe Massa 4) Sebastian Vettel 5) Kimi Raikkonen 6) Valtteri Bottas 7) Daniel Ricciardo 8) Carlos Sainz 9) Romain Grosjean 10) Pastor Maldonado

    11) Felipe Nasr 12) Max Verstappen 13) Daniil Kvyat 14) Nico Hulkenberg 15) Sergio Perez 16) Marcus Ericsson 17) Jenson Button 18) Kevin Magnussen

  27. Post update

    James Allen

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "Hamilton is on a different planet."

  28. Chequered flag

    hamilton

    LEWIS HAMILTON SECURES POLE POSITION FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

  29. Post update

    Nico Rosberg is round with a 1:26.921 but it is not going to be good enough, over a half a second off Lewis Hamilton's benchmark.

  30. Post update

    Hope for Nico Rosberg as Lewis Hamilton reports vibration on his tyres again.

  31. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "If Nico Rosberg can tidy up the first sector then there is a chance. If he does not do that, then there is no chance."

  32. Post update

    The tyre covers come off and out roll the cars for the final two minutes. Here we go...

  33. Post update

    Mercedes: Not how Nico Rosberg would have wanted to kick off Q3 we're sure - but there's still time..

  34. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "Lewis Hamilton is in the sweet seat. What a lap that was."

  35. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel is second fastest after the first runs with a 1:27.757, followed by Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Pastor Maldonado, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz.

  36. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton is up and running with a 1:26.419 and lays down the marker to the rest of the top 10.

    Nico Rosberg's hopes of bettering that are hit as he goes off at the penultimate corner. He now has one chance to try and snatch pole.

  37. Post update

    Valtteri Bottas has to abort his lap as he locks up into turn one. "The bite of the brakes is not good" he says over team radio.

  38. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "Now the cars are all streaming out. Bottas, Grosjean, Maldonado are all out on the circuit, Hamilton is just taking the tyre covers off and will enter the circuit soon."

  39. Final qualifying starts

    Here we go then. The top-10 shoot-out is under way and in 12 minutes we will know who will start the Australian Grand Prix on pole.

  40. Get involved

    Robert Skuriat: Really nice of @McLarenF1 taking some pressure off @Manor_F1team by taking their place at the back of the grid.

    James Humberstone: Come on Bottas. Big push for the second row now.

    Andrew Griffiths: Lotus quietly getting on with it.

  41. Post update

    Max Verstappen will start his first-ever Grand Prix from 12th on the grid while his Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz is in the top-10 shootout. Superb stuff from the rookies.

  42. IN

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Sebastian Vettel 4) Valtteri Bottas 5) Kimi Raikkonen 6) Felipe Massa 7) Romain Grosjean 8) Carlos Sainz 9) Daniel Ricciardo 10) Pastor Maldonado

  43. OUT

    11) Felipe Nasr 12) Max Verstappen 13) Daniil Kvyat 14) Nico Hulkenberg 15) Sergio Perez

  44. Second qualifying ends

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the second part of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. Teenage rookie Max Verstappen misses out.

    verstappen
  45. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo is through to Q3 as a 1:28.679 puts him up to seventh and a huge cheer goes up from the home crowd for the Australian. A result, given the trouble he has had so far this weekend.

    ricciardo
  46. Post update

    Everyone out now except for the Mercedes pair. Sebastian Vettel is third fastest, with his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

  47. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton, fastest so far in Q2 with a 1:26.894, climbs out of his Mercedes with three minutes left. Nico Rosberg remains in his seat. He could head back out.

  48. Post update

    Just under five minutes left and Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado are in trouble. Maldonado (pictured) has yet to emerge on to the circuit in Q2.

    maldonado
  49. Post update

    Nico Rosberg slots in just behind his team-mate with a 1:27.097 but he reports an issue with his engine cutting at Turn 15.

  50. Post update

    David Coulthard

    BBC F1 co-commentator

    "The wind has always been an issue since they made these cars aerodynamic. If you've got a headwind versus a tailwind in different corners it fundamentally changes the car."

  51. Post update

    The wind, which has caused a few drivers to have a few hairy moments on the circuit today, is easing off a tad and Lewis Hamilton puts in a beautiful, error-free lap to lap into P1 with 1:26.894.

  52. Post update

    Felipe Nasr posts a 1:29.614, before Valtteri Bottas pips the Sauber driver with a 1:28.012. All are out on softs.

  53. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Melbourne

    "And there we are. McLarens out in Q1, three seconds off pace (more when tyres taken into account). Will start last.

    When you bear in mind there is about a second's difference between the soft and medium tyre, McLaren are about four seconds off the pace.

    That time gap for McLaren is the equivalent of a 250bhp deficit. The engine is clearly the major issue, but how much of that gap is engine and how much is chassis?"

  54. Post update

    First out are Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Nasr in the Sauber.

  55. Get involved

    Mat Page: McLaren Honda seemingly have a lot of work to do.

    Maye: Is it me or is Toro Rosso generally quicker than Red Bull at the moment?

    Femi Akinyemi: Don't get the Honda is new excuse. Merc and Ferrari didn't have this many issues in their first year of the hybrid. Poor from MacHonda.

  56. Second qualifying starts

    The second part of qualifying is go, go go! We'll lose five more cars at the end of this session.

  57. Get involved #bbcf1

    Mike Hassell: Podium predictions for tomorrow. HAM, RIC, BOT.

    Carol Treurnicht: HAM, ROS, BOT

    Kayleigh Gray: ROS, HAM, BOT

  58. Post update

    David Coulthard

    BBC F1 co-commentator

    "They [McLaren-Honda] immediately start to look for positives, they ran for the entire session. They have fresh tyres left for the race. Pretty disappointing start. The team came here pretty realistic."

  59. IN

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Felipe Massa 4) Max Verstappen 5) Sebastian Vettel 6) Romain Grosjean 7) Carlos Sainz 8) Valtteri Bottas 9) Nico Hulkenberg 10) Kimi Raikkonen

    11) Daniel Ricciardo 12) Pastor Maldonado 13) Sergio Perez 14) Daniil Kvyat 15) Felipe Nasr

  60. OUT

    16) Marcus Ericsson 17) Jenson Button 18) Kevin Magnussen

  61. First qualifying ends

    mclaren

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the first part of qualifying, as both McLaren drivers fail to make the cut.

  62. Post update

    A worry for McLaren with both Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in the dangerzone with less than a minute of Q1 left.

  63. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "If you are fast enough you are good enough and that is another indication that this lad is a talent."

  64. Post update

    verstappen

    Max Verstappen, the 17-year-old rookie, pulls off a superb lap to leap up to third with a 1:29.307.

  65. Post update

    The familiar sight of a Mercedes one-two at the top of the timesheet as Lewis Hamilton goes P1 with a 1:28.586, more than three tenths quicker than Nico Rosberg.

    rosberg
  66. Post update

    Five minutes of Q1 left and Daniel Ricciardo best so far is a 1:32.340, 14th fastest. Daniil Kvyat is yet to set a timed lap.

  67. Post update

    Nico Rosberg, on the medium tyre, goes fastest of all with a 1:28.906, four tenths of a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel, who set his best on the softs.

  68. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel is up into P1 with a 1:29.307 and the times are coming down as his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen posts a 1:29.754.

    A few mistakes being made out there as Carlos Sainz spins 180 degrees, and it looks like it was at the same place he spun in final practice earlier.

  69. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton runs wide on his outlap before reporting vibrations in the tyres of his Mercedes.

  70. Post update

    Some early times put on the board as Felipe Nasr sets the pace with a 1:32.540.

    However, out comes Kimi Raikkonen, on the soft tyre, and he knocks two seconds off that time with a 1:30.188.

  71. Post update

    Mercedes

    Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton....GO!

  72. Post update

    Bad news for Manor as they look to have failed to get their cars in shape for qualifying.

    The show goes on though as Carlos Sainz Jr heads out on to the circuit in the Toro Rosso as 18 minutes of Q1 counts down.

  73. First qualifying starts

    The first part of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix is go, go, go.

  74. Post update

    As ever at the first race of a new season, I've got butterflies in my stomach. Seconds away from qualifying...

  75. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "Ferrari were coming off a very bad season last year where they underperformed but they have regrouped. Vettel has fitted in pretty well and Raikkonen is going significantly better than he did in the previous generation car."

  76. Post update

    Formula 1

    Just like the drivers, the BBC commentary team have got themselves in position for qualifying.

    You will be able to hear the words of James Allen and Allan McNish online soon.

    Five minutes to go...

  77. Post update

    Mercedes

    Mercedes: 10mins to go... final shine being applied to the #F1 W06 pairing. It's showtime...

  78. Did you know?

    Formula 1
  79. Most pole positions in Melbourne

    McLaren & Ferrari (five)

    Red Bull (three)

    Williams (two)

  80. Post update

    Red Bull

    Plenty of Daniel Ricciardo fans in the stands, all sporting smiles not too dissimilar to the usually beaming Australian.

    He has not had much to smile about so far, and how he and Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat gets on in qualifying will certainly be interesting.

  81. Post update

    With less than 25 minutes until qualifying gets under way, it remains unclear as to whether Manor will even take part in it.

    They have not featured in any of the practice sessions in Australia because of a series of problems with their cars.

    If they fail to take part, that could be bad news for Jenson Button. McLaren have, unsurprisingly, struggled in practice so far, and they risk being last on the grid if Manor do not manage to run.

    "Qualifying will be tricky and getting out for as many laps as we can will be tricky," said the Englishman. "Hopefully we will be competitive sooner rather than later."

  82. No guarantees

    Lewis Hamilton

    Securing pole position is certainly not the be all and end all in Melbourne, with just 42% of polesitters going on to secure victory in the previous 19 Australian GPs.

    Last year, Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, lasted just two laps before retiring with a power unit issue.

  83. Qualifying coverage

    Formula 1

    Live audio commentary on qualifying will kick in on this page just before 06:00 GMT and you can listen by clicking the 'play' icon for desktop users, or by selecting the live coverage tab.

    Then you will be able to join Suzi Perry and company for highlights of qualifying on BBC One at 12:50 GMT.

  84. Post update

    Sauber

    Sauber: Preparations for F1 qualifying are in full swing.

  85. Post update

    Sauber are able to finally focus on racing after the uncertainty that dominated Friday practice about who would drive for the team.

    Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde has dropped his legal action against Sauber, allowing them to race in Australia and both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson were out on the circuit in final practice.

  86. Post update

    Mercedes

    Mercedes: Now THAT is a conversation we wouldn't mind listening in on...

  87. Post update

    Australian

    The dry forecast means we won't be in for a race anything like the 1991 Australian Grand Prix, which was called off after 16 laps because of torrential rain.

    Incidentally, we have a video highlights (UK only) of that very race if you fancy a trip down memory lane.

  88. How's the weather?

    Weather

    Cloudy it may be in Melbourne but it is looking like we are in for a dry weekend on the whole, as BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson explains: "Mostly dry. A weakening front could bring light showery rain by late Sat to early Sun. Temps peak Sat (23C)."

  89. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "The battle for the front row of the grid will between the Mercedes but the battle behind it I will stick Vettel there as the best of the rest.

    "But the stars of practice for me have been the two young Toro Rosso's drivers."

  90. Get involved #bbcf1

    Let's be having your podium predictions then. The two Mercedes I would imagine are going to be a shoe-in in these predictions, but who else?

    Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz have been mightily impressive in their first grand prix weekend, could Toro Rosso outshine the senior Red Bull team?

    Let us know via #bbcf1, text us on 81111 (UK only) and have your say on the BBC Sport Facebook and Google+ pages.

  91. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Melbourne

    "At the other end of the spectrum, Mercedes' only concern is how big the margin to their rivals will be.

    "Ferrari have clearly made a big step and caught Williams by surprise, and Lotus could well be in the top 10.

    "Already it is a season of very contrasting moods."

  92. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Melbourne

    "It's clouding over a little in Albert Park as the clock ticks down towards the start of qualifying at 17:00 local time (06:00 GMT), but it's still a lovely, warm day. The mood in many teams in the paddock, though, does not match the weather.

    "Red Bull bosses are not troubling to hide their anger at the lack of performance and reliability of their Renault engines - and the comparison with their junior team Toro Rosso is making life a little uncomfortable, too. At the moment, tiny Toro Rosso look like they might qualify ahead of their big-budget parent.

    "McLaren are at a total loss, and Jenson Button's wish that Manor might run to save them the ignominy of being at the very back for Honda's first race back looks a forlorn one."

  93. Get involved #bbcf1

    Jeremiah Kariuki: Red Bull and McLaren not having the best of weekends. The qualifying session will be a real pointer of what to expect of them.

    Gideon Cresswell: Wide awake before 5am. Must be because #F1 has started again!! Shame my body doesn't realise it & have to wait till 12:50 to watch it!

    Richard Myers: #BBCF1 new season starts today. Very much looking forward to watching it, qualifying is going to be interesting in Australia.

  94. Post update

    Welcome back! Or, if you are just joining us, welcome to our coverage of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

    No-one will be surprised to see that a Mercedes have been sat proudly at the top of the timesheet in each of the three practice sessions in Melbourne.

    However, the performance of the Red Bulls have perhaps raised an eyebrow.

    An engine change for Daniel Ricciardo on Friday did not bring with it improved fortunes, as he had to be wheeled back to the pits at one stage today, while Daniil Kvyat also had reliability issues to contend with.

    Worrying times ahead of qualifying.

  95. Post update

    Plenty of reasons to smile for one team...

    Formula 1

    ...plenty of reasons not to for another...

    Christian Horner
  96. Post update

    OK then, qualifying gets under way at 06:00 GMT so I'm going to pop off and grab a bite to eat before we power up this live coverage again at 05:00. Join us then!

  97. Post update

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "If looks could kill, I have just been killed by Christian Horner. He is in a very black mood. They just tried firing up Daniil Kvyat's Red Bull and it would not start.

    "Meanwhile, it seems like Mercedes are looking very sweet."

  98. Final practice results

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Sebastian Vettel 3) Nico Rosberg 4) Valtteri Bottas 5) Felipe Massa 6) Kimi Raikkonen 7) Romain Grosjean 8) Pastor Maldonado 10) Felipe Nasr

    11) Max Verstappen 12) Marcus Ericsson 13) Nico Hulkenberg 14) Sergio Perez 15) Daniel Ricciardo 16) Kevin Magnussen 17) Jenson Button 18) Daniil Kvyat

    Did not run:

    Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi

  99. Chequered flag

    LEWIS HAMILTON FINISHES FASTEST IN FINAL PRACTICE FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX.

  100. Post update

    Mercedes: And Lewis Hamilton does the same - that's us wrapped up for FP3! Awaiting the flag for a full rundown...

  101. Post update

    Carlos Sainz Jr runs through the gravel at Turn 1 but keeps it together and gets himself back on track.

    Meanwhile, Mercedes confirm Nico Rosberg's running is done for practice. It won't be a clean sweep of the sessions for him, but could be for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton still leading the way.

  102. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "I feel Mercedes still have a little more in their pocket but Ferrari are in the game."

  103. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel, after a little spell in the Ferrari garage, is back out and splits the Mercedes as he clocks a 1:28.563.

  104. Get involved #bbcf1

    George Taylor: Red Bull and Renault engine combination at the moment is like orange juice and toothpaste. #DoesntWork

    Jeremiah Kariuki: It will be a big ask to any Red Bull driver to take any top 3 positions in qualifying. On race day, getting any points is a big bonus.

    Aneek Mustafa: FP3 has given more entertainment in terms of incidents that the whole of last season.

    Lisa Moran: So far, the timing of Vettel's move to Ferrari looks impeccable! Feel for Ricciardo at his home GP. Lewis Hamilton for pole - Come on 44!

  105. Post update

    Nico Rosberg improves on his third timed lap with a 1:28.821, but Lewis Hamilton is flying and he goes even faster with a 1:27.867.

  106. Post update

    Mercedes: And that's the call - Lewis Hamilton takes to the track with 10mins of FP3 to run. Last chance for laps before qualifying... let's go!

  107. Post update

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "While Nico Rosberg was setting that time, Lewis Hamilton is in the Mercedes garage and they have been making a front suspension change on his car. I would say he is not 100% happy and he will probably want to have a look at Nico's data before going out and trying to nail lap."

  108. Post update

    Moments later, Nico Rosberg goes fastest on the softs with a 1:28.939 to topple his team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the top.

  109. Post update

    bbc

    Here's the standings towards the end of final practice.

  110. Post update

    James Allen

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "The unflappable bird is still down at Turn Three, as Felipe Massa flashes past it in the Williams."

  111. Post update

    Into the last 15 minutes of the session and drivers head in to prepare for a qualifying simulation run. Nico Rosberg heads back with soft tyres bolted on.

    Nico Rosberg
  112. Post update

    A stork-like bird, seemingly unperturbed by the hulking great machines hurtling around him, is nonchalantly standing in the gravel trap as Daniel Riccardo thunders past, the Australian clocking a 1:31.185 that is only good enough for P9.

  113. Post update

    After the off-circuit drama, both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson have had plenty of time on the circuit today.

    A little error from Ericsson sees him lock up and he spins coming out of turn 12.

  114. Post update

    There's a strong wind whistling through Albert Park at the moment and Nico Rosberg battles for control as he goes off briefly at Turn 4, but keeps things under control.

    Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo is back out and is on a flying lap, with medium tyres on his Red Bull.

  115. Get involved #bbcf1

    Nita Lewsey: My stomach is in nervous knots - so excited for the return of #F1 my money is on 2014 world champion Lewis Hamilton.

    James Bamford: Sleep has forsaken me. So is it F1 or Cricket World Cup to see me through the small hours.

  116. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton shows his teeth for the first time today as a 1:29.128 is enough to see him nudge ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  117. Post update

    A 1:30.004 for Valtteri Bottas sees him go second fastest, a tenth of a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel.

  118. Post update

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "I am getting the impression that they are so livid with the situation at Renault that they cannot bring themselves to look at the car.

    "Daniel Ricciardo is going to be going into qualifying without having completed many laps at all."

  119. Post update

    Oh dear! This is not good for Red Bull as Daniel Ricciardo stops at the pitlane exit. Marshals quickly descend on the stricken Red Bull to wheel it back to the pitlane, where the team's mechanics pull it back to the garage.

    This is not what the home crowd want to see, and it clearly not what Christian Horner and Adrian Newey want to see either. The legendary designer is covering his eyes.

    Daniel Ricciardo
  120. Post update

    Kimi Raikkonen goes fastest with 1:30.283, before Nico Rosberg dips below 1:30 to climb into P1 with a 1:29.364.

  121. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "It was already obvious after pre-season testing that McLaren-Honda were uncompetitive but the full extent of the team's troubles became clear on Friday.

    "They were 3.6 seconds off the ultimate pace and more than 2.5secs off the best of the teams behind Mercedes. That margin to Mercedes is the equivalent of a 230bhp deficit - more than the entire hybrid system is worth on an F1 car.

    "The engine is clearly a major issue, and judging from those numbers the hybrid system appears to be barely working. But that suggests something else major is awry, too."

  122. Post update

    Jenson Button has slapped soft tyres on to the McLaren, the only driver to do so in this session with the rest on the medium compound.

  123. Post update

    A 1:31.060 sees Romain Grosjean top the timesheet as we approach the half-way mark in final practice.

    Yet to see a timed effort from Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton.

  124. A whole lot of love at Ferrari

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "I am down at Ferrari where Sebastian Vettel is pulling his overalls up and putting his helmet on and looks to be about to head out. It is quite interesting observing Vettel, seeing his interactions with the Ferrari mechanics. There is quite a jovial atmosphere here at the moment, which is quite different to what we saw towards the end of Fernando Alonso's time at the team.

    "Sebastian is doing everything right would be my observation, they seem to like him."

  125. Post update

    Jos Verstappen

    Max Verstappen will be hoping for a trouble free session after battery problems cut short his time on the circuit in second practice. So far so good as he goes round in 1:31.446 to leap into P2.

    The 17-year-old will become the youngest ever F1 driver when he competes in Sunday's race, and you can watch our interview with him, where he says he "isn't scared" of the possibility of accidents and even death when competing in the sport.

    Verstappen's father Jos (above right), by the way, started five races in Melbourne.

  126. Post update

    Lotus: "Important off-road check has now been successfully carried out."

  127. Team radio

    Daniel Ricciardo reports 'really bad drivability' in his Red Bull as he heads out, but his first timed effort, a 1:32.189, is the third best time of the day so far.

    A not unusual sight as Pastor Maldonado runs off the track at Turn 9, although he has not been alone in running wide today. Romain Grosjean has also had a brief off, to add to Daniil Kvyat's wobble earlier.

  128. Post update

    Carlos Sainz is the early pacesetter as he puts down a 1:31.755 in the Toro Rosso. Fellow rookie Felipe Nasr (Williams) is second fastest, with Force India's Sergio Perez third fastest 13 minutes into the session.

  129. Post update

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "It is is looking very unlikely we will see Manor in FP3. One of the drivers, Roberto Mehri, is in his civvies at the moment, Will Stevens is in his t-shirt, not overalls, and there is not much going on in the garage I am afraid, the mechanics are watching the race on the televisions and that doesn't bode too well for getting out."

  130. Will Manor get out on track?

    Manor: "FP3 time but sadly we haven't toppled all our challenges yet. Good progress in past 24 hrs though & we are of course still plugging away."

  131. Post update

    Mercedes

    Mercedes: Ok Lewis Hamilton you're all clear - let's go!

  132. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Melbourne

    "Serious tensions are already emerging in the relationship between Red Bull and engine partner Renault. Red Bull had been looking for Renault to up its game over the winter after being left behind by Mercedes last season, both in terms of ultimate power and the efficiency of the hybrid system.

    "Red Bull chiefs Christian Horner and Helmut Marko had been told they would get at least a 30bhp gain over the winter but are now saying that the engine has stood still - which would make the deficit to Mercedes at least 100bhp - and has worse driveability. Marko said: 'Renault say the 30bhp is there, but it's not available this weekend.'

    "To heighten their concerns, Daniel Ricciardo's engine failed after just a handful of laps and it looks like the Australian has already lost one of his four allocated engines for the season. On track on Friday, the Red Bull looked off the pace - not even able to keep up with Ferrari and Williams, let alone Mercedes."

  133. Post update

    Daniil Kvyat is gingerly making his way back to pits, going off at Turn 15, but manages to limp back into the Red Bull garage.

  134. Post update

    Problems for Daniil Kvyat already as he reports over team radio that there is a issue with his Red Bull engine, not what the team wants to hear after Daniel Ricciardo had to change his engine yesterday.

  135. Post update

    Valtteri Bottas was the first to head out, along with Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Nasr and Kevin Magnussen.

  136. Fast fact

    Mercedes and Williams were the only teams to start on pole last year.

  137. Go! Go! Go!

    The track is open and a stream of cars head out. The final practice session is under way.

  138. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "Sebastian Vettel has been leading the Ferrari charge. I would expect him to be the one making that challenge to Williams on that second row of the grid."

  139. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Melbourne

    "Manor failed to get out on track at all on Friday and it may well be that they do not manage to do any running all weekend here. There are all sorts of rumours bouncing around the paddock, but Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene denied there were any issues over the engine deal, financial or otherwise, with an amusing quote on Friday, saying he had made it clear before Ferrari agreed to supply the team again 'no money, no honey'.

    "The reality appears to be that the lateness of the project has imply left them with too much to do. All the computer systems were wiped when the assets were scheduled for auction. And after the 11th-hour rescue deal, which has required chopping and changing the car to meet the new safety regulations this season, there has simply not been time to get everything ready."

  140. Post update

    Five minutes to go. Will we see a Manor car out on the circuit for the first time in Australia?

  141. Post update

    Melbourne

    Nico Rosberg and his fellow drivers may be readying themselves for third practice now but earlier some of them met the fans under the glorious Melbourne sun, with Rosberg sweet talking the crowd while signing autographs by saying: "You deserve it - the organisation here is the best all year."

    I bet you say that at all the circuits Nico...

  142. Post update

    Mercedes

    Mercedes: Traditional warm-up in progress for Nico Rosberg.

  143. Get involved #bbcf1

    Right then, time to see who is awake for those of you following in the UK.

    What, if anything, do you think we have learned so far in Australia?

    How do you see the first qualifying session of 2015 going? Whose your tip for pole and, if we expect it to be a Mercedes one-two, who will be third fastest?

    Let us know via the usual methods, on Twitter via #bbcf1, text us on 81111 (UK only) or pop a message on our Facebook and Google+ pages.

  144. What's coming up today

    Qualifying gets under way at 06:00 GMT today but first up is third practice, and we will start to see the cars rolling out on to the circuit for the one hour session in a little over 13 minutes.

  145. Post update

    Giedo van der Garde posted this statement about the decision on Facebook:

    "With respect to the interest of motorsport, and F1 in particular, I have decided to give up my legal rights to race this weekend at the Melbourne Grand Prix.

    "As I am a passionate race driver this decision has been very difficult for me.

    "However I also wish to respect the interest of the FIA, Sauber Motorsport, as well as Nasr and Ericsson.

    "My management will continue talks with Sauber early next week to find a mutually acceptable solution for the current situation that has now arisen.

    "I am confident such solution will be found and I will inform the media once done."

  146. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Melbourne

    "In a surprise to no-one within the Formula 1 paddock, Sauber have come to a deal with Giedo Van Der Garde overnight and the Dutchman has dropped his legal action against the team in Australia.

    "There are no details as yet, but for now Sauber can race here without the threat of having their assets seized or team principal Monisha Kaltenborn being arrested and Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr will be in the cars."

  147. Sauber shenanigans over?

    With practice itself a straightforward affair on Friday, it was left to events off the circuit to provide the day's drama, and what drama it was too.

    Giedo van der Garde had been involved in a legal dispute with Sauber, with the Dutch driver claiming he had a valid contract to race for the team, a claim that was backed up by an Australian court.

    Giedo van der Garde

    That led to farcical scenes on Friday, when Van der Garde rocked up at the circuit and was seen waiting to get a paddock pass sorted and then appeared in the Sauber garage wearing his race overalls and having a seat made.

    Giedo van der Garde

    Consequently, Friday ended with uncertainty over who, if anyone, would drive for Sauber this weekend. However, there has been a significant development in the matter today, as our chief F1 writer Andrew Benson explains...

  148. What the papers say

    Mercedes

    The Australian Grand Prix is, unsurprisingly, back page news in Australian newspaper The Herald Sun, with their main headline 'Silver Bullet' highlighting Mercedes' dominance in practice.

    "It took just 45 minutes for the Silver Arrows to snuff out any sign of resistance at Albert Park," said the paper's editorial on Friday practice.

    "Just when it looked as if Ferrari might have the pace to challenge Mercedes-Benz, raising the prospect of a real race in the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton rolled into action."

  149. Mercedes even better?

    Nico Rosberg's benchmark lap of 1:27.697 on Friday was more than a second faster than the best effort of Sebastian Vettel, who was third fastest for Ferrari.

    It was also just shy of being a full two seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton's benchmark of 1:29.625 in Friday practice last year.

    Ominous.

  150. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Melbourne

    Melbourne

    "It could hardly be a more perfect day for the first competitive action the new season. Bright blue Australian skies, glorious sunshine, and temperatures in the high 20Cs. The downtown skyscrapers as a backdrop, Albert Park looks at its most perfect as Formula 1 prepares to reveal what may be in store for the new season.

    "There are not too many secrets, though. Mercedes are clearly on a separate level from the rest, but the fight between Ferrari and Williams looks incredibly tight. If Daniel Ricciardo gets some miles can he bring Red Bull into that fight after a difficult Friday?"

  151. Post update

    Australian Grand Prix

    Australian Grand Prix: There's nothing like seeing the sun rise over the Australian Grand Prix circuit on F1 qualifying day is there?

  152. Post update

    Hello! Welcome to our coverage of Australian Grand Prix qualifying day.

    There was a familiar look to the top of the timesheets in Friday's two practice sessions with the Silver Arrows leading the way.

    Nico Rosberg was fastest in both FP1 and FP2, with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton second fastest and all signs point to a shootout between the two for pole today...

  153. Deja vu?

    Formula 1

    Should we just be done with it and get the Mercedes' badge stuck on to the Constructors' Championship trophy now?

    We've had just 180 minutes of track action this season and already the Mercedes look set to pick up from where they left off in 2014, as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominated Friday practice at the Australian Grand Prix, without really breaking into a sweat.

    Can anyone, ANYONE, challenge them?