There was plenty of action, drama and red flag chaos in Melbourne today, but amidst it all, the checkered flag was waved for Max Verstappen.
It is true that the Red Bull racer swapped places with Lewis Hamilton shortly after the start, but he took the lead again in the 12th lap to build up a lead of almost ten seconds.
But the Melbourne streets provided three red flags and the defending world champion had to wait to win his first race in Australia.
“I was very careful behind the wheel; after all, there was a lot at stake for us. Yes, it turned into a mess, but we stood our ground to win,” said Verstappen.
Chaos. Chaos?! ????
An absolutely insane race restart in Australia ????#AusGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/hjGrjWBixS
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 2, 2023
According to Hamilton, who finished second, he is still not completely at ease in the Mercedes race car.
“I still don’t have a complete bond with the racing car. Even though a lot of hard work still awaits us, I am very satisfied with today’s result. It’s going to be tough to catch up with Red Bull, but it’s not impossible.”
However, his Mercedes teammate, George Russell, had to call off the retreat after his fire truck caught fire.
The evergreen Fernando Alonso once again raced across the finish line in third place.
The 41-year-old Spaniard is currently a devil behind the wheel of his Aston Martin and he will throw everything into the battle to stand at the very top of the podium again.
However, Ferrari had a sad day in Melbourne. Charles Leclerc made contact with Alonso shortly after the start and he had to drop tail.
The Monte Carlo native later described Ferrari’s run-up to the season as “a disaster” after Carlos Sainz was also penalized by a few seconds to eventually finish 12th.
Preliminary race results:
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
- Lando Norris (McLaren)
- Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
- Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
- Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)
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