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The BBC's Jonathan Legard
"The red carpet will be rolled out all over Australia"
 real 28k

Australian GP champion Michael Schumacher
" I immediately felt that this is the car"
 real 28k

The British driver Jenson Button
"I was pretty ecstatic being in sixth position"
 real 28k

Sunday, 12 March, 2000, 08:54 GMT
Schumacher triumphs in Australia

Schumacher acknowledges his pit crew at the finish
Michael Schumacher stamped his undiminished ambition on the new Formula One season with an emphatic victory for Ferrari in Melbourne - his first ever win in Australia.

Australian GP points
1. M Schumacher
Ferrari (10pts)
2. R Barrichello
Ferrari (6pts)
3. R Schumacher
Williams (4pts)
4. J Villeneuve
BAR (3pts)
5. G Fisichella
Benetton (2pts)
6. R Zonta
BAR (1pt)
It marked a dream start for the Italian marque, with Schumacher's Brazilian team-mate Rubens Barrichello finishing second.

Both cars of main rival McLaren - including that of reigning champion Mika Hakkinen - were forced to retire following engine fires.

Ralf Schumacher grabbed third in the Williams, while BAR finished with two cars in the points for the first time following the disqualification of sixth-placed Mika Salo for illegal bodywork on his Sauber.

There was also a stunning turnaround in fortunes for British driver Jenson Button, who recovered from a disastrous qualification round and a grid position of 21st to scramble up to sixth before his BMW engine expired.

Michael Schumacher
Jubilant: Schumacher takes the podium
The 20-year-old, who became Britain's youngest Formula One driver yet, had been on course to become only the seventh man in 24 years to score a point on his race debut. But another debutant, Team Jaguar, produced the worst possible start with both cars crashing out by the end of lap six.

Top honours for the day went fittingly to Michael Schumacher, who showed that the accident that invalided him out of most of last season is well behind him.

The German star eased home 11.4 seconds ahead of Barrichello in a trademark display of aggressive tactical driving.

"This is a perfect start for us," he said.

"But when I first got into the car I knew it was the one I could fight for the World Championship with.


When I first got into the car I knew it was the one I could fight for the World Championship with

Michael Schumacher
"I was not worried after being third on the grid because this car is so bloody fast. I'm delighted.

"Unfortunately, the two McLarens broke down. I wished to have had a race to the end to prove where we are, but we will have plenty of opportunities to do that."

Meanwhile, concerns over McLaren's new Mercedes engine appeared to be confirmed.

In a miserable race for the team, Scotland's David Coulthard was forced into the pits on lap 11 with a small fire in the rear of his car which had to be put out by mechanics.

He spent 44 seconds in the pits before rejoining the fray, but within moments had been forced to park up as his engine failed.


I'm extremely disappointed ... it had been important to score some points, but it didn't happen and it's not a very nice feeling

Mika Hakkinen
Hakkinen was forced out on lap 19 with plumes of smoke emerging from the back of his car.

The Finn, who had been dogged by engine problems all weekend, was forced to park on the grass as Schumacher screamed into a huge lead.

McLaren chief Ron Dennis said the engine problems were "very frustrating".

"You complete thousands of miles in testing to try and avoid this sort of thing in a race," he said.

"But at least it's all the same fault and only a very small one."

But McLaren's problems were minor compared to the horror start endured by the new Jaguar outfit.

Johnny Herbert capped his dire weekend, which saw him qualify back in 20th position, by retiring on the first lap after a collision.

Eddie Irvine, victorious in Melbourne last year for Ferrari, crashed out on lap six following a collision with the Arrows of Pedro De La Rosa.

Result
1 M Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1hr 34mins 01.987secs
2 R Barrichello (Bra) Ferrari at 11.415secs
3 R Schumacher (Ger) Williams-BMW at 20.009
4 J Villeneuve (Can) BAR-Honda at 44.447
5 G Fisichella (Ita) Benetton-Playlife at 45.165
6 R Zonta (Bra) BAR-Honda at 46.468
7 A Wurz (Aut) Benetton-Playlife at 46.915, 8 M Gene (Spa) Minardi-Fondmetal at 1 lap, 9 N Heidfeld (Ger) Prost-Peugeot at 2 laps.

Disqualified:M Salo (Fin) Sauber-Petronas, for illegal bodywork.

Did not finish:
J Button (Gbr) Williams-BMW 46 laps completed
P Diniz (Bra) Sauber-Petronas 41
G Mazzacane (Arg) Minardi-Fondmetal 40
H-H Frentzen (Ger) Jordan-Mugen Honda 39
J Trulli (Ita) Jordan-Mugen Honda
J Alesi (Fra) Prost-Peugeot 27
M Hakkinen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 18
J Verstappen (Hol) Arrows-Supertec 16
D Coulthard (Gbr) McLaren-Mercedes 11
P de la Rosa (Spa) Arrows-Supertec 6
E Irvine (Gbr) Jaguar 6
J Herbert (Gbr) Jaguar 1.
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See also:

12 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Button: 'I made the grade'
12 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Ferrari's Down Under double
12 Mar 00 | Motorsport
F1 2000 championship tables
09 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Ferrari team profile
10 Mar 00 | Motorsport
F1 2000: Driver by driver
10 Mar 00 | Motorsport
F1 2000: Circuit by circuit
11 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Hakkinen takes pole
06 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Button: I'm ready
10 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Schumacher fastest despite crash
08 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Ready for the ride
09 Mar 00 | Motorsport
Australian GP circuit guide
01 Mar 00 | Motorsport
F1 driver voices Button fears
Links to other Motorsport stories are at the foot of the page.