Today's 2009 Formula One season opener in Australia marked the debut of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) in the sport. Unfortunately, this first use of the new hybrid drive systems had mixed results. Only seven of the twenty cars on the grid were running with KERS and, in qualifying, the top result was seventh position for Ferrari's Felipe Massa. The BMW team ran one car with KERS and the other without. Robert Kubica qualified fourth fastest in the non-KERS car while Nick Heidfeld was in ninth with the KERS enabled. Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton started the race in back in 18th place but managed to work his way up to third place at the finish, the best of the KERS equipped cars. As a street course, Melbourne has limited straights where the KERS boost could be put to use. As the series moves to faster circuits in the coming weeks, KERS could prove more useful.


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