M A R C H 3, 2 0 0 2
SCHUMACHER WIN AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX
Michael Schuamcher started the Australian Grand Prix from second on the grid and went onto take his 54th career win at the Albert Park circuit.
The event began with Barrichello leading from pole position but it all went wrong almost immediately. The start was a mess, with Ralf Schumacher, who made a strong start from third on the grid, smashed into the back of Rubens Barrichello who weaved and bobbed defending his position. Schumacher seemed to miss his breaking point, striking the back of the Ferrari and launching himself into the air and out of the race along with several others including Barrichello.
David Coulthard took the lead after the carnage while the Mercedes-Benz safety car joined to pick up the McLaren driver and the rest of the pack including Jarno Trulli, Michael Schumacher, Juan Montoya, Eddie Irvine, and his team mate Pedro De La Rosa completing the top six.
The race resumed four laps later when the safety car peeled off into the pits but soon after Montoya ran wide heading to turn three after trying to pass Jarno Trulli's Renault, which Schumacher passed. Schumacher was moved to somewhat critical of the Italian after he had taken the checkered flag, stating that the 'slower cars' was holding his time and that his actions were 'fair but inappropriate.'
With seven laps into the race, Coulthard was busy putting a lead until Trulli lost control of his Renault at turn two trying to fend off the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher So all that hard work for Coulthard was just washed away and the safety car was once again out on the track.
Moments before the restart, David Coulthard lost his lead when he decided he wanted to take a little drive on the grass which enabled Michael Schumacher to gain control of the race but that didn't last very long for Montoya out braked the German into turn one to take the lead.
David continued to run off the track, perhaps it was an indication that he was experiencing some sort of technical problems with his McLaren.
Now 33 laps remaining, Michael Schumacher leading by 17 seconds ahead of Montoya, Raikkonen, Webber and the struggling Coulthard. It all came to an end with only 23 laps for Coulthard. He retired due to mechanical problems
So the race positions were set once again towards the end with Schumacher leading, Montoya, Raikkonen, Irvine and Webber who was fighting off the attacks of Salo in his Toyota who spun out.
For Mark Webber it was a delight to bring home his KL Minardi in fifth position, the teams first points paying finish since 1999.
Next race, Malaysia.
Australian Grand Prix 2002 - Driver Interviews.
Question : Michael, very, very frightening first corner accident. What did you see? You were right in the middle of it.
Michael Schumacher : Obviously I didn't see everything, only what happened in front of me, and that was Ralf had a collision with Rubens. I don't actually know what was going on, whether he had a problem or whatever, but I guess he would have told you in the meantime and then it was just cars flying everywhere, I was afraid to turn into the first corner because I saw suddenly cars flying next to me so I decided, same as Kimi, to go straight on and have a nice ride through the grass, which probably was a good decision otherwise I would have been hit, I guess.
Q : We lost David Coulthard at the second restart, he went for a ride over the grass, a longer one than yours, and then a big fight with Juan Pablo?
MS : I was quite an interesting one, especially with Juan, because we had a straight fight with Raikkonen's car, Juan was closing the doors basically everywhere and not giving any chance, which in a slower car I don't know whether that was sort of fair but I didn't seem to be appropriate at the situation, but I enjoyed the fight obviously with him, it was a bit back on forward. I think as well the tyres played a little bit of a role in that; initially I struggled to get the tempurature in where these guys seemed to get faster on top of tempuratures but then it went the other way around, their tyres went off and my one came in so I had a nice chance to battle a little bit and finally got first position for us, which was indeal. I wasn't really though to be before we came here, but we're obviously nicely surprised that we have been able to do this job this week-end.
Q : Very good job, too; thank you, Michael. Juan Pablo, talk me through your side of your battle with Michael.
Juan Pablo Montoya : I think it was pretty good. I managed to get by him in the restart and then for a couple of laps I thought we were going to be competitive and so as soon as he got temperature there is nothing to do, it's just way too fast, and it was a matter of time: I was holding him and holding him and holding him until he was going to point the way past, either I was protecting the line or giving him the line and it drove around the outside like I was parked there, and they just drove into the distance.
Q : Talking of tyres, on the grid we saw a shot of your front right-hand tyre. When they took the tyres blanket off, it looked as though it had been blistered; is that the case?
JPM : No, no. As far as I know, no.
Q : There seemed to be bubbles on the surface of the tyre?
JPM : No, problem as far as I remember.
Q : Thanks very much, Kimi, welcome to the press conference. Great race, third place on your debut for McLaren, but you had a very strange start to the race. Tell us about your first pit stop: you came in very unplanned. what happened?
Kimi Raikkonen : On the start something went under my car, on the front part of my car, and I just didn't have anything to do, it just went straight over the sand and luckily I got the turn around and came back on the circuit and then on this first lap, first coner accident, I got something also behind my back, between the back, and came in and take it away and start from the last place and end up in the third.
Q : Your second pit stop was rather scheduled and ordinary but you came out and very nearly got in front of the man from Williams, Mr. Montoya, but then went off at the first corner, why was that? You just braked too late?
KR : I went a bit too quick and just went on, unfortunately, maybe lost second place but that's racing and maybe better luck next time.
Q : Thank you very much. Back to you, Michael. Malaysia next tiem out. Is that going to suit you because I presume it's going to be rather hotter than it is here people always seem to say: Bridgestone better in the cooler temperatures and Michelin in the warmer one. What do you reckon?
MS : Certainly there was a stage last year that was the case but I would say that we can resolve this kind of situation on our side and improve quite a bit. I reckon anyway - and we have seen it last year, we have been very competitive lere last year, and suddenly we started to battle in qualifying with Ralf so I would assume that;s going to be a much tighter battle from now on. Actually, if you remeber in Brazil, he was giving me a very hard time and driving away so things can change very quickly around and I wouldn't see what we have seen today as a real measurement of what happens in the future. I like to say a word about my team mate. Obviously I am sorry for him because it could have benn a nice race for him but fortunately that's part of racing and I'm sure he is going to have better luck in future.