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Red Bull Formula One drivers Mark Webber of Australia (left) and Sebastian Vettel of Germany (right) play cricket during a press event before the first day of the Australian F1 Grand Prix on St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne.
One contender who has never won a World title, nor a Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne, is Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber and the Australian will be at least hoping to improve on his best finish of fifth in his home race.
"This will be my eleventh Australian GP and I can't wait to get started," said the 35-year-old, who finished third in the championship last year.
Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain serves a coffee during a media event prior to the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Ferrari's former World champion Fernando Alonso, the 2006 winner in Australia, never needs any motivation but he and his team-mate Felipe Massa look like facing an uphill battle to get on the podium in their radically overhauled 2012 car.
Seven-time World champion Michael Schumacher won the last of his four Australian Grand Prix in 2004 and his Mercedes team are another who have great hopes after positive winter tests.
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany walks through the paddock prior to the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.
World champion Sebastian Vettel is understandably favourite to open the Formula One season with a victory at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend but there are strong indications he will face a much tougher challenge than he did last year.
Mirka Federer, wife Roger Federer of Switzerland, sits in a stadium suite as their twin daughters share a drink during his match against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil at the Indian Wells ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California.
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum grimaces as he is unsettled by a bouncer on day one of the second international cricket Test match against South Africa, in Hamilton.
Chelsea's old guard masterminded one of the club's greatest European escapes to reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, beating Napoli 4-1 after extra time at Stamford Bridge to edge an electrifying tie 5-4 on aggregate.
Frank Lampard's penalty 15 minutes from time made it 4-4 on aggregate to send the tie into extra time. Extra time was wide open before Ivanovic sealed the tie with glee.
Wishfull Thinking falls, unseating jockey Richard Johnson during the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase at the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meet in Gloucestershire, western England.