McLaren cleans up in Melbourne. 09 Mar 2003
After one of the most exciting races in recent memory the McLaren team emerged victorious in the Australian Grand Prix with David Coulthard taking victory and Kimi Raikkonen finishing third. An achievement made more remarkable by their qualifying positions of 11th and 15th respectively.
Kimi started from the pit lane, after stopping for fuel and tyres after the parade lap. Coulthard followed his team-mate into the pits shortly after. An early safety car period followed accidents involving Rubens Barrichello and Ralph Firman, justifying the team's daring strategy. After the restart Raikkonen moved through the field to lead the race, holding off a challenge from Michael Schumacher with a superb wheel-to-wheel duel into turn one. "I think the run down to the first corner is too tight for two cars," remarked the Finn wryly at the post-race press conference.
Unfortunately for Kimi, he was given a drive-through penalty for breaking the pit lane speed limit. This dropped him to seventh place from where he battled back to his podium finish.
David Coulthard was considerably more lucky than his team-mate, promoted to the lead by Juan Pablo Montoya's pitlane exit spin and Michael Schumacher's need for a third pit stop. Although delighted with his victory, the Scot stressed that the team still has work to do on qualifying: "We should enjoy first place, but there is certainly work to be done to get close to Ferrari."