This weekend marks the first round of the 2016 Formula 1 season. To celebrate, here are the eight craziest Australian Grands Prix.
2009 – Brawn blows everyone away
It wasn’t even meant to be on the grid, but Ross Brawn’s last-minute thrown-together Brawn BGP 001 dominated the opening round of the 2009 season. The team locked out the top two positions in qualifying and the race and set up Button’s first, and to date only, championship win.
1995 – Crash kings
The final Grand Prix to be held on the streets of Adelaide will be remembered for two crashes. The first was the dreadful accident that almost killed Mika Hakkinen, emergency trackside procedures saving the Finn’s life. The second accident was thankfully much more amusing than dangerous, David Coulthard locking up while entering the pit lane and ending his race in the pit entry barriers.
1996 – Brundle flies; Villeneuve stars
The first Melbourne Grand Prix started with a bang when Martin Brundle launched over the back of Coulthard into turn three on the first lap and turned his Jordan into a canoe. The race was also notable for rookie Jacques Villeneuve starring in his debut race, scoring pole position and fastest lap but having to give best to team mate (and eventual champion) Damon Hill.
2014 – Ricciardo is stripped
Twenty-fourteen saw the introduction of the new-generation hybrid power units, and they put the drivers to a massive test thanks to a downpour in qualifying. Local boy Daniel Ricciardo starred in his first race for Red Bull, wrestling his car to second place on the grid. It was a position he held at the chequered flag, only for to be excluded in post-race scrutineering thanks to a fuel flow irregularity.
1998 – McLaren messes up
McLaren absolutely dominated the 1998 race, its Adrian Newey-designed MP4-13 lapping the entire field. Unfortunately, the team didn’t get to enjoy much positive press as the race was marred by McLaren team orders, David Coulthard moving over and handing the win to team mate Mika Hakkinen to howls of protest from fans and race organisers.
2002 – First corner melee helps Mark
Another action-packed season opening, with Ralf Schumacher sailing over the head of Rubens Barichello and triggering chaos behind, eight cars being eliminated on the first corner. The attrition continued, allowing local boy Mark Webber to score a fairytale fifth place on debut in the woefully outpaced Minardi.
1986 – Mansell tyre explodes
One of the most dramatic season finales in the history of the sport, three drivers, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost, entered the race with a chance of winning the world championship. Mansell scored pole position before slipping back in the race, but even with Piquet leading his third place would secure him the title, before a spectacular tyre blowout eliminated him from the running. This caused Williams to pit team mate Piquet as a precaution, but despite a late charge Prost would secure his second world championship.
1994 – Schumacher plays dirty
Heading into the final round of the season, Michael Schumacher led Damon Hill by a single point. Schumacher led the race until he ran wide on lap 36, damaging his car; Hill, following closely but unaware of Schumacher’s problem, tried to duck up the inside of Schumacher only for the German to turn in and take out Hill, thus securing the first of seven world titles.
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