1987 Australian Grand Prix

Foster's Australian Grand Prix

Sunday, November 15, 1987
Hot, dry and sunny
Fastest Lap:
Berger, 1m20.416
1987 season:

From the Motor Sport Archive

Bowing out

Gerhard Berger sustained his winning momentum to reel off his second victory in a fortnight when the Grand Prix circus arrived in Adelaide for the Australian Grand Prix, the final round of the sixteen race 1987 World Championship series.

Despite the fact that the 28-year-old Austrian was feeling distinctly below par all weekend with a raging sore throat and ear-ache, once strapped into the cockpit of his Ferrari F187 he produced an absolutely flawless performance, qualifying on pole position and leading every lap of the way.

It is funny how things run true to a pattern in Formula One. Often you find that, once the World Championship is settled, the top team's level of achievement fades noticeably and an outsider often begins to demonstrate unexpected form.

That is exactly what has happened this season with Williams and Ferrari, although it has to be said that the signs of a Maranello revival were there from the Hungarian Grand Prix where Berger got his Ferrari onto the front row alongside Mansell. Once Piquet's World Championship was assured by Mansell's practice crash in Japan, there were no more Williams race finishes at either Suzuka or Adelaide.

It is all too easy to put that down to some sort of almost unconscious easing of effort, but if that was the case it was more with the Honda part of the equation than the Williams element. Piquet and Riccardo Patrese (Mansell's stand-in at Adelaide) suffered major engine failures in Japan and Australia respectively, the first such failures since Piquet's retirement in the third race of the season at Spa.

Out on the circuit, the Adelaide qualifying battle was waged between Berger and outgoing World Champion Alain Prost. In the Friday session Berger posted a 1 min 17.267 sec lap, and in the significantly hotter conditions which prevailed the following day, he only went out for a few laps shortly before the end of the session, just as a defensive precaution in the event of anybody getting threateningly close.