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Australian Grand Prix

March 8th, 1997 - Albert Park - Melbourne, Australia

Last Year's Winner

Damon Hill

Past Winners

95-Hill

94-Mansell

93-Senna

Results

McLaren returns to winners' circle

Briton David Coulthard won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday to end a four-year drought for the McLaren team.

The 25-year-old driver finished 20 seconds ahead of the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher, with Finland's Mika Hakkinen third in the second McLaren a further two seconds back.

While it was a memorable day for McLaren team boss Ron Dennis, constructors' championship favourites Williams endured a dismal race, with both Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen failing to finish at Albert Park.

World champion Damon Hill did not even start in what proved to be a deflating opening to his title defense when his Arrows broke down during the warm-up lap after losing power.

Drivers' championship favourite Villeneuve, who started from pole position after dominating qualifying, lasted until the first corner before his car left the track.

Frentzen challenged for the lead for much of the race before his Williams span off the track in the final few laps when he was in second place.

McLaren last won a grand prix when the late Ayrton Senna of Brazil triumphed in the 1993 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide, a gap of 50 races.

Coulthard recorded his second grand prix win in his 42nd start, adding to his success in Portugal in 1995 with the Williams team.

Race Order

Place Name Country Team Time
1 David Coulthard (Britain) McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.28.718

(126.717 mph)

2 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari 1:30.48.764
3 Mika Hakkinen (Finland) McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.50.895
4 Gerhard Berger (Austria) Benetton-Renault 1:30.51.559
5 Olivier Panis (France) Prost-Mugen Honda 1:31.29.026
6 Nicola Larini (Italy) Sauber 1:32.04.758
7 Shinji Nakano (Japan) Prost-Mugen Honda 56 laps
8 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Germany) Williams-Renault did not finish
9 Jarno Trulli (Italy) Minardi-Hart 55 laps
10 Pedro Diniz Brazil Arrows-Yamaha 54 laps

Not classified

Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Stewart Ford, 49 Laps

Mika Salo (Finland) Tyrrell-Ford, 42 Laps

Jan Magnussen (Denmark), Stewart Ford, 36 laps

Jean Alesi (France), Benetton-Renault, 34 laps

Ukyo Katayama (Japan), Minardi-Hart, 32 laps

Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Jordan-Peugeot, 14 laps

Jos Verstappen (Netherlands), Tyrrell-Ford, 2 laps

Ralf Schumacher (Germany), Jordan-Peugeot, 1 lap

Eddie Irvine (Britain), Ferrari, 0 laps

Jacques Villeneuve (Canada), Williams-Renault, 0 laps

Johnny Herbert (Britain), Sauber, 0 laps

Damon Hill (Britain), Arrows-Yamaha, DNS.