2003 Australian Grand Prix
|Race 1 of 16 in the 2003 Formula One season|
|Date||9 March 2003|
|Official name||LXVIII Foster's Australian Grand Prix|
|Location||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia|
|Course||Temporary street circuit|
|Course length||5.303 km (3.295 mi)|
|Distance||58 laps, 307.574 km (191.118 mi)|
|Weather||Damp at beginning, dry later, cloudy, mild|
|Time||1:27.724 on lap 32|
The 2003 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 9 March 2003 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. The race was won by McLaren driver David Coulthard, who took the final race victory of his career.
There was a lot of speculation about how the new set of rules that debuted in this race would affect Ferrari, which were the ones to cause the changes after their dominant 2002 season.
Qualifying was an all Ferrari affair, with Schumacher edging out Barrichello. Montoya took third, with Frentzen, Panis and Villeneuve putting in good performances for 4th, 5th and 6th. The McLarens had poor qualifying, with Coulthard in 11th, and Räikkönen making a mistake, and ending up 15th.
Weather conditions were changeable at the start. Räikkönen stopped for dry tyres at the end of the formation lap. Barrichello jumped the start, and would soon receive a drive-through penalty. Schumacher led at the end of lap 1, with Barrichello in close company. Montoya was 6 seconds behind in third, followed by Frentzen and Villeneuve. Panis went backwards on dry tyres, with the Renaults, Ralf Schumacher and Coulthard climbing quickly. Barrichello received his penalty, and on his in lap, who lost traction on a quickly drying track, crashed at Turn Five on lap five, followed by rookie Ralph Firman, who had driven well on his dry Bridgestones to climb to eighth by lap seven. Schumacher dropped to eighth, pitting for dry tyres, with the leaders pitting just before a safety car (caused as a result of Firman and da Matta crashing). But then Mark Webber's Jaguar, lying an impressive sixth, broke its rear suspension and stopped in an awkward place, so came out the safety car again on laps 19 and 20.
By halfway through, it was Montoya who was holding the front, followed by Kimi Räikkönen and Michael Schumacher. Renault's Jarno Trulli also fought closely until he went into the pits. Räikkönen had his turn leading the race until a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. After a wheel-to-wheel dispute with the Finnish driver, Michael Schumacher was forced onto the grass, consequently losing his right deflector, which despite not having great overall impact on the car's aerodynamics, barred him from closing on Räikkönen again and made him miss the podium for the first time since the 2001 Italian Grand Prix and ending Ferrari's 53 consecutive podium finishes. When Williams seemed to have the first victory of the year in their pocket, Montoya spun after entering the first corner too fast, with eight laps from the end and without any pressure from his rivals. Montoya returned to the track, but lost first place to Coulthard, who won what turned out to be his last race victory. Montoya was visibly frustrated in the podium with this incident that, he admitted later, was totally his fault.
|Pos||No||Driver||Constructor||Q1 Time||Q2 Time||Gap|
|3||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:27.450||1:28.101||+0.928|
|16||21||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:27.478||1:29.538||+2.365|
|19||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Cosworth||1:30.053||No Time|
|20||18||Justin Wilson||Minardi-Cosworth||1:30.479||No Time|
|2||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||58||+8.675||3||8|
|11||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Cosworth||57||+1 Lap||20|
|Ret||20||Olivier Panis||Toyota||31||Fuel pressure||5|
|Ret||21||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||7||Spin||16|
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
2002 Japanese Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2003 Malaysian Grand Prix
2002 Australian Grand Prix
|Australian Grand Prix||Next race:
2004 Australian Grand Prix