The Australian Grand Prix has long been known as Formula 1’s traditional curtain-raiser, kicking off each new season in style. But there are so many more reasons to head to Melbourne for the race.

Albert Park is a unique track on the F1 calendar, mixing the tight and twisting nature of a street circuit with the fast-flowing portions of a permanent race course, resulting in some thrilling, wheel-to-wheel battles.

The 2017 race set the tone for the season to follow as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a close-fought battle for victory, adding another chapter to the storied history of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne that has offered a number of iconic F1 moments through the years.

Australian Grand Prix - Classic Melbourne Moments

1996 - Hill beats Villeneuve after first-lap chaos

Future F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve made a stunning start to life in the sport, taking pole position on debut for the first grand prix to be held in Melbourne, but became engaged in a close fight with Williams teammate Damon Hill throughout the race.

A chaotic first lap that saw Martin Brundle crash heavily and break his car in two resulted in a lengthy red flag period, but the dramatic grand prix that followed saw Hill eventually overcome Villeneuve, taking a crucial win to kick-start his championship-winning season.

2002 - Schumacher goes flying, Webber stars at home

Another of F1’s most iconic opening lap incidents followed in Melbourne six years later when Ralf Schumacher’s Williams went flying in an almighty start-line crash that eliminated eight cars immediately.

Michael Schumacher was able to come out on top in the race for Ferrari by taking victory, setting the tone for one of his most dominant seasons in F1. But the real star was Australia’s Mark Webber who took a remarkable fifth-place finish at his home grand prix, sending the local fans wild.

2009 - Brawn GP’s miracle begins in Melbourne

The 2009 Australian Grand Prix marked the beginning of a new era for F1 as the cars took on a new look, but it was Brawn GP who stole the show by delivering one of the greatest shocks in the sport’s 59-year history.

On debut, the team stunned the paddock by taking a remarkable one-two finish, led by Jenson Button. Drama then struck on the last lap as Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica clashed when battling for second place, making it one of the most surprising races in modern F1 history.

2014 - Ricciardo flies the flag on home soil

Melbourne heralded the start of another new era in F1 in 2014 when the V6 turbo hybrid power units debuted and Nico Rosberg charged to victory for Mercedes. But it was Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo who took all the plaudits with an excellent display in front of his home fans.

In his first race for Red Bull, Ricciardo qualified on the front row before managing to finish an impressive second behind Rosberg, becoming the first Australian to finish on the podium at their home grand prix. His glory proved short-lived, though, as the stewards ultimately disqualified him over a fuel irregularity.

More Than A Race - Exploring Melbourne

While the grand prix will be the main attraction in town across the course of the race weekend, there are still plenty of things to do in and around Melbourne, one of Australia’s most vibrant and exciting cities.

Albert Park is not too far from St. Kilda beach, one of the best places in Melbourne to catch some rays. St. Kilda is also home to a number of great shops, restaurants and bars, making it the perfect place to locate yourself on the race weekend for a best of all worlds experience.

Another way to escape the buzz of the centre of Melbourne is to pay a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens on the outskirts of the city. The gardens boast an impressive array of plants, flowers, lakes and lawns, transporting you to a more tranquil setting. There are even workshops, guided tours and historical talks for those wishing to learn even more about the gardens.

For those looking to go even further afield, you can take a road trip along the Great Ocean Road, meandering around the coastline of the state of Victoria. The Great Ocean Road starts around 90 minutes out of Melbourne, but acts as a perfect way to soak up some classic Australian scenery and get a taste for the country outside of the city.

Back in the city itself, the suburb of Fitzroy is quickly establishing itself as one of the more up-and-coming, kooky areas of Melbourne. It’s a perfect place to find a number of great bars and restaurants, as well as offering some of the best nightlife you can find.

For the foodie visiting Melbourne, the city offers a number of world-renowned eateries, including Attica, named the best restaurant in Australia for 2018. Other great food outlets can be found on Swanston Street, one of the main central streets in Melbourne that offers an eclectic mix of cultures and cuisines.

Melbourne is also a hive for a number of hidden bars tucked away in various nooks and crannies of the city, often found on secret rooftops or even behind unassuming fridge doors or bookshelves. Get talking to the locals to see what secrets they’re willing to spill!

A more well-known trait of Melbourne is its specialty for wine, with the Yarra Valley offering tours, tastings and even gourmet dining. More of a beer person? There are even brewery tours and trips that you can go on if you’re looking to shy away from Fosters…

You’ll be in Melbourne for the grand prix, but if you’re a sporting fan, there’s so much more to check out while you’re there. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of the world’s biggest and most famous sporting venues, so why not combine your grand prix adventure with a trip to an Aussie Rules football game? Failing that, the stadium is open seven days a week for tours and trips, with the National Sports Museum being a particular point of interest.

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