Australian GP 1993
NOVEMBER 7, 1993
Australian GP, 1993
The fortnight between the Japanese and Australian GPs witnessed the launch of the new Simtek Grand Prix team which announced that it would be running David Brabham in 1994. Benetton had given up hope of a Renault engine deal and so re-signed with Ford and JJ Lehto was tipped to join Michael Schumacher. Mercedes-Benz announced that it was making an official return to F1 as engine supplier to Sauber, although it was really only a rebadging deal as the Sauber V10 engine had been Mercedes-Benz funded throughout 1993.
McLaren was looking to end the season with another victory to draw clear of Ferrari in the competition for the most Grand Prix wins of all time and Ayrton Senna wanted to end his relationship with the team on a high note. He did so in qualifying with a masterful pole position, beating the two Williams-Renaults of Alain Prost and Damon Hill (the first time a Williams was off pole all season). Michael Schumacher was fourth fastest in his Benetton ahead of Mika Hakkinen's McLaren and Gerhard Berger's Ferrari, the Austrian having survived a big accident in practice on Friday. The top 10 was completed by Alesi's Ferrari, Martin Brundle's Ligier (still in its artistic color scheme introduced Suzuka), Riccardo Patrese's Benetton and Aguri Suzuki's Footwork.
It took three attempts to start the race with Ukyo Katayama (Tyrrell) and then Eddie Irvine (Jordan) stalling. Both were sent to the back of the grid. The third attempt was successful with Senna leading Prost into the first corner. Hill was third with Schumacher behind him while Hakkinen made a bad start and was stuck behind Berger.
Schumacher adopted a curious strategy with a stop on lap 15 which enabled him to run very fast early on but his efforts were pointless as he retired with an engine failure on lap 20. Senna pitted on lap 24 and Prost was briefly in the lead but he stopped on lap 29 and Senna went ahead again with Alain second, Hill third ahead of Alesi, Berger and Brundle.
The two Williams-Renaults had to stop again and that gave Senna a big lead so that when he stopped for the second time on lap 55 he was able to rejoin with a healthy lead of 20 seconds. Hill later tried to pass Prost for second place and spun but he rejoined to finish third.
It was the perfect result. Senna and Prost - the giants of the era - had fought their last battle. Senna had scored a brilliant win (his last as it would turn out) and on the podium the two old enemies shook hands and made their peace.
|7||10||Aguri Suzuki||Footwork-Mugen Honda||78||10|
|8r||6||Riccardo Patrese||Benetton-Cosworth||77||Fuel Pressure||9|
|10||9||Derek Warwick||Footwork-Mugen Honda||77||17|
|13||4||Andrea de Cesaris||Tyrrell-Yamaha||75||15|
|15r||29||Karl Wendlinger||Sauber-Ilmor||73||Brake Disc/accident||11|
|r||30||JJ Lehto||Sauber-Ilmor||56||Throttle Jammed/accident||12|
|r||7||Mika Hakkinen||McLaren-Cosworth||28||Brake Pipe||5|
|r||12||Johnny Herbert||Lotus-Cosworth||9||Suspension Hydraulics||20|