The 2002 Australian Grand Prix was held on 3 March 2002 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit and was the first race of the 2002 Formula One season.
The Ferrari F2002 was one of the most successful Formula One cars of all time, designed by Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli. The car impressed from the very beginning and the Bridgestone tires helped Scuderia Ferrari become even more competitive, as opposed to McLaren-Mercedes-Benz and Williams-BMW, who were not happy with the performance of the Michelin tires.
The Brazilian Rubens Barrichello took pole position on Saturday’s qualifying session, his first pole position in Melbourne, with a lap time of 1:25.843. The Scuderia Ferrari driver was joined on the front row by his teammate, the reigning champion Michael Schumacher, who was five just thousands of a second slower. Unfortunately for the Italian team, Rubens Barrichello was involved in an incident with Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW) at the start of the race and was foreced to retire the car, while Michael Schumacher avoided the collision, but had to make his way back from fourth place.
A gearbox selection problem for David Coulthard made things easier for Michael, but the Ferrari driver most definitely would have managed to win even with the McLaren-Mercedes on the track. At the end of the race Schumacher had an advantage of almost 20 seconds ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya from Williams-BMW and bacame just the eighth driver to win the event three times since it was first held back in 1928. Schumacher was also the first to achieve all three wins during the Formula One World Championship era.
2002 Australian Grand Prix – Race results:
1. Michael Schumacher Ferrari – 1:35:36.792
2. Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW +18.628
3. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes +25.067
4. Eddie Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth +1 La
5. Mark Webber Minardi-Asiatech +2 Laps
6. Mika Salo Toyota +2 Laps
7. Alex Yoong Minardi-Asiatech +3 Laps
8. Pedro de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth +5 Laps