Defending Formula One world champion Max Verstappen took victory in the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park. The Dutch driver started the race from the pole position and completely dominated the race coming home ahead of seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes. Speaking following the race, Max Verstappen said:
“My start today wasn’t amazing and then on lap 1 I was very careful as there was a lot on the line, I had a lot to lose and a lot to win. But after that restart, we had good pace and a decent gap for the majority of the race. Perhaps we didn’t need all of those red flags today, it was frustrating, but everyone was safe and we won which is the most important thing. It’s my first win in Australia which feels really good, it’s also been a while for the Team so it means a lot to us all, especially as Checo also had a good recovery drive today. It’s been a chaotic day but it’s great to see that the fans had a great time despite the long wait!”
At the same time, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team’s Fernando Alonso scored his third consecutive third-place podium finish.
Speaking following the race, Alonso said:
“It was a rollercoaster of emotions today with the red flags and incidents. It was probably my craziest race here in Melbourne but it’s great to come away with another podium. There were many things going on all afternoon and we had an interesting battle with Lewis [Hamilton] for second. The pace of the car was good and we kept up the pressure on Lewis, but he did a good job and didn’t really make any mistakes. On the contact with Carlos [Sainz] after the restart I’m sure he didn’t mean to do it so I think the penalty for him was quite harsh in the end. We have to be pleased with this start to the season and three podiums in as many races.”
Lance Stroll started the race from sixth on the grid and came home in fourth place. Speaking following the race the Canadian commented saying:
“I think we should be pleased with the result we’ve come away with today: third and fourth is great for the team. It was a heavily disrupted race with red flags and a few big accidents, and neither Fernando nor I managed to stay clear of the drama. I had a little bit of contact on the first lap, but we were running well until the first red flag was thrown. As we’ve seen across the weekend, it takes a while for the tyres to get up to temperature here and so on the second restart I locked up at turn three and ended up in the gravel. Thankfully, the red flag had been waved before that point and I was able to retake my position for the final restart. This sport is a rollercoaster of emotions sometimes! Overall, we’ve come away from a chaotic race with a solid haul of points for the team and to be second in the Constructors’ Championship after three races is very positive”
There were three red flags throughout the 58-lap race, which never happened in Formula One. During the final red flag at the end of the race, several fans breached the fencing at the venue and got onto the track. For this, the Australian Grand Prix Association has been asked to appear in front of the World Motorsport Council to explain what happened.
Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez came from the back of the grid to finish the race in fifth place just ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and speaking following the race, Norris commented saying:
A very good race. We had good pace throughout, stayed out of trouble with no mistakes. The team did a very good job. I think the pace today was stronger than our qualifying pace yesterday, so things came together nicely. Just a well-executed race.
“I’m happy with all of that, and it’s the first points for us this season. It’s nice to get on the board and it’s a good end to the first few races before we have a bit of a break and then head into Baku and the next batch of races. I’m happy, so a big thanks to the whole team and everyone back at the factory for all the hard work as usual and we’ll keep pushing.
Nico Hulkenberg of the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team started the race from tenth place and came home in seventh speaking following the race, he commented saying:
It was wild and a bit messy at times. We’ll have to look through everything that happened as there were a lot of things
happening. I had a super start the third time around on softs and came through to P4, so it’s a shame there were a
few incidents and then the race was red flagged. There are a lot of positive learnings again and I feel there are a lot of
good things happening. I’m refreshed, in a very positive mindset and really enjoy working with the team and
experimenting with the car. We have very good momentum and that’s what we want to take into the next races.
McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri in his first home race in Australia and came home in eighth place to score his first ever Formula One point and speaking following the race he commented saying:
“P8, I didn’t expect that at the start of the day! I’ll definitely take it. Obviously a crazy, crazy race but we stayed in there when it mattered. I’m so happy to get my first points in Melbourne and want to thank all of the home fans and papaya fans for all their support this week. Double points for the team is a great result and thank you to everyone who got us there.”
Zhou Guayne and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten just ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Speaking following the race, the Spaniard said:
I had a good start and felt confident on the medium tyre but we were unlucky, pitting just before they brought out the first red flag and I dropped down to P11. From there I managed to pull off a good comeback with nice overtakes and solid pace, so for that I’m happy.
It was a good race overall but the penalty ruined all the effort and I don’t agree with it. The frustration I feel right now will be difficult to digest, but I will try to think only of the positives from today and focus on the next race.
It was a disastrous day for the Alpine F1 Team as both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon collided with each other and retired from the race. Nyck De Vries and Logan Seargent were classified in 15th and 16th despite withdrawing from the race.
Kevin Magnussen was classified in 17th, and speaking following the action, he commented saying:
“I brushed the wall at the exit of Turn 2 and the rim broke, the tire came off and I had to stop. I didn’t even feel it so it
definitely wasn’t something that felt big in the car, but it was enough to crack the rim and take the tire off. It’s
unfortunate, we were in P12 I think at that time and it didn’t look like I was going to be able to score points. We got
unlucky with the first red flag as we had just pitted from P11 and we seemed to be quicker than the next couple of cars
so I was quite confident at that stage of the race. Then we pitted under the safety car and just afterwards, it turned to a
red flag. Everyone put their tires on to go to the end of the race and we were last. It wasn’t my day but it seemed like
the car had decent pace so I’m encouraged by that and we’ll push next time.”
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s George Russell retired from the race and speaking following the action he commented saying:
We did everything right this weekend. We had a great Qualifying yesterday and today, the start was perfect. We managed the first stint well and I could have extended it quite a lot more. I’ve felt comfortable and strong in the car on all three days. I see no reason why we couldn’t have fought for victory today, so it’s disappointing. As soon as I came through the high-speed turn 10, I felt something go. Three corners later, I was stopped. When it’s not your day, it’s not your day.
We’ve still got a lot of work to do to catch Red Bull, but we can take the positives from this weekend. Every time we’ve taken to the track, we couldn’t have done any more. We maximised everything and I’m proud of the job that we have done.
Alex Albon and Charles Leclerc rounded out the drivers not classified. Next up for the Formula One world championship is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.