Max Verstappen has finally won the Australian Grand Prix after a long-standing hoodoo at the Melbourne circuit. It was a chaotic race, with three red flags and eight drivers retiring from the race. Verstappen started the race on pole position, but he was quickly overtaken by both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap, which was marred by a crash involving Charles Leclerc.
Despite the early setback, Verstappen was able to regain the lead from Hamilton and maintain it until the end of the race. The victory was not only significant for Verstappen, but also for Red Bull, as it was their first win in Australia since Sebastian Vettel won the race in 2011, ending a 12-year drought.
Mercedes were initially in a strong position to control the race, but things quickly went wrong when Alex Albon spun out and sprayed gravel onto the track, causing a red flag. Mercedes brought Russell into the pits, but the race was then suspended, causing Russell to fall down to seventh place when he could have stayed in the lead and had a free pit stop during the delay.
Despite this setback, Hamilton was able to take the lead, but he was soon overtaken by Verstappen in his dominant Red Bull. As the race progressed, it seemed as though Verstappen was cruising to victory, but there was some late drama when Kevin Magnussen crashed, triggering another red flag and setting up a two-lap dash to the end of the race.
The restart was nothing short of chaotic, with four drivers crashing out of the race, including Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, who collided with each other. Alpine’s French duo of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon also crashed into each other, ending both their races.
The carnage was so extreme that officials decided to restart the race in the order of the previous start for a procession lap. Sainz was handed a five-second time penalty for bumping into Alonso, which demoted him to 12th place, consigning Ferrari to a pointless race.
In the end, only 12 out of the 20 drivers completed the race, which meant that Oscar Piastri was able to finish eighth and score the first championship points of his career at his home race.
The victory for Verstappen was significant in many ways, as Red Bull has now won the first three races of a season for the first time ever. Meanwhile, Alonso has finished on the podium in every race so far in 2023.
Despite the chaos and drama of the race, Verstappen was able to keep his cool and take home the win, extending his lead in the drivers’ championship. It was a momentous victory for both him and his team, and they will undoubtedly be looking to build on this success in the races to come.
Formula One, F1, Racing, Max Verstappen, F1 2023, Sport, Australian Grand Prix