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F1, Ferrari’s precedents in Australia. The Prancing Horse chases McLaren, 9 wins against 11

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On Sunday 10 April the Formula One World Championship will experience the third act of its season, the Australian Grand Prix . Racing will return to Melbourne , which has been the venue for the GP down under for over a quarter of a century. So let’s find out what Ferrari ‘s precedents are in the “Land of Oz”, where, however, the Scuderia di Maranello is not the most successful of all. In fact, in the history of the event (entered for the first time on the calendar in 1985), the Prancing Horse has triumphed 9 times and still chases McLaren today, which instead set itself on 11 occasions.

The first Ferrari success came in 1987 on the Adelaide track thanks to Gerhard Berger , who became the protagonist of a superlative test making the most of the development work carried out together with John Barnard on the car of that year. The Austrian even achieves a Grand Slam , as he triumphs starting from pole position and staying in the lead from start to finish, also signing the fastest lap of the race. To complete the triumph of the Reds there is the second position of Michele Alboreto, albeit conquered at the table. In fact, the Milanese driver initially ends third, but is subsequently promoted to the place of honor by the disqualification of Ayrton Senna, on whose Lotus a technical irregularity is found.

More than a decade went by before Ferrari saw it again in Australia, whose GP in the meantime moved to Melbourne. The second affirmation of the Scuderia di Maranello dates back to 1999 and bears the signature of Eddie Irvine , who on that occasion made the most of the mechanical troubles that afflict his teammate and the two McLarens. The Northern Irishman’s success starts a 4 -game winning streak for the Prancing Horse. This has never been done by any other team in Australia and still represents the longest winning streak for any team. The next three triumphs all come thanks to Michael Schumacher . In 2000 and 2001 the Kaiser engages in spectacular duels with Mika Häkkinen’s McLaren, in both cases ended when the Finn is betrayed by his car. On the other hand, in 2002 there is really no match, because after getting rid of Montoya’s Williams, the German dominates the scene. The same script is repeated in 2004 , the year in which the Reds beat the competition. In this period two shotguns are even made (2000 and 2004), in addition to that of 1987.

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Ferrari also wins the first post-Schumacher race. In 2007 Kimi Räikkonen took care of bringing the Maranello Scuderia to triumph thanks to an imperious test. The Finn sweeps away the doubts about his ability to adapt to Bridgestone tires and imposes himself without conceding anything to his rivals. The statement launches Iceman in the race towards what, a few months later, will be his only world title.

After the Finnish success, the sixth in nine years, the Prancing Horse is forced to face another decade of fasting, interrupted only by Sebastian Vettel in 2017 . The German is repeated again in 2018 and, in both cases, it is the strategy that is fundamental to beat Hamilton’s Mercedes. On the first occasion Seb lengthens the initial stint and thanks to a series of fast laps he manages to overtake Lewis, in the meantime stuck behind Verstappen’s Red Bull. The following year, the Teutonic makes a wonderful use of a virtual safety car to overtake the British, then grimly resisting all his overtaking attempts to the finish line.

THE NUMBERS OF FERRARI AT THE AUSTRALIAN GP (35 EDITIONS)
WINS: 9
4 Michael Schumacher (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004)
2 Sebastian Vettel (2017, 2018)
1 Gerhard Berger (1987)
1 Eddie Irvine (1999)
1 Kimi Räikkönen (2007)

POLE POSITION: 6
3 Michael Schumacher (2001, 2003, 2004)
1 Gerhard Berger (1987)
1 Rubens Barrichello (2002)
1 Kimi Räikkönen (2007)

FASTEST LAPS: 9
3 Michael Schumacher (1999, 2001, 2004)
2 Kimi Räikkönen (2007, 2017)
1 Gerhard Berger (1987)
1 Nigel Mansell (1990)
1 Rubens Barrichello (2000)
1 Felipe Massa (2011)

PODIUMS: 25
1986 Stefan Johannson (3rd)
1987 Gerhard Berger (1st), Michele Alboreto (2nd)
1990 Nigel Mansell (2nd), Alain Prost (3rd)
1994 Gerhard Berger (2nd)
1996 Eddie Irvine (3rd)
1997 Michael Schumacher (2nd)
1999 Eddie Irvine (1st)
2000 Michael Schumacher (1st), Rubens Barrichello (2nd)
2001 Michael Schumacher (1st), Rubens Barrichello (3rd)
2002 Michael Schumacher (1st)
2004 Michael Schumacher (1st), Rubens Barrichello (2nd)
2005 Rubens Barrichello (2nd)
2007 Kimi Räikkönen (1st)
2010 Felipe Massa (3rd)
2013 Fernando Alonso (2nd)
2015 Sebastian Vettel (3rd)
2016 Sebastian Vettel (3rd)
2017 Sebastian Vettel (1st)
2018 Sebastian Vettel (1st), Kimi Räikkönen (3rd)

THE BACKGROUND OF FERRARI DRIVERS IN MELBOURNE
CHARLES LECLERC
2018 (SAUBER) – 13th
2019 (FERRARI) – 5th

CARLOS SAINZ Jr.
2015 (TORO ROSSO) – 9th
2016 (RED BULL) – 9th
2017 (RED BULL) – 8th
2018 (RENAULT) – 10th
2019 (MC LAREN) – Retired


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