Crimson Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his first Australian Grand Prix on Sunday in outstanding circumstances after a chaotic F1 race crammed with drama from the inexperienced gentle to the checkered flag.
Though Red Bull’s first triumph in Melbourne since 2011 was anticipated, the carnage that unfolded within the latter levels of the race at Albert Park made it a particularly hard-fought win.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who drove beautifully in his Mercedes, completed second, whereas Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso took third spot on the rostrum.
Solely 12 of the 20 starters completed the race, with Australian Oscar Piastri taking advantage of the dysfunction to complete eighth and declare his first championship factors for McLaren.
Verstappen was happy to clinch victory however queried the choice by stewards to challenge a pink flag after a crash on lap 55 of the 58-lap race as an alternative of deploying a security automotive.
He held a snug lead at that stage however then needed to struggle to carry the entrance place from Hamilton when the race was restarted.
“After all we’re pleased to win the race, however I believe the race itself in direction of the tip was a little bit of a large number with all of the calls,” Verstappen mentioned. “It left a number of drivers confused as to why we wanted a second pink flag. Right now was fairly messy.”
Hamilton was delighted with the advance Mercedes confirmed in Melbourne, which included a aggressive qualifying efficiency on Saturday.
“It was very sudden,” he mentioned. “Getting a second and third in qualifying yesterday blew us all away and supplied an enormous increase of power all through the crew.”
On the restart on lap 55, Verstappen was in a position to maintain off Hamilton to the primary flip as bedlam unfolded behind his Crimson Bull, leading to a reshuffle of the ending order.
Alonso, who had challenged Hamilton for second place all through a lot of the race, was hit by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on the primary nook of the restart.
Sainz, whose Ferrari confirmed good pace all through the race, was issued with a five-second penalty that relegated him to twelfth.
The Ferrari driver was upset with the choice and Alonso later mentioned he believed the penalty issued to his rival was too harsh.
In a separate incident, Williams driver Logan Sargeant drove into the again of Nyck de Vries and the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly additionally exited the race after crashing into one another.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed on the opening lap, whereas the Mercedes of one-time chief George Russell caught hearth on Lap 18.
After claiming his maiden pole place in Australia on Saturday, Verstappen was out sprinted to the primary flip by Russell in a full of life opening.
By the third flip Hamilton had additionally handed the Dutchman, elevating the prospect an improved Mercedes crew would possibly be capable to pull off a surprising upset.
However these hopes diminished when Williams’ Alexander Albon misplaced management on Lap 7 and crashed into the wall, which resulted within the first pink flag.
Russell had already headed to the pits when race stewards determined the particles left on the observe from the accident was a security challenge that would solely be resolved by stopping the race.
This left the English driver in seventh spot, although he was compelled out of the race altogether shortly after the resumption.
“When it’s not your day, it’s not your day,” Russell wrote on social media.
The race resumed with Verstappen stalking Hamilton on the entrance of the sector and the two-time world champion used his Crimson Bull’s superior pace to take the lead on Lap 12.