VERSTAPPEN WINS A CHAOTIC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX
F1 was back down under in Melbourne, Australia and it was Max Verstappen who showed unmatchable speed around Albert Park as he took his 37th career win and his first in Australia. It was Lewis Hamilton who finished second for his first podium of the year and Fernando Alonso is once again on the podium in third place.
It was George Russell (Mercedes) who lead into the first corner as Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) goes off at turn three and is beached in what turns out to be another nightmare weekend for the Scuderia, that put Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) is second and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) dropped down into third. The very next lap the Safety Car is deployed for Leclercs stranded Ferrari.
After two laps under the Safety Car on lap four the green flag is shown and we are back underway. Russell keeps the lead from Hamilton off the rolling restart.
It didn't take long for the next Safety Car as on lap seven Alex Albon (Williams) is out after spinning into the wall after just clipping the kerb at turn 4/5 which put the Safety Car back out. On the very next lap (eight) Russell pits from the lead and drops to seventh place - this gives Hamilton first with Verstappen now second and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) in third. But on lap nine it was decided that the race should be red flagged and everyone files into the pits.
We restarted with a standing start on lap 10. The top five on the restart is Hamilton in first then it’s Verstappen, Alonso, Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Pierre Gasly (Alpine) in fifth. Hamilton leads after the restart, there was contact between Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Nyck de Vries (Alpha Tauri) but the Dutchman carries on.
Despite losing the lead at the start of the race it took Verstappen only 12 laps before he flew past Hamilton for the lead going through the long sweeping straight. Verstappen immediately pulls out over a second on the Mercedes.
The latest drama then came on lap 18 after Russell’s Mercedes catches fire putting him out of the race with a power unit issue. The VSC is deployed and the race is neutralised. The very next lap the racing resumes as the green flag is shown. That was the last real piece of action until...
On lap 54 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) losses his rear right tyre after hitting the wall on the exit of turn two which in turn means the Safety Car is deployed. The next lap the race is red flagged.
After the formation lap (Lap 57) we are given two laps left to go racing and determine the outcome and it will be without DRS. Verstappen leads off the line with Hamilton in second. But behind Sainz makes contact with Alonso spinning him out as into turn two the two Alpines collide taking each other out of the race and heading into the entry of turn three Sargeant and De Vries come together and are also out. This of course means another red flag.
Restarting the race means restarting on the final lap so eventually it is decided by the FIA that the cars are reset to the order before the crash and this has gifted Alonso back a podium which he previously wasn’t going to get after being pushed off by Sainz on the restart. The cars finish under a formation lap style rule so they can’t overtake.
In other news McLaren have been helped out scoring points with both drivers - meaning home hero Oscar Piastri scores his first points in F1 at his home race.
The next race is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
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