2001 Australian Grand Prix


2001 Australian Grand Prix

Infobox Grand Prix race report
Type = F1
Grand Prix = Australian
Country = Australia
date = March 4



Year = 2001
Official name = Qantas Australian Grand Prix
Race_No = 1
Season_No = 17
Location = Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Melbourne, Australia
Course_mi = 3.30
Course_km = 5.303
Distance_laps = 58
Distance_mi = 191.12
Distance_km = 307.574
Weather = Sunny
Pole_Driver = Michael Schumacher
Pole_Team = Ferrari
Pole_Time = 1:26.892
Pole_Country = Germany
Fast_Driver = Michael Schumacher
Fast_Country = Germany
Fast_Team = Ferrari
Fast_Time = 1:28.214
Fast_L

First_Driver = Michael Schumacher
First_Team = Ferrari
First_Country = Germany
Second_Driver = flagicon|UK David Coulthard
Second_Team = McLaren
Third_Driver = Rubens Barrichello
Third_Team = Ferrari
Third_Country = Brazil
The 2001 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on March 4, 2001 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. It was the first race of the 2001 Formula One season.

Race

Despite rolling his car during a practice session, Michael Schumacher lead the race from pole. Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher's team mate, got off to a poor start, losing many places. While fighting his way back to the front he tried to pass Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan, knocking the German into a spin. Mika Häkkinen was racing in second at this point.

Come lap three, new Arrows driver Enrique Bernoldi retired when he crashed into the wall just after the first corner. Unfortunately, a lap later a much more violent accident occurred when Jacques Villeneuve slammed into the back of Ralf Schumacher's Williams in the braking zone coming up to the third corner, causing Villeneuve's car to launch into the air and slam into the concrete wall beside the track, throwing wheels and body work off the car before cart-wheeling through the gravel trap and coming to a halt, while Ralf Schumacher's car came to rest missing only its rear wheel. Tragically 52 year old track marshal Graham Beveridge was to lose his life when one of Villeneuve's wheels, shorn from the monocoque went through the small gap in the fence and struck the marshal at a tremendous speed. The race was not halted but the safety car was rapidly deployed and was out for many laps while the Marshall was attended to, before being taken away to the hospital where he would later die.

At the re-start Schumacher led away again from Häkkinen and Barrichello, however Häkkinen's race was to end on lap 25 when his front-right suspension broke and he speared off the track high-speed and slammed into a tyre barrier. Visibly shaken, he limped away. Some suggested he was very spooked by the crash which led to him having a difficult year before retiring at the end of the season.

Michael Schumacher continued to pull away at the front, though Rubens Barrichello's second place was quickly taken away in a move by David Coulthard's McLaren (indeed, Barrichello would later explain that he suffered from handling problems during the race). Schumacher lead until the finish, crossing the line ahead of Coulthard and Barrichello. Schumacher was delighted at first, unknowing of the death of the marshal. The top three drivers were, however, informed of this before stepping out onto the podium, and all three stood in sombre mood. No champagne was sprayed as a sign of respect to Graham Beveridge and his family. In the press conference it was plain to see that the victory meant nothing to Michael Schumacher in light of the race's tragic events.

Nick Heidfeld finished fourth for Sauber, scoring his first points in Formula One, and astonishingly his new team mate Kimi Räikkönen finished sixth in his debut race, only his 24th race in a motor car. Olivier Panis and Jos Verstappen were penalized 25 seconds for overtaking under yellow flags. (Panis finished 4th "on the road" and Verstappen 9th)

This was the first race for the Michelin tyres. However, none of the Michelins were able to finish the first race in the top 6.

Classification

Notes

* First race: Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Enrique Bernoldi

F1 race report
Name_of_race = Australian Grand Prix
Year_of_race = 2001
Previous_race_in_season = 2000 Malaysian Grand Prix
Next_race_in_season = 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix
Previous_year's_race = 2000 Australian Grand Prix
Next_year's_race = 2002 Australian Grand Prix


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