The 2002 Australian Grand Prix began with an enormous crash that wiped out eight cars. See video below of how one spectator saw Ralf Schumacher’s dramatic flight after he hit Rubens Barrichello’s Ferrari.
A spectacular start
The footage of Ralf Schumacher’s Williams flying into the air and the carnage that ensued is instantly recognisable to F1 fans:
But this film shot by a spectator shows just how violent the impact was – Schumacher flies into view with all four wheels off the ground.
Michael Schumacher takes over
That left David Coulthard in the lead, but not for very long. Michael Schumacher muscled his way past Juan Pablo Montoyas, then Jarno Trulli spun off under pressure from the Ferrari.
The marshalls cleaned up the mess left by Trulli but as the safety car pulled in Coulthard ran off the track with a car problem letting Schumacher back into the lead.
It lasted only a few hundred metres before Montoya stripped Schumacher of the lead with a puff of tyre smoke. But the superiority of Schumacher’s Ferrari told and he was soon through into a lead he would never lose. The win in the opening round set him up for world championship number five.
With the field depleted a David and Goliath battle was playing out for fifth and sixth place. The last two points-paying positions were being disputed by Mark Webber, on his debut for Minardi, and Mika Salo, in the new Toyota.
As this onboard video shows Webber gave his all but the chasing Salo was much quicker:
But when Salo caught Webber, the Finn spun allowing Webber to take an emotional two points in front of his home crowed for the team owned by Australian Paul Stoddart. Webber explained Salo had hit a spot of fluid left by Jenson Button’s wrecked Renault:
The radiator coolant was out there in turn three all race, it was from Jenson when he got hit at turn one, so he dropped that coolant and it was there for the last hour and 20 miutes. I had to keep defending down the inside so Salo couldn’t pass me. I knew he was very strong on the straight so he was going to have to work very hard to pass me!
Those vital points meant Minardi saved millions of dollars in travel costs the following year. The team even sneaked onto the podium to celebrate after the race.
Here are the highlights from the 2002 Australian Grand Prix:
Mark Webber takes the chequered flag
More Grand Prix flashbacks
- Grand Prix flashback: Australia 1986
- Grand Prix flashback: Belgium 1999
- Grand Prix flashback: Italy 2004
- Grand Prix flashback: France 1988
- Grand Prix flashback: Detroit, United States 1982
- Grand Prix flashback: Canada 1979
- Grand Prix flashback: Monaco 1972
- Grand Prix flashback: Spain 1994
- Grand Prix flashback: Malaysia 1999
- Grand Prix flashback: Australia 1995