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After Monaco
Championship Standings:
Drivers
1 Lewis Hamilton 126
2 Nico Rosberg 116
3 Sebastian Vettel 98
4 Kimi Raikkonen 60
5 Valterri Bottas 42
6 Filipe Massa 39
7 Daniel Ricciardo 35
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15 Marcus Ericsson 5
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18 Pastor Maldonado 0
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20 Will Stevens 0

Constructors
1 Mercedes 242
2 Ferrari 158
3 Williams 81
4 Red Bull Racing 52
5 Sauber 21
6 Force India 17
7 Lotus 16
8 Toro Rosso 15
9 McLaren 4
10 Marussia 0
Australian GP: Illegal diffuser cars dominate Friday

F1 at Albert Park in Melbourne
Friday, March 27, 2009

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Nico Rosberg led both practice sessions Friday in his Williams Toyota car
Officially bearing the 'number 1' for the first time, Lewis Hamilton never rose higher than sixteenth quickest as McLaren's worst fears about its performance were apparently realized on Friday.

With the uncertainty of winter testing now behind, the Briton outpaced only the struggling Nelson Piquet - watched on by his famous triple world championship-winning father - and Swiss rookie Sebastien Buemi, as the three hours of practice wound down Albert Park.

The reigning world champion was also slower than his teammate Heikki Kovalainen throughout Friday.

The shadows of the early evening grew longer as Melbourne prepared for its 'twilight race' debut, leaving observers wondering if Williams has returned to top form, after Nico Rosberg headed the times in both 90 minute sessions.

Even Nakajima was fast in his Williams Toyota car
His teammate Kazuki Nakajima was also quick, but so too were the other runners (Brawn and Toyota) who are accused of using dubious rear diffusers.

Brawn were the pre-Friday favorites here, and Rubens Barrichello in the late session posted the second fastest time of the entire day.  Jenson Button's best times fell a couple of tenths shy.

Barrichello, extending his record as the most experienced veteran in the sport's history, insists the Mercedes-powered car is not only being boosted by a clever rear end.

"If you would take it (the diffuser) out completely, we would lose some time but not everything.  The car is competitive for a whole bunch of reasons," he said.

Apparently struggling are expected title protagonists BMW-Sauber, whose drivers were never inside the top ten, and Ferrari, a second off the leading pace in the ultimate session after a more promising start.

Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, had a disastrous day, stranded out on the circuit twice: first with an hydraulic problem, and finally when he spun into the gravel after putting a tire on the grass verge.

Practice 2 results

Pos

Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.053 +0.000 36
2. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.157 + 0.104 38
3. Trulli Toyota 1:26.350 + 0.297 42
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:26.370 + 0.317 30
5. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.374 + 0.321 38
6. Glock Toyota 1:26.443 + 0.390 42
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:26.560 + 0.507 33
8. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:26.740 + 0.687 19
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:27.040 + 0.987 29
10. Massa Ferrari 1:27.064 + 1.011 35
11. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:27.204 + 1.151 32
12. Alonso Renault 1:27.232 + 1.179 28
13. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:27.282 + 1.229 32
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:27.317 + 1.264 34
15. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:27.398 + 1.345 36
16. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.479 + 1.426 36
17. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.802 + 1.749 35
18. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.813 + 1.760 31
19. Piquet Renault 1:27.828 + 1.775 35
20. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.076 + 2.023 33

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