McLaren's David Coulthard took advantage of a spinout by leader Juan Carlos Montoya and an earlier black flag to Michael Schumacher to win Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix today.
Coulthard, trailing Montoya by nearly three seconds with 11 laps to go, watched as Montoya's Williams spun out on Turn 2 of the Albert Park circuit, allowing Coulthard to take the lead for good.
Montoya had taken the lead two laps earlier when leader Schumacher, trying for his fourth consecutive win in Australia, was black-flagged by race officials when the barge board from the side of his cockpit was dragged under his Ferrari.
Coulthard finished the 58-lap race around the 3.295-mile Albert Park circuit in 1 hour 34 minutes 42.144 seconds -- 8.6 seconds ahead of Montoya. Kimi Raikkonen was third and Schumacher took fourth.
It was McLaren's first win since Coulthard took the Monaco Grand Prix last year.
"It's a great result," Coulthard said.
Coulthard, a 31-year-old Scotsman, has won at least one Formula One race in every season since 1997, when he won in Melbourne. Coulthard was second at the Australian GP in 2001 but had not finished in three of the last four years.
On Lap 38, Schumacher ran into trouble when he tried to pass Raikkonen, who was in second. Raikkonen held his ground and forced Schumacher onto the infield. Moments later, Raikkonen was ordered to do a drive-through time penalty for speeding in pit lane, dropping him off the lead.
"It was a bit too tight for him to try to pass," Raikkonen said.
Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, who qualified second behind Schumacher, saw his race end on the sixth lap when he spun out on Turn 5 and hit the wall, leaving his front left tire dangling.
That ended any hopes of Ferrari finishing one-two in six consecutive races. Schumacher and Barrichello finished first or second in the last five races of 2002.
Australia's Mark Webber, last year's rookie of the year with Minardi but driving for Jaguar this season, went out on the 16th lap when his rear suspension failed.
The track was partially wet at the start because of morning and early afternoon rain. That forced race organizers to make a decision 80 minutes before the start to allow the teams to make changes to brake setups and tires because of the rainy conditions.
Otherwise, because of new rules this season, teams would not have been allowed to make changes to the car's setup or tires following qualifying until the race started today. The teams were, however, obliged to keep the same fuel allotment they had in their tanks when qualifying ended Saturday.