Sunday 9th March 1997
David Coulthard won the Australian Grand Prix for McLaren from fourth on the grid, the team’s first victory in 50 races. It was also the first win for a Mercedes engine since Juan Manuel Fangio wrapped up the world championship at Monza in 1955. Williams, which had won both titles in 1996, was expected to dominate but Jacques Villeneuve was taken out by Eddie Irvine within seconds of the start, while team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen spun into the gravel three laps from the end as he sought to recover from a botched pit stop. Defending champion Damon Hill, who had left Williams to join Arrows, qualified in 20th but broke down on the parade lap. His only, albeit scant, consolation was that neither team which had also tried to sign him – Jordan and Stewart – managed to finish the race either.