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Formula 1 News - March, 2008
Team-by-team summary: Sunday, Melbourne

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It was a walk in Albert Park for Lewis Hamilton, who after his 5.4 second victory over BMW's Nick Heidfeld insisted that he could have gone quicker. "There is a long way to go and we never underestimate our competition," a cautious Ron Dennis said, referring to Ferrari's disastrous day. Heikki Kovalainen looked on track for second but was shuffled down to fifth when the timing of the last safety car spoiled his planned pit stop, and after passing Fernando Alonso's Renault he let the Spaniard back through when he accidentally hit the pit lane speed limiter.



Nick Heidfeld finished second, and after qualifying second, teammate Robert Kubica was running fifth on a compromised strategy when Kazuki Nakajima - the Williams rookie who was penalised ten positions on the Malaysian GP grid for the incident - crashed into him.



A delighted Nico Rosberg's well deserved podium is the first in his career, while Nakajima was the last car to greet the chequered flag but he still collects three points due to the emaciated field, putting Williams at second place in the championship so far.



Nelson Piquet's atrocious debut weekend got even worse when he incurred terminal damage on the first lap, while Alonso made the most of the Australian chaos with fourth place. "We must improve our level of performance in qualifying and our pace in the race," he said.



The team would not confirm that Sebastien Bourdais' problem was the third Ferrari engine to fail on Sunday, but it is a fact that he missed what would have been fourth place on debut. Amazingly, although his smoky STR2 was parked on the verge, he was still classified and collects two points. Sebastian Vettel got a terrible start and exited the race in the turn one melee.



After arguably winning the 'winter' championship, Ferrari had one of its worst showings in recent history, as Kimi Raikkonen - following a couple of race-ruining driver errors - scraped a lucky point after his engine failed. Felipe Massa survived the David Coulthard shunt, and was lying seventh when his own V8 gave up. "The engines are being sent immediately to Maranello for analysis," said Stefano Domenicali, whose debut as team boss could not have been worse. World champion Raikkonen remained upbeat, knowing that the F2008 is still perhaps the fastest car in the field. "We are capable of recovering from far worse situations than this," he said.



Timo Glock left Albert Park wearing a bandage on his left wrist after his huge air-time and crash landing at the exit of turn twelve. Jarno Trulli was furious when he also had to retire with a battery that fried in the Aussie heat.



If the Japanese team was short on spare parts before the red lights went out, it is now in serious trouble, because Takuma Sato stopped on track with an unspecified failure and Anthony Davidson found himself the meat in a formula one sandwich on lap one.



A furious Coulthard turned the live airwaves blue after his terminal crash with Massa, while unlucky local Mark Webber was one of the pieces of bread in the Davidson sandwich.



Giancarlo Fisichella's car nearly rolled over as he crashed out in the turn one chaos, and it is understood that he was referring to Glock and Piquet when he blamed some 'kamikaze' rivals. Adrian Sutil's car, hurriedly built overnight by the team after Saturday's incident cracked his race chassis, stopped with a failure of the hydraulics system. "The positive is that we have another event in just one week's time where we can try again," said team owner Vijay Mallya.



Rubens Barrichello's sixth at the chequer was cancelled by the stewards, because he drove through a red light at the end of pit lane. At the same time, his crew was limping back into the garage, after the lollipop man let the Brazilian driver go when the fuel hose was still attached. On the bright side, he kept Raikkonen's Ferrari at bay for 19 laps. Teammate Jenson Button's suspension got destroyed against Vettel's car in the first lap melee.

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