Everything you need to know as Formula One returns to Albert Park
More than three years have passed since we last raced around the streets of Melbourne, and a lot has changed since then.
From alterations to the circuit, to all new machines – this weekend's battle around Albert Park is set to be an enthralling spectacle.
If you are new to the world of Formula One, this is your Beginner’s Guide to the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.
F1 first began racing down under in 1985, but after a decade in Adelaide, the decision was made to switch to Melbourne in 1996 – where we have stayed ever since.
The temporary venue was created by linking up some of the main roads around Albert Park – namely Lakeside Drive and Aughtie Drive – and had remained largely unchanged since the inaugural race, which just happened to be won by ourselves!
That was until last year, when modifications were made for the first time in a quarter of a century, to help align the venue with the demands of modern F1 cars.
Two corners have now been removed, while a further seven have been widened. That will make this parkland venue faster than ever before, with qualifying times set to be slashed by around five seconds.
The once bumpy track has been resurfaced too, which will no doubt please the 20 drivers when they hit the streets this weekend.
What to look out for
The quick chicane at the top of the lake, now Turns 9 and 10, remains – and this iconic section of track is one of the best in the entire calendar.
Drivers will be approaching this part of the circuit much quicker in 2022, not just as a result of the removal of earlier corners, but thanks to the addition of a fourth DRS zone that ends just before T9.
As previously mentioned, we passed the chequered flag first at the inaugural race in Melbourne back in ‘96, as our duo of Damon Hill and rookie Jacques Villeneuve enjoyed a near-perfect weekend.
The Canadian had taken centre stage on Saturday, displaying no first Grand Prix jitters to take pole position in his maiden qualifying session, with Damon just +0.138 behind.
But Sunday was to prove a different story for our pair of future World Champions. Jacques maintained his lead through turn one while his teammate lost positions, only for the race to be halted after a heavy collision involving Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and David Coulthard.
At the restart, the FW18’s dominance shone through, with both blue and white cars able to pull away from the pack. Jacques’ dream debut would escape him towards the end of the race, as he was slowed by an oil leak that covered Damon’s car behind.
The man from Quebec was forced to slow in order to reach the finish, which allowed Damon to pass and take the win – 38 seconds ahead of his teammate.
An honourable mention should also go to the race of attrition in 2008, which featured three safety car periods, a disqualification and a whopping 13 retirements.
Nico Rosberg had put his FW30 in P7 during qualifying and would keep his cool as others around him fell away during the race, crossing the line in third to secure a first-ever F1 podium for the 2016 World Champion.
Recent results in Melbourne
2019: 1st - Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes 2nd - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 3rd - Max Verstappen, Red Bull 16th - George Russell, Williams 17th - Robert Kubica, Williams
2018: 1st - Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 2nd - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 3rd - Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari 14th - Lance Stroll, Williams Ret - Sergey Sirotkin, Williams
2017: 1st - Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 2nd - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 3rd - Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes 6th - Felipe Massa, Williams Ret - Lance Stroll, Williams