FORMULA One rookie Jenson Button started his first day as a Formula One driver with a massive smile.
It did not end exactly the way he wanted to with only the 18th fastest time after he hit a bird at more than 200km/h. But the chirpy 20-year-old was not the fastest of the newcomers in yesterday's opening practice sessions in his BMW-powered Williams.
Minardi's unknown Argentinian Gaston Mazzacane was a surprise 12th fastest.
MARK Webber was a sell-out success at Albert Park.
He had 350 T-shirts printed for his home race, even though he is not racing and was shocked to see they had all been sold.
JOHNNY Herbert got the better of his superstar team mate Eddie Irvine in their first contest at Jaguar Racing.
He won the toss for use of the spare car at Albert Park this weekend, although the way the cars broke down yesterday the Jaguar pair could have done with six in reserve.
Hot to handle
THE in-car TV pictures from Michael Schumacher's car were too hot to handle at the end of the first practice.
Ferrari team boss Jean Todt said the on-board camera had caused the car's wiring to over-heat, bringing the red racer to a halt.
WHEN you have to go. Pedro Diniz made an unplanned pit stop in practice yesterday for a toilet stop but still managed to get back out in time to run 12th quickest in his Sauber.
Sam has plan
V8 Supercar star Sam Newman slept easier last night knowing he would not start last on the grid today.
Jason Bargwanna and Craig Baird both spun out during the race and failed to finish. That means Newman will be 28th on the grid with a couple of cars behind.
He said his team had a strategy to keep in front of them, he just was not sure what it was.
THE FASTEST driver in the big thumper sports cars, Chris Chiles, thanked the F1 boys for laying lots of rubber around Albert Park before his first race. He said his mega-power March two-seater was easier to handle.