How Hamilton won in Melbourne

PUBLISHED: 14:41 16 March 2008 | UPDATED: 22:10 26 October 2009

Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory in Australia Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren,com

Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory in Australia Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren,com

LEWIS Hamilton claimed the fifth grand prix victory of his career in Melbourne earlier today (Sunday). The 23-year-old from Herts won an eventful season-opening Australian Grand Prix around the Albert Park track. He crossed the line more than five seconds

Lewis Hamilton on track in Melbourne

LEWIS Hamilton claimed the fifth grand prix victory of his career in Melbourne earlier today (Sunday).

The 23-year-old from Herts won an eventful season-opening Australian Grand Prix around the Albert Park track.

He crossed the line more than five seconds ahead of BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld to get his Drivers' World Championship campaign off to a flying start.

Here's a lap-by-lap guide to how the former Stevenage schoolboy won today's race.

Lewis Hamilton driving around the Melbourne track

Lap 1: On pole position for the seventh time in his Formula One career, Lewis Hamilton makes a clean start to lead Robert Kubica and McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen into turn one.

Felipe Massa spins out of fourth and hits the wall. He rejoins and pits at the end of the lap.

Nico Rosberg makes a good start to lie fourth, from Nick Heidfeld and Jarno Trulli.

Lewis Hamilton with the Melbourne skyline in the distance

Sebastian Vettel and Giancarlo Fisichella tangle at the first turn - both drivers retire immediately.

Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson drop out after banging wheels - and local hero Mark Webber also sustains terminal damage in the opening-lap joust.

The safety car is deployed.

Behind Trulli, Rubens Barrichello lies seventh from Kimi Räikkönen, up from 15th, Fernando Alonso, David Coulthard, Takuma Sato, Nelson Piquet, Timo Glock, Sébastien Bourdais and Adrian Sutil, who started from the pits after switching to a back-up engine and chassis.

Lewis Hamilton holds aloft his latest trophy

Kazuki Nakajima pits for repairs at the end of the lap and rejoins.

Lap 2: Massa pits again.

Lap 3: A fine restart by Hamilton.

Lap 4: Hamilton laps in 1 minute 28.614 seconds and leads by 2.2 seconds.

Lap 5: Hamilton ups his pace and a 1m 28.556s puts him 2.6 seconds clear.

Lap 6: Hamilton pulls even further clear after lapping in 1m 28.513s.

Lap 7: The leader goes faster again with 1m 28.412s. He is 4.3 seconds clear of Kubica.

Lap 10: Hamilton leads Kubica by 7.6 seconds. Kovalainen is a lonely third, from Rosberg, Heidfeld, Trulli, Barrichello, the close-following Räikkönen, Coulthard and Alonso.

Lap 13: Hamilton posts a 1m 28.007s to stretch his lead to 9.4 seconds.

Lap 14: Hamilton dips into the 1m 27s.

Lap 15: Hamilton clocks 1m 27.750s.

Lap 16: Hamilton laps in 1m 27.590s. Kubica pits.

Lap 17: Hamilton with 1m 27.484s leads Kovalainen by 14.7 seconds.

Lap 18: Hamilton pits and rejoins fourth, behind Heidfeld. Kovalainen leads.

Lap 19: Räikkönen passes Barrichello for sixth. Bourdais pits.

Lap 20: Räikkönen - who started on the softer option tyres - starts setting personal bests. Trulli pits to retire.

Lap 21: Rosberg and Heidfeld pit from second and third. They rejoin almost as one but Heidfeld gains a place. He also puts Alonso between himself and Rosberg.

Lap 22: Kovalainen pits. Hamilton leads again. Coulthard pits.

Lap 23: Hamilton leads Kovalainen by 11.7 seconds. Barrichello pits.

Lap 26: Massa and Coulthard collide at the first turn. The Scot retires on the spot. With debris on the track, the safety car is deployed again.

Räikkönen dives towards the pit lane but realises in time that it isn't yet open.

Lap 28: Bourdais pits.

Lap 29: Kubica, Alonso, Nakajima and Glock all pit.

Lap 30: Massa pulls off to retire.

Lap 31: Restart. Räikkönen attacks Kovalainen and sails past, but slithers through the gravel at turn three. He pits at the lap's end. Piquet stops and retires.

Lap 33: Hamilton leads by 3.4 seconds. Sato pulls off to retire.

Lap 39: Hamilton sets a new fastest lap of 1m 27.452s. He leads by 6.4 seconds. The closest fight is for sixth, where Bourdais has Kubica and Alonso in his immediate slipstream.

Lap 43: Hamilton and Rosberg pit. Kovalainen leads and sets a new fastest lap - 1 m 27.418s. Räikkönen loses more time when he spins on his own.

Lap 44: Heidfeld pits. Glock crashes heavily. The safety car is deployed for a third time.

Lap 45: Barrichello refuels before the pit lane opens. Honda's refueller is sent flying as the Brazilian rejoins prematurely.

Lap 47: Kovalainen pits, as does Alonso. Hamilton leads from Heidfeld, Barrichello, Rosberg, Bourdais, Kubica, Nakajima and Räikkönen.

Lap 48: Kubica and Nakajima pit. Only Nakajima rejoins.

Lap 49: Restart. Barrichello is given a 10-second penalty for refuelling before the pit lane was open. Kovalainen passes Räikkönen and Alonso passes both of them.

Lap 51: Hamilton leads Heidfeld by 3.5 seconds. Räikkönen loses five seconds in the final sector.

Lap 52: Another very slow lap from Räikkönen - he is about five seconds off the pace.

Lap 54: Räikkönen crawls into the pits and stops.

Lap 56: Bourdais pulls off after his engine emits a plume of smoke.

Lap 57: Kovalainen passes Alonso but the Spaniard recovers fourth spot on the finishing straight.

Lap 58: Hamilton records his fifth Formula One win by 5.4 seconds, with Heidfeld second from Rosberg, Alonso, Kovalainen, Barrichello, subsequently excluded for exiting the pit lane when the pit exit lights were red, Nakajima and Bourdais.

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