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Melbourne

The two winter tests are done and dusted. The cars have been back to their factories, dismantled and evaluated. The data has been analysed. We, of course, know nothing at all except the colour of the cars, who will sit in them and what changes in various regulations have done to their look. We've had endless interviews and soundbites from teams and drivers and we've learned nothing of value except that Bottas has had enough of playing second fiddle and plans to shed his Mr Nice Guy image and he's got chiselled features and a bovva-boy haircut to prove it. Does that mean the season opener in Melbourne next weekend is just a prelude to the season proper? Or are the teams actually ready?

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If enough people get to see it, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's press conference in Bourke Street, Melbourne this morning will go down as one of those jaw-dropping moments in politics. It was a no-holds barred, balls-out, unequivocal challenge to "communities" in Melbourne to identify and report indicators of extremism for the sake of Australia and, importantly, for their own sake. A straight-talking poli? Strewth.

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The days of Easy Rider are numbered. Around the world, gangs of criminals on motorbikes (colloquially but (usually) legally incorrectly called Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs) have, quite simply, gone too far and as they have become the face of organised crime, usually in large, sparsely populated countries, they are being targeted. While the Hell's Angels have been held up as a model, the gangs are rarely truly members. But while, these days, many Hells Angels groups are filled with ageing lawyers, bankers and wannabe bad boys, the current crop have taken over the worst traits - and business practices, investing in businesses, property and with a raft of professional advisers on retainer. One regulator has had enough and put metaphorical chains on the doors of a law firm.

A Sri Lankan man, legally in Australia, released from a psychiatric hospital yesterday morning was under arrest within hours for making threats aboard a Malaysia Airlines aircraft that had just left Melbourne. The aircraft turned back after passengers overpowered him. Australian police are in wonder at the bravery of the passengers and their resilience at the disruption of their travel.

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Now the cars have arrived at a proper race weekend, we can at last see what the cars look like, hear what they sound like and get some comparative data on this year's cars against last year's. And we can see what might be not quite right and that's a long list.

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Alonso Escapes Melbourne 2016 attribution unknownIf there is one thing that the F1 world can be pleased about, it's that the first race of the 2016 World Championship was often more like a junior kart race than top class single seater racing had become.

But an incident suggests that the halo driver protection is a terrible idea.

 

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Melbourne: the autumn leaves, the winter rain, the summer sun and a spring in the step of all in Formula One as they arrive for the start of the new season. Then it all went rather weird and it's difficult to feel ultra-pleased with Kimi Raikkonen's win in his Lotus branded Renault which is a shame because a win's a win, isn't it?

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