See you then ;-)
That's our lot from Shanghai, but after Daniel's latest win, we'll be back in 2 weeks' time from the scene of his last win - Baku, home of the Azerbaijan GP.
Amazing job on Saturday to get Daniel into Quali and then two double stops today to give both drivers the chance to win. Awesome job, simply awesome.
We have to give the gong to the crew in the garage, on both sides.
And how to choose that? And while the strategy guys definitely deserver a prize for their brilliant call...
Well, that was a pretty incredible race. All that remains is for us to hand out the Tag Heuer Don't Crack Under Pressure Award.
Six career wins for Daniel now.
"I can't stop smiling," admits Daniel. "That felt good!"
And that's not wrong. Every overtake was a gem. Precise, perfectly timed and surgically executed.
"Amazing job, Absolutely clinical. Clinical moves. Scary," Simon tells Daniel.
Max Verstappen finishes fifth.
Daniel Ricciardo wins the Chinese Grand Prix!!!
Daniel banged in the fastest lap on lap 55. Nice.
Bo lock-up for BOT. Furthe back ALO passes VET!
Two laps remaining!!
ALO is closing on VET who has shipped some damage to his right sidepod.
RAI fighting a nervous front end on his Ferrari.
RAI is now looking to get past BOT.
Daniel is five seconds clear of BOT. RAI is P3, 1.2s ahead of Max. HAM is P5 ahead of HUL and VET is still in P7 ahead of ALO, SAI and MAG.
RAI is in P3, 3.4s ahead of Max.
Daniel now has a 4s lead over BOT.
Max is now in P4.
Max has been given a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.
11 laps to go and the Honey Badger leads the Chinese Grand Prix!
BOT made a defensive move, Daniel didn't back out, adjusted and slotted through the narrowest of gaps and held on. Awesome.
Yes! Daniel passes BOT. Big, big move from the Aussie.
Daniel attacking BOT again.
Max says VET locked up and turned in too sharply. They're under investigation.
Max is down to P5. VET drops back and the incident has rattled him. He's passed by HUL and goes off track briefly. VET is P7.
Max attacks VET into the hairpin and they collide!! Both off track.
Boom! Daniel passes VET under DRS. P2 for the Honey Badger. The soft strategy is paying huge dividends at the moment.
And Max is past HAM! No messing about this time. Decisive dismissal.
Daniel now right on the tail of VET.
Max now lining up another assault on HAM.
"Next one is Vettel. Let's get him," says Simon Rennie.
Down the inside into the hairpin. No argument brooked. Job done.
Brilliant, just brilliant! The Honey Badger powers past HAM. Great move.
The gap is half a second.
Daniel now chasing HAM.
Max is having to fend off RAI. Does so. Good job.
And Max is forced off track. Daniel gets past his team-mate.
Max attacks HAM. It's close, very close....
Max P4 and Daniel P5.
Get in! Daniel passes RAI.
We're racing again! BOT holds off VET, HAM is third, as Max can't get close and RAI is fifth ahead of Daniel.
Max and Daniel on newer softs than rivals mediums now. HAM says his fronts are "super cold".
Unde the SC: 1 BOT. 2 VET. 3 HAM. 4. VER. 5 RAI. 6 RIC. 7 MAG. 8 HUL. 9 GRO. 10 ALO.
GAS has been into the pits for a new front wing and takes ultrasofts.
Double stop again! Both Max and Daniel in for softs.
We're under SC.
Safety Car. Debris on the track from that incident.
Oh no - the Toro Rosso drivers have hit each other. GAS into the back of HAR. GAS accuses his team-mate of leaving a gap and then closing the door.
RAI pits. No sign of that soft/ultras strategy now. He moves to mediums.
RAI attempts to fight back but VET powers past his team-mate and chases after BOT. VET all over the Mercedes now.
BOT attacks RAI and gets past in the Snail section.
RAI's times are way off now – in the 1m39s. Backing BOT into VET.
The question is how long? Can they stretch them to allow him a stint on ultrasofts at the end?
Looks like Ferrari are going to try to go long with Kimi on those softs.
RAI, who has yet to stop, now leads ahead of BOT, VET, Max and HAM.
And as he emerges, BOT sweeps past him! Good move by the Finn.
VET into the pit lane...
But thanks to a race fates lap from Max the gap has narrowed.
BOT has made his stop and rejoins ahead of Max.
The undercut hasn't worked for Daniel. He's still behind HAM.
It's all go now. HAM pits. .
And Daniel is straight in behind Max. Great work by the pit crew.
Action! Max pits - mediums on.
We haven't had a comms blackout here in Shanghai, but in reality there isn't a whole lot happening right now...
SAI pits to shed ultras. He took takes mediums.
Max now 5.4s behind BOT, Daniel is 1.4s behind HAM.
That seems a bit early, with predictions suggesting an 18-lap stint on the purple tyres and then heading to mediums.
HAR is the first ukltrasoft runner to pit, on lap 11. He swaps to mediums.
The order: 1 VET. 2 BOT. 3 VER. 4 RAI. 5 HAM. 6 RIC. 7 HUL. 8 SAI. 9 MAG. 10 GRO.
The gap from BOT back to Max is currently 3.3s. Daniel is 2.0s behind HAM.
MAG passes team-mate GRO for P9 after telling his team the Frenchman is holding him up.
Max passing Kimi: "See you ****** later, son". Pithy.
Big loser on lap 1 is PER who drops from P8 on the grid to P14.
1 VET. 2 BOT. 3 VER. 4 RAI. 5 HAM. 6 RIC. 7 HUL. 8 SAI. 9 GRO. 10 MAG.
And at the end of the lap he's up to third, past RAI who was passed by BOT. Amazing first lap for Max.
We're away and Max has made a great start! He's past HAM and up to P4. Daniel holds P6.
Cars forming up on the grid now...
The formation lap is underway.
It's fully about 24˚C hotter on track than yesterday, so a very different prospect indeed.
Well it's hard to say really as the weather has changed so much overnight that any plans based on a cool weather race have had to be re-evaluated.
What will that mean for strategies?
The four cars at the front of the grid are starting on soft tyres, whereas Max and Daniel are on ultrasofts.
16-20: 16 SIR. 17 GAS. 19 LEC. 20 ERI.
11-15: 11 MAG. 12 OCO. 13 ALO. 14 VAN. 15 HAR.
The top 10 are: 1 VET. 2 RAI. 3 BOT. 4 HAM. 5 VER. 6 RIC. 7 HUL. 8 PER. 9 SAI. 10 GRO.
We're about 10 minutes away from the start of the race so let's have a look at the grid.
Ni hao, and welcome to Shanghair where the Race Station is all set for the start of the Chinese Grand Prix.
We'll be back tomorrow for the race, so join us then.
Well, that's our lot from Qualifying in China where Max qualified fifth and Daniel sixth. Vettel takes his 52nd career pole and breaks the lap record.
Max improves to and seals fifth with a lap of 1:32.796. Daniel doesn't make a step and keeps sixth.
But VET goes quicker! 1:31.095 and pole for him.
RAI steps up and improves to a time of 1:31.182.
BOT fails to improve. HAM abandons his lap!
Here we go then - final runs.
And Daniel is in P6, 0.109 behind his team-mate.
Max is P5 with a lap of 1:31.839.
BOT and HAM are P3 and P4.
RAI sets the first-run pace in Q3: 1:31.200. He's 0.161 ahead of VET.
Daniel and Max on their out laps.
Green light - Q3 is underway.
Eliminated at the end of Q2 are: 11 MAG. 12 OCO. 13 ALO. 14 VAN. 15 HAR.
Through to Q3: 1 HAM. 2 BOT. 3 RAI. 4 VET. 5 HUL. 6 GRO. 7 RIC. 8 VER. 9 PER. 10 SAI.
Daniel though in P7 - 1:32.688. Max in P8 – 1:32.809.
HAM goes into P1 - 1:31.914.
They're all on their out laps now...
In the drop zone: 11 SAI. 12 VAN. 13 HAR. 14 GRO. 15 ALO.
RAI's current benchmark is a 1:32.286. He's 0.099s ahead of VET with Daniel a further three tenths back.
Merc and Ferrari going for softs in Q2, looking to start on those. We've gone ultrasoft.
Daniel back into the groove now - P3, with a 1:32.608. 0.4s behind P1 man RAI. Max in P5 currently with a time of 1:32.809.
Green light for Q2. Here we go...
VET quickest in Q1 - 1:32.171 – ahead of RAI, BOT, VER, GRO and HAM.
Good lap from Brendon - 1:34.013 – and he edges Pierre by just 0.088s to make it into Q2. Such fine margins in those battles.
HAR also escaped the drop, but at the expense of team-mate GAS.
Max comfortably through in P4.
And that's the lot - all the times are in. Daniel through to Q2 in P14!
SAI jumps up the order, m pushing Daniel to P14.
P13 for Daniel - 1:33.877.
The top 8 (VET, RAI, BOT, VER, HAM, PER, HUL & OCO) have all stayed in their garages.
The Honey Badger starts his flyer....
In the drop zone ahead of the final runs: 16 HAR. 17 ERI. 18 STR. 19 LEC. And Daniel, with no time as yet...
Just over 2 mins left on the clock.
Awesome turnaround by the garage crew!
Bingo!! We have fire up and Daniel leaves the garage and the pit lane.
Final prep being done on Daniel's car...
Lucky to escape that one without any damage. The rookie is off and running again.
LEC has slowed on the pit straight... Ah, he has a bit of a tank-slapper coming out of the final corner.
Engine cover going on Daniel's car. Just over 7 mins left in Q1.
Max jumps to fourth place with his first run - 1:32.932. +0.761 to VET.
Max on his out lap now.
BOT and HAM in P2 and P3 respectively. 0.447 and 0.809 behind RAI.
RAI is the quickest man so far: 1:32.474.
Max wasn't happy with his car's behaviour during FP3, so some checks being done and changes made.
Our garage crew still working at light speed, and plenty of tweaks being done to Max's car too.
SIR and LEC are the first drivers on track.
Green light - Q1 is on.
No real change in the weather. It's still 12˚C in the air and 15˚C on track. The wind has dropped a bit now though.
Getting that done in the two hours between FP3 and Quali is a big ask. It's going to be tight, but fingers crossed.
Daniel was forced out by what was a suspected turbo issue but the team has opted for a full engine change.
We're about 7 mins out from Q1 and the crew is flat out trying to get Daniel's car ready after his FP3 stoppage.
Welcome back to Shanghai where we're in a proper race against time...
That's our lot from final practice, join us in 2 hours for Qualifying.
1 VET 1:33018. 2 RAI 1:33.469. 3 BOT 1:33.761. 4 VER 1:33.969. 5 HAM 1:34.057.
And he moves up to P4 - 1:33.969. That's +0.951 to VET.
He's P9 at the moment on 1:35.451.
Max out on ultrasofts now.
VET still tops the order with 15 mins to go: 1:33.018 now. RAI in P2.
GP is clearly a bit fed up with the weather telling Max to box, as "we're not getting anywhere with these tyre temps".
Daniel has stopped on track. Looks like an engine issue. Flames and a lot of smoke.
Daniel current in P6 +1.372 to VET. Max in P13 +2.454.
The order after half an hour: 1 VET 1:33.689. 2 BOT 1:34.423. 3 RAI 1:34. 794.
No major issue aside from a huge flat spot.
Got on the artificial grass on the exit of Turn 10 and swapped ends.
Big spin for Lewis Hamilton!
Max and Daniel head out on track now. 25 mins in.
Daniel and Max the only drivers not to head out on track as yet.
No sign of the Red Bulls yet.
VET is in P1 now - 1:33.689. That's 1.1s ahead of RAI.
Just over 10 mins and RAI tops the order with a time of 1:34.794.
GAS has joined the party now.
Reasonably quiet on track at the moment. Just RAI, MAG, SAI and HUL on track currently.
So, might as well tear up all that carefully harvested data and just wing it then!
It also rained hard overnight, so the track is much different beast to yesterday.
It's heading for 10 degrees cooler on track than it was yesterday and while it was blustery yesterday it is much worse today.
The change in the weather won't be making too many engineers jump for joy today.
We have a green light and the pit lane is open. FP3 is underway.
At the moment it's 12˚C ambient and a baking hot 14˚C on track.
It's also pretty windy out there, which is making it feel a lot chillier.
All we need are some bobble hats and a thermos of tea and we'd be right at home.
Silverstone in pre-season that is: cold, damp and very, very grey.
At the moment the SIC has a bit of a Silverstone feel about it...
And welcome to the Shanghai International Circuit where we're live for final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Good whatever time of the day or night it is on your part of the planet, and welcome to the Race Station.
So we'll back next weekend from the Shanghai International Circuit - join us then.
They good news is that we've got a chance to put this behind us in just seven days, any the Chinese Grand Prix.
Obviously, it's a tough one to award this week, as our race was short, but we'll be magnanimous and hand it across to Pierre Gasly. Our sister team did well today and we're chuffed for them.
OK that's out lot from Bahrain. Just time for us to award our Tag Heuer Don't Crack Under Pressure award.
The order: 1 VET. 2 BOT. 3 HAM. 4 GAS. 5 MAG. 6 HUL. 7 ALO. 8 VAN. 9 ERI. 10 OCO.
And Pierre Gasly delivers a stunning result for Toro Rosso-Honda with fourth place in only their second race together.
And VET takes it. Great defending by the Ferrari driver. BOT is P2, HAM P3...
Final lap! Two more sectors left for BOT.
BOT attacks... VET resists. Knife edge...
VET defending for all he's worth...
It's going to be close....
2 laps to go and BOT is now within DRS range of VET!
Three laps to go and the gap between VET and BOT is now 1.3s.
of 57 and VET's lead over BOT is down to 3.7s. BOT lapping a second quicker.
He's 17.9 behind VET who is still looking good on his soft tyres with 9 laps to go.
HAM is unsure of what to do and is asking his team for advice. They tell him he needs to target laps of 1m34s or "he won't make the catch".
BOT has been give the message to close on VET. He's 5.9s behind the Ferrari driver.
VET now leads BOT by 7.3s. HAM is in P3 18.2 behind VET. GAS is now fourth ahead of MAG.
FIA reporting that the mechanic has been taken the medical centre for a full check.
Fingers crossed everything is OK down at Ferrari.
It looks like a mechanic has been hurt in that incident as well.
That's a bitter blow for the Finn who had been looking good all weekend.
RAI makes his second stop and it's a mess. Unsafe release and he stops in the pit lane.
GAS is in P6, 11 seconds clear of HUL. ALO is P7 ahead of MAG, OCO and ERI is back in the points.
Vettel leads by 4.3s ahead of BOT. RAI is P3 1.8 behind BOT and HAM is in P4, now 21.4 behind VET.
The answer is 25.2s. It could be tight...
How far is he behind VET who will likely require another stop?
HAM has gone for the medium tyres. He's going to one-stop.
VET has passed HAM. The result is the Merc crew heading out into the pit lane. HAM pits.
BOT has just been passed by BOT!
ERI has pitted and drops to P15. That boosts MAG to P6 ahead of HUL, ALO, VAN and OCO.
The order on lap 22 is: 1 HAM. 2 VET +5.1. 3 BOT. 4 RAI. 5 GAS. 6 ERI (No stop). 7 MAG. 8 HUL. ALO. 10 VAN.
He's 5.1s ahead of VET but will need to stop in due time.
We've had the first round of stops here for the supersoft starters, which means that HAM who started on used softs, leads.
MAG is the first of the top ten to pit. More supersofts.
L12. 1 VET. 2 BOT +3.3. 3 RAI +3.0 to BOT. 4 HAM +8.3 to RAI. 5. GAS +7.4 to HAM.
Oh no! It's game over for Max and for the Bulls. The Dutchman has stopped on track.
The Toro Rosso driver is having a wheel-banging battle with MAG.
VET leads from BOT, RAI and GAS is up to P4.
We're racing again. Max is now P19 and Daniel is out of the race.
Max went down the inside Hamilton at Turn 1 but as HAM ran out of room at the edge of the track the pair clashed in Turn 2 and Max's rear left caught the HAM's front wing.
Max pits - supersofts on.
Max is trying to limp back to the pits.
Oh no!! Disaster!! Daniel is out as well!
He's stopped at h side of the track.
Max has a problem. Puncture to the left rear in a tangle with HAM.
Daniel is briefly passed by GAS but he gets the position back.
And we're off.. VET holds his lead but BOT gets past RAI.
Here we go then....
Tyre news: It's used supers all the way to back P9 where HAM has used softs. Then it's softs for everyone bar HAR, VAN and GRO who has supers.
The formation lap is underway.
And from 16-20: 16 GRO. 17 ERI. 18 SIR. 19 LEC. 20 STR.
From 11-15 we have: 11 HAR. 12 PER. 13 ALO. 14 VAN. 15 VER.
The grid from 1-10 looks like this: 1 VET. 2 RAI. 3 BOT. 4 RIC. 5 GAS. 6 MAG. 7 HUL. 8 OCO. 9 HAM. 10 SAI.
To be a little more specific - with the sun now set and the floodlights on we have a track temp of 33˚C and an air temp of 28˚C.
Just enough time here to give you weather update – it's still warm, it's still dry – and to tell you about the grid - Dan's 4th, Max 15th.
hello and welcome to the Bahrain International Circuit, where we're about 10 minutes away from the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Right, that's our lot for this evening. Join us again tomorrow at shortly before 6pm local time in Bahrain when we'll be live for the Bahrain GP.
Though we're pretty sure Max's tactics will simply rely on just driving round whatever obstacles he comes across!
Max will start in P15 and we'll see what strategic options the team considers to boost him up the order tomorrow.
In the end Daniel's first-run time was good enough to get him P5 in quali and P4 on the grid.
That means that Daniel settles for P5, though he will start fourth when Hamilton takes his grid drop.
But HAM fails to improve and takes P4.
BOT puts in a good lap to claim P3 with a time of 1:28.124.
He's the only man to dip below 1:28 and claims his 51st career pole four 0.043s ahead of RAI.
And it's VET who comes out on top with a lap of 1:27.958.
Here we go then... final runs!
Then it's GAS, SAI, OCO, HUL and MAG.
Daniel is in P5 after his first run 1:28.410.
HAM takes P3 with a lap of 1:28.220. BOT is P4, 1:28.316 and....
VET takes P1 but there's a mistake and a cloud of dust and that lets in RAI who takes provisional pole with a time of 1:28.101.
Everybody on track now bar HUL, MAG and OCO. Looks like they'll do just one run each.
And now Daniel makes his way out into pit lane to join the action.
VET heads out track. Ferrari hold RAI for a few moments and then he too is released.
Q3 in underway. Here we go then...
So, ahead of Q3 just a reminder that wherever HAM finishes he will drop five places on the grid due to that overnight gearbox change.
Good stuff from Pierre Gasly getting Toro Rosso and Honda into Q3 for the first time in their partnership.
Through to Q3: 1 VET. 2 HAM. 3 RAI. 4 BOT. 5 RIC. 6 HUL. 7 MAG. 8 SAI. 9 GAS. 10 OCO.
Daniel progresses in P5 with that time of 1:28.962.
So the drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 are: 11 HAR. 12 PER. 13 ALO. 14 VAN. 15 Max Verstappen.
PER in P11 is just over 0.2s behind the current time of P10 team-mate OCO.
Oh wait... scratch that - HAM has just headed out on track.
Top four (VET, HAM, RAI and Daniel) staying in the garage for the final runs.
GAS doing a great job for Toro Rosso - he's P6 at the moment, 1:29.836, 0.845 behind BOT.
But he's soon dropped a place as HAM takes P2 with a lap of 1:28.458.
And Daniel takes P3 with a time of 1:28.962.
VET takes P1 with his first flyer: 1:28.341. RAI can only manage 1:28.515.
Daniel on track now.
First car on track is VET. He's followed by SAI and HUL.
We're green for Q2.
So Daniel and Max go through to Q2 - Max in P4 (1:29.374) and Daniel in P5 (1:29.552).
A big mistake for GRO though on his lap. Take that out of the equation and he might have been closer to team-mate MAG who goes through in P7.
ALO squeezes through by dint of having set a time of 1:30.530 before GRO set the same time.
So tight between in the battle for P15. In fact impossible to separate!!
But at the end of Q1 the drivers eliminated are: 16 GRO. 17 ERI. 18 SIR. 19 LEC. 20 STR.
Leclerc has had a spin and the yellows come out, which hurts everyone behind him...
Daniel sticking with that 1:29.552. All those above him also staying garage-bound.
Daniel sticking with that 1:29.552. All those above him also staying garage-bound.
In the drop zone ahead of the final runs are: 16 GRO. 17 ALO. 18 SIR. 19 LEC and 20 STR.
Up and running again in Bahrain.
And Daniel is P6 with a time of 1:29.552.
HAM is P5 1:29.396.
Max is in P4 at the moment with a time of 1:29.374.
So with the clock stopped at 5m25s to go RAI lead on 1:28.951. VET is P2 1:29.060. BOT P3 1:29.275.
His RB14 is being recovered - albeit slightly clumsily.
Max went into the barriers nose first and there's substantial damage to the left front suspension.
He hit the barriers hard but is fine, though the same can't said for the airwaves, which he's turned pretty blue.
Looks like he got out of shape out of the first corners and spun off at Turn 3.
Max has crashed!!
The order: 1 RAI 1:28.951. 2 VET 1:29.060. 3 BOT. 4 VER. 5 HAM. 6 RIC.
Daniel takes P6: 1:29.552.
Max into P4 behind BOT with his first lap - 1:29.374.
Max and Daniel are on track now.
VET slots into P2 - 1:29.060.
RAI, who has been quick all the way through practice, takes P1 on soft tyres with a time of 1:28.951.
VET and RAI on track now in a posse of drivers that includes both Haas drivers, both Williams cars and BOT.
LEC is in P1 as the first three times appear. 1:31.775 for the Sauber driver.
Wait... we've got three brave souls out there: HAR, ERI and LEC. We're up and running.
Nothing. Not a car in sight.
Pit lane open. And...
So we're all set for Q1. 3 mins to go...
That's about 4˚C lower than the end of FP3 when Max and Daniel took P2 and P3 in final practice behind RAI.
No surprise there, then. But more specifically we have an air temp of 28˚C and a track temp of 32˚C.
It's dry. And dusty. And sort of warm.
Which gives us time to give you a quick weather update.
We're about 10 minutes out from the start of Q1.
Welcome back to the Bahrain International Circuit where the sun is setting and we're all set for Qualifying for the Bahrain GP.
We'll be back for quali in a couple of hours - join us then.
So RAI tops FP3 with a lap of 1:29.868. Max is P2 +0.525 and Daniel P3 +0.584.
Daniel into P3 - 1:30.452.
Max jumps to P2 with his quali lap - 1:30.393.
Daniel just leaving pit lane - same compound.
Max on track now on supersofts...
10 mins left in the session now and it's 1 RAI 1:29.868. 2 HAM. 3 VET. 4 BOT. 5 Max Verstappen 1:30.924. 6 Daniel Ricciardo 1:32.008.
Daniel is currently in P6, 2.1s off the pave and behind HAM.
Max is in P4 with a lap of 1:30.924, which is 1.056 behind RAI.
That's 0.851 ahead of VET. BOT is in P3.
We're 45 mins in now and RAI is in P1 with a time of 1:29.868.
Daniel now on track. And Max too.
BOT is in P1 as we pass the 30-minute mark with a lap of 1:30.781.
There are plenty of cars on track now though as we approach the half hour mark.
Red Bulls staying the garage at the moment.
No one on track now...
Not exactly useful territory when it comes to prep for quali.
We're in the the mid-afternoon, so its still sunny and baking hot out there, with a track temp of 40˚C...
So, 5 mins in and ALO is the only man on track.
Daniel on track early.
FP3 is underway.
But the big news ahead of FP3 and quali is that no matter where champ Lewis Hamilton qualifies he'll be moving back 5 places owing to a change gearbox overnight.
Daniel didn't get a clean run and had topped FP1 so we can expect to be a bit closer today.
Top spot went to Kimi Raikkonen with a time of 1:29.817 32. He was followed by VET, BOT, HAM and then Max (1:30.745 +0.928) and Daniel 1:30.751 (+0.934).
In FP2 yesterday, which, given that it's the only practice session held in similar conditions to quali or the race, is the best indicator we'll get of pace...
We're about nine minutes out from the start of the session.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Sakhir and the Bahrain International Circuit, where we're live for FP3 at the Bahrain GP.
We'll be back in a couple of weeks' time from the equally awesome Bahrain Grand Prix. Join us then.
That's it then - we're off to enjoy a last bit of Aussie hospitality before the plane home. Hard life...
And this time we're going to hand it to Daniel and his engineer Simon Rennie. Cool, calm and collected throughout they married pace to precision and got the season off to a solid start.
Right, we're back from sundry press conferences. That's our lot from here in Oz. All that remains is for us to award our Tag Heuer Don't Crack Under Pressure Award.
HAM's 2nd gives him is an eighth podium finish in Australia while for Raikkonen, third place marks his sixth visit to the podium here in Melbourne.
Mad stat, but that's Daniel's 47th top-five F1 finish.
That's win number 48 for Vettel.
1 VET. 2 HAM. 3 RAI. 4 Daniel Ricciardo. 5 ALO. 6 Max Verstappen. 7 HUL. 8 BOT. 9 VAN. 10 SAI.
Alonso is fifth and Max Verstappen finishes in P6.
Hamilton has to settle for second place. Raikkonen manages to hold off Daniel and the Honey Badger takes fourth, a repeat of his 2016 result.
That's it! Sebastian Vettel wins the Australian Grand Prix.
Two laps left!
Daniel sets the race fastest lap 1:25.945 - a second quicker than anyone else.
L:53: HAM has reeled in VET again. He is just 1.0s behind now.
HAM now 2.9s behind VET. He's got to start all over again. 10 laps left.
HAM says he's "going for it" and attacks... and promptly locks up. Oooops.
Simon telling Daniel to have a think if he wants to attack RAI or "chill out" until the last laps. "I don't want to let him breathe," says Daniel.
In the battle for P5, ALO, Max and HUL are covered by 1.7s.
Max just 0.6 behind Renault-powered ALO.
VET responds, dragging his Ferrari out of DRS range.
HAM now putting VET under some pressure. 0.9s the gap.
Daniel pushing RAI hard now...
Daniel is 0.7s behind RAI now.
VET holds the lead ahead of HAM, RAI is still P3 but with Daniel pushing hard and Max is in P6 behind ALO.
We're racing again!
And now the VSC has been replaced by the real thing.
So now, VET leads ahead of HAM and RAI, with Daniel fourth.
Looks like they might have had a wheel nut issue.
Ah looks like there was a problem in GRO's stop. The front left gunner was signalling that all was not right with the wheel as GRO left.
Daniel pits and he too takes on softs.
Wow! VET has managed to pass HAM in the stop. The German leads.
VET pits under the VSC. Softs on.
We have a VSC in place.
Daniel Ricciardo up to the P4 now!
But it's a mirror of MAG's problem. Immediately after the pit stop he pulls over and retires!!
GRO has pitted.
MAG has a problem. He says it's engine failure. he's stopped the car at the exit of Turn 3.
SAI goes off under pressure from ALO. Just ran out of grip on fading tyres.
Max is in the pits. Softs for him too. Rejoins in P14.
If indeed we are in the window for the ultras. Vettel is still circulating in the lead and looks comfy.
So how much more life in those red tyres does he have over GRO's ultras?
Now, remember that Daniel started on supersofts. But he's also been trying to pass GRO.
And in goes the race leader. Its Softs for HAM as well.
Ham about to pit as well by the look of it.
Softs on for the Ferrari driver.
Daniel, meanwhile, is all over the back of GRO's Haas now.
Max says he thinks "there's something wrong. I have so much oversteer in the corners."
GAS slowing and crawling back to the pits. "What's happening. I'm stuck." Gearbox? Big puff of smoke from the back of his Toro.
GP urges caution on that overheating rubber. "Just make sure you're sensible now. Look after the tyres."
Max just lost the rear going into Turn 1. He's dropped to P8.
Spin for Max!
The order on 1 HAM. 2 RAI. 3 VET. 4 MAG. 5 VER. 6 GRO. 7 RIC. 8 HUL. 9 SAI. 10 ALO.
Plus the close relationship with Ferrari has resulted in a car that looks pretty competitive at this early stage of the season.
It might seem a little incongruous that he's struggling to get past the Haas. But the US team was something of a dark horse in testing.
Max complaining about tyres overheating as he chases MAG.
Now Ericsson has crawled back to the pits. Looks like trouble for him.
That's at Turn 13.
Double yellows out.
SIR has pulled over. Brake trouble it seems.
Boom! Daniel passes HUL for P7. The Badger on the march.
Looks like HAR might have flat-spotted a tyres into Turn 1, so the move was maybe necessary but worth a shot for the long run.
Well, well, interesting move by HAR. He pitted at the end of lap 1 and took on soft tyres. Looking to go to the flag?
GP urging Max to get stuck into MAG. "We don't have time for this," he says.
HAM leads the field away. RAI and VET hold P2 and P3. But has been passed by MAG, who takes P3. Daniel holds P8.
And the 2018 season is go, go, go! (as a famous old-time commentator might have said)
Cars lining up on the grid...
The formation lap is underway in Melbourne!
The idea being that if a car gets detection on the approach to Turn 11 it should be able to get closer and try a move in Turns 13/14.
That new zone has a detection point 170m before Turn 11 and an activation point 104m after Turn 12.
In case you missed it, race officials have added a third DRS zone here in a bid to give the drivers more chance to pass on a track on which overtaking is notoriously tricky.
Seven minutes out now...
And from 16-20: 16 HAR. 17 ERI. 18 LEC. 19 SIR. 20 GAS.
From 11-15: 11 VAN. 12 PER. 13 STR. 14 OCO. 15 BOT.
The Finn qualified 10th but the damage to his car necessitated a change of gearbox, so he takes a five-place drop.
Elsewhere, Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas will start from P15 following his crash yesterday.
Max will start from fourth place on the grid. That's a career-best Australian GP starting position for the Dutchman.
So he'll start from P8.
After qualifying fifth yesterday Daniel has taken his 3-place grid penalty for failing to stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU under a red flag in FP2.
So let's start with the first grid of the season.
That gives us a bit more time to give you a heads up on stuff that's been happening.
All the races starts have been pushed back to 10 past the hour this year to give broadcasters a bit more build-up time. So we'll get underway at 16.10 local.
First thing to note is that we're coming to you a little earlier than usual as the race doesn't start for another 20 minutes.
Yep, the RS is open for business and looking forward to what looks like being a thrilling race to kick off the 2018 season.
And welcome to our live coverage of the Australian Grand Prix.
Good afternoon (or early morning for those of you in Europe and some time yesterday for those in North America)...
So Max set to start P4 and Daniel set to start P8 after his penalty. It's going to be a good one. Join us tomorrow for the Round 1 of 2018, the Australian GP.
Max qualified fourth 1:21.879 and Daniel is fifth 1:22.152. Max just four hundredths of a second behind VET.
RAI takes P2 with a time of 1:21.828 edging VET by 100th of a second.
Whoooah. Well that Mercedes engine mode seems to be working well. HAM improves by more than eight tenths to claim pole. His time 1:21.164.
1. HAM 1:22.051. 2 VET 1:22.085. 3 Max 1:22.112. 4 RAI 1:22.251. 5 Daniel 1:22.386.
But the Ferrari's now cross the line and VET takes P2 1:22.085. RAI is P4 ahead of Daniel who sits on 1:22.386. No one else set a time.
Max takes P2 - 1:22.112.
HAM in to P1 with his first effort. 1:22.051, same time as his Q2. best.
We're up and running again.
Debris still been cleared and still under red flag. BOT just got all out of shape into Turn 2 and lost control. Hit the wall side on and hard on the exit.
BOT is fine and out of the car.
Whoah BOT has crashed heavily!
Q3 is on. How low can that pole time go? We're already a couple of tenths up on last year's time.
So who lost out: 11 ALO. 12 VAN. 13 PER. 14 STR. 15 OCO.
Daniel takes P6 with his run one time of 1:22.897 after abandoning his second outing.
Max through in P4 on a time of 1:22.416 from his second run. That put him ahead of RAI.
VET tops the order this time with a second-run time of 1:21.944. HAM in P2 on his earlier time of 1:22.051 ahead of BOT.
That's it Q2 is over.
Daniel has abandoned his run as Sainz is the now closest to him but still almost two tenths off.
Final runs beginning now.
There are currently eight tenths between Daniel in P6 and ALO in P7.
That's 0.222 ahead of P11 man STR. Behind STR are GRO, PER, HUL, OCO.
Heading toward final runs now in Q2. P10 currently is VAN on 1:24.008.
Both Max and Daniel in the garage now.
The current order: 1 HAM 1:22.051. 2 RAI 1:22.507. 3 VET. 4 BOT. 5 Max 1:22.830. 6 Daniel 1:22.897. 7 ALO. 8 SAI. 9 MAG. 10 VAN.
Looks like Max is on supersofts. 1:22.830 P1 but then he's demoted by RAI who delivers a time of 1:22.507.
Q2 begins and Max and Daniel straight into action.
Also out are: 17 ERI. 18 LEC. 19 SIR. 20 GAS.
But it was only enough to boost him to P16. He's eliminated, just 0.029s behind OCO.
At the other end of the order, HAR who had been in P20 put in a great final lap...
HAM is quickest 1:22.824 ahead of RAI and VET.
Just over 100th of a second between the Bulls in Q1.
Q1 done and that's Max comfortably through in P4 with a time of 1:23.483, Likewise, comfy for Daniel, P5, 1:23.494.
Top 5 all staying put in the garage at the moment. That's now HAM 1:22.824, RAI, VET, Max and Daniel. Max improved to 1:23.483.
SIR is currently just 0.039s off P15 man OCO.
From 16-20 at the moment we have: 16 SIR. 17 GAS. 18 STR. 19 LEC. 20 HAR.
We've got 5 mins to go in Q1, so a look at the eliminations spots...
VET now takes P3 with a lap of 1:23.348.
HAM now into P2 - 1:23.263. Daniel out to third ahead of Max.
RAI still at the top of the order – 1:23.096.
Max follows him, P3 1:23.756.
P2 for Daniel 1:23.509.
Max crosses the line a moment later to start his...
Daniel starts his flyer...
Daniel and Max on track now.
RAI takes P1 ahead of VET. 1:23.616 the Finn's benchmark.
HUL puts the first time on the board, on ultras - 1:25.348.
Sticking to established norms - it looks like Max and Daniel are waiting out the initial flurry of runs.
The pit exit is open. Q1 is underway.
Right, here we go....
We've got a track temp of 32˚C, up about 8˚C on FP3 and an air temp of 24˚C.
It's overcast out there but very important it is not raining.
So, we're just about five minutes away from Q1 and lo and behold, it's turning into a relatively pleasant day.
Welcome back to Melbourne where we're live for our first qualifying session of the 2018 season. Excited, much? Can't flippin' wait.
So, still all a little bit of an unknown ahead of quali. But all will become clear in two hours' time. Just us then for Q1.
Not an awful lot to read into that to be honest.
So the result: 1 VET 1:26.067. 2 RAI +2.432. 3 ERI + 2.823. 4 Max +5.613. 5 SAI +7.105. 6 Daniel +7.976.
Couple of others made the move and improved at the end: RAI takes P2 and ERI takes P3.
That hasn't gone down well with ALO who is having a right old moan at McLaren about not running again.
So the track was definitely ready for slicks but caution prevailed in most quarters.
That's 5.6s quicker than Max.
It's going to be VET who tops the timesheet though. His ultra lap yields a time of 1:26.067.
He still goes quickest! 1:31.680.
Max out again - on inters. Simon tells him: "no heroics required, mate". Just a test of conditions as they stand.
VET is on track on ultras.
SAI has just gone quickest - 1:33.172.
Five mins left on the clock.
Looks like McLaren are going to try an ulrasoft run.
So still pretty wet in places out there.
BOT told by his engineer that "the worst is a river at Turns 12 and 13".
Maybe sensible in the circumstances - no one wants a pre-Quali rebuild on their hands due to an off 5 mins before the end of FP3.
The track looks very dry at this stage but it must feel very different in the car as no one is making a move to slicks.
Pretty quiet out there at the moment just the Williams drivers and VAN on track, still on inters.
18 mins left on the clock. Are we going to get some slick tyre running?
BOT into P1 with a 1:34.174 - still inters at the moment.
Alonos moves to the top of the order now: 1:34.298.
Max in the garage and out of the car.
Alonso is reporting that he feels his current runs should be the last on inters. Slicks ahoy!
So it's Max still on top with that lap of 1:35.548.
It's 24˚C on track so it's still relatively warm out there. 20˚C in the air.
Chunks of time being found as the track dries.
Daniel meanwhile has jumped up to P2 now. Max P1 with a lap of 1:35.548 and Daniel P2 on 1:37.907.
Simon asks for a conditions report and an icy cool Max replies: "They're OK, just a bit slippery on the white lines out of 9."
But Max caught the rear beautifully to avoid a mishap.
FP3 not the session you really want to slide into a barrier at a couple of hundred kilometres an hour. Your mechs wouldn't thank you.
Max on the inters too and perilously close to an off bit he holds it well. P1 - 1:37.419.
Max and Daniel both on track now.
HUL is on the inters and has gone quicker again - 1:39.082.
We have a time on the board. HUL - 1:40.863.
Ooooh wait, car on track! It's HUL, who almost immediately has a big moment and a near miss of the walls.
There we go - weather conversation done.
And for Quali? Improvement expected through the afternoon. 40% chance of light showers.
And we are likely to have one or two light showers during the rest of this session.
According to F1 weather diviners, the radar shows the main cell of rain has passed...
Let's give you weather update.
As we've come from Europe where the only topic of conversation for the past month or so has been about beasts from the east and mini-beasts....
Nobody's going out on track.
Well, the weather is improving a bit at Albert Park - at least its stopped raining. The track is still pretty wet though and that means only one thing...
So Daniel's will drop three places on the grid for tomorrow's race.
Daniel broke the minimum time set by FIA ECU during the red flag period in FP2 yesterday.
Also putting a dampener on proceedings is the news overnight that Daniel is going to get a grid penalty for tomorrow's race.
We've had heavy, heavy rain overnight and this morning after two perfect days in Melbourne and FP3 is off to a fairly greasy start, with full wets all round.
A decidedly damp final practice.
But the 2018 F1 season kicks of here, with final practice for the Australian Grand Prix.
It's been a long winter of no F1 but the RS is back and (a little tardy)...
This is the first post for the 2018 Race Station!