In no particular order, the moments that have wowed us the most from Formula One's time at the Australian Grand Prix.
Ralf Schumacher launches his own airline
Pictures of this shunt are some of the most iconic in Formula One. The first corner of the first lap of the 2002 Australian Grand Prix resulted in Ralf Schumacher (brother to legend Michael) ramming his Williams BMW into the rear of Rubens Barrichello’s Ferrari. The German was catapulted into the sky, sending carbon fibre flying. Eight cars were caught up in the melee, and the footage remains some of the most spectacular in modern F1 history.
Daniel Ricciardo gets disqualified
Daniel Ricciardo used the 2014 Australian Grand Prix to put the rest of the field on notice with his fierce tenacity and fighting spirit. Unfortunately, it won’t be remembered for that. Instead, the race still leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Aussie fans, with our home hero disqualified post-race for a fuel-flow issue after finishing an impressive second. It was Ricciardo’s first race with the senior Red Bull Racing team, replacing compatriot Mark Webber. The Honey Badger started on the front row after a mega qualifying performance in the wet, and fought through the race to finish behind Mercedes-Benz’s Nico Rosberg. Here’s hoping Ricciardo can repeat the feat, or better, this year – minus the disqualification.
Mark Webber stuns on debut
Australian Formula One drivers have had a mixed bag at our home grand prix. However, Mark Webber stunned the paddock with his debut on home soil. Racing for the mid-pack-at-best Minardi squad, the man who earned the nickname Aussie Grit survived the high-attrition race and a sustained attack from Mika Salo to claim a shocking fifth place. So impressive was Webbers effort that he was invited to the podium following the top three celebrations to celebrate in front of an adoring Melbourne crowd.
Ayrton Senna the qualifying master
Ayrton Senna was a master at qualifying, quickly earning a reputation for being fearsomely quick over a single flying lap. The Brazilian driver is viewed by many as the most talented racer to ever sit in a Formula One car. In 1986 he was only in his second grand prix season, driving for Lotus. Back then the Australian Grand Prix, held in Adelaide, was the season closer, and Senna once again displayed his immense talent by placing his Lotus on pole. Even more impressive is that he outclassed the faster Williams, McLaren and Ferrari cars by a huge margin. He bested Nigel Mansell in the Williams by seven-tenths of a second, and eventual race-winner Keke Rosberg by more than two seconds. Oh, and it was the first time he’d ever seen the track.
Pastor Maldonado bins it with two laps remaining
Oh, poor Pastor Maldonado. Possibly the most maligned driver in modern history. Mention his name, and most fans automatically think of his predilection for crashing. In the 2012 Australian Grand Prix the Venezuelan driver was hunting down Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for fifth place, and catching fast. There were two laps remaining and Maldonado had a serious chance at a solid haul of points. Then it all went wrong, overcooking the exit of a turn for a DNF with a crumpled Williams.