F1: Verstappen Wins Dramatic Australian GP Ahead of Hamilton & Alonso

Sahil Mohan GuptaApr 2, 2023

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Verstappen won the Australian GP, which was also his 37th GP win, second of the season, and second for Red Bull at the track.

As F1 returned to Australia for the third race of the season at the scenic Albert Park track in Melbourne, fans were treated to a chaotic race that saw Max Verstappen win again and extend his lead in the F1 World Championship. Verstappen won from pole position but dropped to P3 at the start of the race after being overtaken by the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. The starting proceedings caused a safety car as Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari and Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin collided, unfortunately forcing Leclerc to retire for the second time in three races. Upon the restart, the Mercedes duo kept the 2-time world champion in the Red Bull honest, but Alex Albon’s Williams had a high-speed crash that initially triggered a safety car, resulting in the Ferrari of Sainz and Mercedes of Russell pitting for hard tyres. But soon after, the race stewards turned it into a red flag, which allowed everyone to change their tyres and neutralized the decisions taken by the Ferrari and Mercedes teams.

This left Hamilton in the lead of the race but vulnerable to Verstappen in the Red Bull, as he didn’t have the advantage of the DRS from Russell to keep the Dutchman at bay. As expected, Max Verstappen flew past Hamilton and extended a comfortable lead while Hamilton held off Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin. While this happened, Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez carved through the field for P5 despite starting from the back of the grid. He also managed fastest lap of the race which would give him an extra point. George Russell’s Mercedes also retired from the race, which caused another safety car but didn’t impact the race much as everyone had already changed their tyres.

What did impact the race was a contact by Kevin Magnussen in the Haas, as he damaged his suspension and resulted in a tire being destroyed. This led to a red flag for the race four laps before the end of the race, with Verstappen coasting to win with Hamilton and Alonso far behind him. A standing start was ordered, which resulted in pandemonium as Alonso crashed with Carlos Sainz, who had been pushed by Pierre Gasly in the Alpine. In fact, Gasly ended up crashing with his teammate Esteban Ocon. One lap before the race, another red flag was ordered.

So, the last lap of the race was a conciliatory finish with the cars that were in the positions before the red flag restarted again, save for the Alpine cars as they had crashed out. But Carlos Sainz was handed a time penalty for causing a collision with the Aston Martin and finished outside of the points resulting in no points for Ferrari in the race.

Verstappen won the Australian GP, which was also his 37th GP win, second of the season, and second for Red Bull at the track. It was also the first time Red Bull won three races in a row at the end of the race. Alonso also completed his third P3 position with Aston Martin and his teammate Lance Stroll came P4.

Formula 1
Australian Grand Prix
2023 F1