The 5 most amazing moments of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo grinning on the podium for the 2014 Grand Prix

Tom Hounslow

Posted April 06, 2022

From Alonso’s spectacular crash and recovery, to Schumacher’s unbeaten lap record; these are some of the reasons why we love the Melbourne Grand Prix. 

Not since 2019 has the peace and tranquillity of Albert Park lake been disrupted by the roar of Formula 1 engines, the blast of pre and post-race entertainment, and cheers of thousands of passionate fans. 

Our most recent memory of the Melbourne Grand Prix was in 2020 when racegoers were dramatically turned away at the last moment as the mysterious COVID-19 virus began to spread around the world. 

But as we prepare for the resurrection of one of the greatest events on the Formula 1 calendar, we look back and remember the timeless moments that has made the Melbourne Grand Prix the world-renowned event that it is today.

The best (and worst) of the Melbourne Grand Prix 

2016 - Alonso’s spectacular crash and recovery 

March 20 of 2016 was a day that started like any other, but the events of the day would be remembered forever as the Spaniard Fernando Alonso walked away from one of the most spectacular crashes the sport has ever seen.   

Racing for McLaren Honda, Alonso’s front-left tyre collied with the back-left of Esteban Gutiérrez’s Ferrari while attempting to overtake at 300 km/h approaching turn three.  

Alonso’s McLaren was launched into the air and disintegrated as the car barrel-rolled several times before coming to a stop upside-down against the barrier. It is reported that Alonso experienced a peak of 46G during the accident. 

Astonishingly, Alonso and Gutiérrez both walked away from the incident. After the crash, Alonso said “my Mum will be watching on TV, so I wanted to be out quite quickly and say that I’m okay.” 

Nico Rosberg would ultimately go on to claim first place with a lead of eight seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton, despite home-grown hero Daniel Ricciardo claiming bragging rights with the fastest lap. 


Alonso and Gutierrez crash | Australian Grand Prix 2016

2004 – Michael Schumacher lap record 

Each year Formula 1 cars are improved in some way to improve their speed, acceleration, and braking. It’s for this reason Michael Schumacher’s 1:24.125 record-breaking lap in 2004 is so impressive.  

Having gone unbeaten for 18 years, Schumacher’s drive highlights not only his skill and precision during his prime years, but also the engineering excellence of his Ferrari.  

Schumacher began the 2004 Melbourne Grand Prix in pole position and remained in first place for the entire 58-lap race to secure victory ahead of his teammate Rubens Barrichello. 

2018 - Haas pit stop failure 

As the first all-American outfit to join the F1 circuit in more than three decades, the Haas team had a lot to prove in 2018. What unfolded at the Melbourne Grand Prix on March 25, was an unmitigated disaster.  

Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen managed to best their personal best lap times and secure 5th and 6th positions on the starting grid. Things were looking promising. 

That was until lap 20 when Magnussen pitted for a tyre change, and due to a nut being secured too loosely, Magnussen was forced to retire due to cross-threading.  

During a pit stop on lap 24, Grosjean also lost precious seconds as mechanics struggled to secure the same front-left tyre. While racing in seventh place, the Frenchman went on to retire 15 laps later after the wheel nut had broken. 


Haas F1 Team's Weekend Falls Apart | Australian Grand Prix 2018

2014 – Daniel Ricciardo disqualified 

On March 16, Daniel Ricciardo made history by becoming the first Australian driver to stand on the podium at home in a world championship Grand Prix. 

The meteoric rise of the 24-year-old Perth-born Red Bull racer was the talk of the town, especially after securing second spot on the starting grid behind the legend, Lewis Hamilton.  

It was a brilliant race where Ricciardo initially lost a place to Nico Rosberg, but managed to claw it back after Hamilton was forced to retire with engine troubles. Rosberg went on to comfortably win by more than 26 seconds as the Aussie claimed second place.  

Champagne flowed and the crowds roared in celebration to see one of our own on the podium. But the victory was short-lived.  

Ricciardo was disqualified five hours later following a breach of Article 5.1.4 of the Formula One Technical Regulations, which rule the maximum rate at which fuel may flow into the engine.


Daniel Ricciardo on his 2014 Australian Grand Prix Disqualification

2002 – Mark Webber's dream debut 

While acting as a tester and back-up driver for Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella at Benetton, Mark Webber was given a chance to replace Fernando Alonso at Minardi for the first three races of the 2002 Formula 1 season.  

Following a series of mediocre qualifying laps, Webber managed just 18th – 4.2 seconds slower than the pole-leader Rubens Barrichello. 

The race was carnage as 14 of the 22 cars were retired following a series of crashes, gearbox failures, broken wings, disqualifications, and electrical failures.  

Of the eight cars that finished, Webber finished fifth behind Eddie Irvine, Kimi Räikkönen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher – all seasoned legends of Formula 1.  

The incredible effort from the rookie was acknowledged by the other drivers, inviting him to partake in the podium celebration (resulting in a £50,000 fine).  

Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart described Webber's effort as "the most exciting two points in the history of Formula One". 

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