Video: Ayrton Senna explains his race at the 1985 Australian Grand Prix
The first Australian Grand Prix that counted for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship was held on the streets of Adelaide on November 3, 1985
The new street circuit in Adelaide, South Australia was a great little track and the F1 teams and locals took to the event with great enthusiasm.
1985 had been an exciting season and featured many notable events, including Prost wrapping up the first of his four world titles, Mansell scoring his breakthrough win, Senna emerging as a force to be reckoned with, the last season for Niki Lauda, he Renualt and Alfa Romeo teams closing down and the last ever F1 races at the old Kyalami and Zandvoort circuits.
In qualifying Ayrton Senna scortched to another pole in his Lotus-Renault with the Williams-Hondas of Nigel Mansell and Keke Rosberg ahead of Alain Prost’s McLaren-TAG, Michele Alboreto’s Ferrari, Marc Surer’s Brabham-BMW, Gerhard Berger’s Arrows-BMW and Patrick Tambay’s Renault.
Mansell jumped into the lead off the line, but in an agressive first lap he and Senna collided. Nigel came off worse and his day was done.. Rosberg inherited the lead with Senna chasing him and Alboreto third. Then came Prost, Berger, Surer and Tambay.
Tyres wear began to be a factor and soon the drivers were pitting to change rubber. These included Alboreto and so Prost moved to third with Marc Surer (Brabham-BMW) a surprising fourth. Piquet was now fifth but his Brabham caught fire moving Lauda up and local hero Alan Jones in the Beatrice Lola-Hart, was now into the points in sixth. It wasn’t to be for Jones however as the Beatrice soon expired with engine failure.
By mid race Rosberg and Senna were scrapping for the lead, but when Rosberg pitted for tyres he caught Senna by surprise and the Brazilian drove into the back of the Williams and broke his front wing. Senna was mad as hell and tried to push on without a front wing but the car was all over the place and after two laps, during which he lost the lead again to Rosberg, he finally pitted.
Surer was now up there, but he crashed into the back of Fabi, spun and stalled. Game over. Niki Lauda was now second with the adrenalin charged Senna hunting him. Ayrton soon overtook Lauda who was still on old rubber.
Keke Rosberg decided to stop again, but a poor stop meant he rejoined behind both Senna and Lauda. It looked like being a fairly tale ending for Lauda’s career but he had major brake trouble and on lap 58 crashed into a wall. Now Ayrton was back in the lead with Rosberg just behind him, but on lap 61 the Lotus began smoking and retired. At the same time Alboreto stopped with gearbox failure and so second place was suddenly in the hands of Jacques Laffite’s Ligier.
Rosberg stopped again for fresh rubber, but rejoined still well in front and looking certain for victory. Laffite backed off for a comfortable second place, but his team mate Streiff came charging up behind him. Laffite thought he was a lap behind and Streiff thought that he was under pressure from Capelli (who was actually a lap behind) and as a result the two Ligiers got tangled up. Laffite’s car was pretty much OK, but Streiff’s car had lost its right front wheel. Undeterred by this Streiff kept his boot in and drove the final lap to the finish, and onto the podium. Capelli was fourth with Johansson fifth and Berger sixth.
So Keke Rosberg sprayed the Champagne for what would be his last Grand Prix victory.