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Hot competition in the midfield 08 Mar 2003

The cars are in parc ferme over night.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 8 March 2003

Seventh to sixteenth places in final qualifying for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix were hotly contested, eventually being covered by just over a second.

Surprisingly, given their speed all weekend, both McLarens and both Renaults found themselves well down the field. Fernando Alonso put his Renault in tenth, ahead of his team-mate Trulli who could only manage twelfth. David Coulthard was sandwiched between the two Renaults in eleventh place, while Kimi Raikkonen ended up fifteenth after he briefly left the track on his flying lap. The Finn's McLaren made it back to the pits with a flat rear tyre.

Rookies Antonio Pizzonia and Ralph Firman both put in 1m31s to finish in eighteenth and seventeenth places respectively. Cristiano da Matta ended up sixteenth, almost two seconds ahead of Pizzonia but over a second behind his team-mate Panis.

Local hero Mark Webber finished in fourteenth position, over two seconds faster than his team-mate Pizzonia.