McLaren's David Coulthard won the Australian Grand Prix as the season started with drama, incidents and accidents on Sunday.

McLaren's David Coulthard won the Australian Grand Prix as the season started with drama, incidents and accidents on Sunday.

Juan Pablo Montoya was second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher. Coulthard drove a clean race while other drivers made crucial errors.

For the first time in 20 races, Schumacher was not on the podium. After Schumacher started on pole, Ferrari made a number of mistakes that cost them. First Rubens Barrichello crashed out after five laps and then Schumacher damaged his car when he ran off the road with about 20 laps to go, loosening some vital aerodynamic parts. The barge board from the side of his cockpit was dragging under his Ferrari.

The race started in damp conditions, but the track started to dry after a few laps. This worked in the favour of the drivers, in particular Montoya and Raikkonen, who had decided to start on slicks.

The safety car had to be used twice in the first 20 laps. First while the debris after Barrichello and Ralph Firman crashed at the same corner within a lap of each other was cleared up and then to retrieve Mark Webber’s Jaguar after it suffered a suspension failure.

Raikkonen held off Schumacher for the lead brilliantly and seemed set for victory when he was penalised for speeding in the pit lane late in the race. Apparently he had exceeded the speed limit by just 1 km.

"A great end to what has been a difficult weekend and a superb start to the season. During the installation lap, the circuit was still wet, so we decided to start the race on wet tyres,” Coulthard said.

“However, during the first lap the track had dried enough for dry tyres and I came in for a quick change and fuel top up at the end of lap two. I'm really happy with the result especially as it is such a stark contrast to yesterday's qualifying.

“The team did a great job and we had the right strategy, which allowed us to optimise the unusual circumstances with the weather and the safety car. I think our performance showed that we have taken a step forward with the MP4-17D and further improved our competitiveness and hopefully we are all in for an exciting season."

Results:

1 David Coulthard McLaren 1hr 34min 42.124 sec

2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 1:34,50.799

3 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1:34,51.316

4 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:34,51.606

5 Jarno Trulli Renault 1:35,20.925

6 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1:35,26.052

7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:35,27.198

8 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1:35,27.869

9 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:35,47.660

10 Jenson Button BAR Honda 1:35,48.098

11 Jos Verstappen Mindardi one lap down.

Did not finish:

Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 52 laps

Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 52 laps

Olivier Panis Toyota 31 laps

Nick Heidfeld Sauber 20 laps

Justin Wilson Minardi 16 laps

Mark Webber Jaguar 15 laps

Cristiano Da Matta Toyota 7 laps

Ralph Firman Jordan 6 laps

Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 5 laps.

Drivers' standings:

David Coulthard 10

Juan Pablo Montoya 8

Kimi Raikkonen 6

Michael Schumacher 5

Jarno Trulli 4

Heinz-Harald Frentzen 3

Fernando Alonso 2

Ralf Schumacher 1.

Constructors' standings:

McLaren 16

BMW Williams 9

Renault 6,

Ferrari 5

Sauber 3.

Original article from Car