Mercedes’ George Russell was quick to overtake pole sitter Verstappen to take P1 by the end of Turn 1, while Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll came in contact soon after, with the Ferrari driver ending in gravel, bringing his race to a disappointing end on Lap 1 itself. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton, who started the race from P3, also managed to get ahead of Verstappen before the deployment of safety car.
The safety car came back again on Lap 7 when Alex Albon’s Williams spun off through the gravel into the barriers. Provisional race leader George Russell came into the pits after earning a cheap pit stop, falling down to P7. However, red flags halted the race, making his ‘cheap’ pit stop now seem a little too expensive. The race restart saw Lewis Hamilton retain P1 for a few laps before eventually being overtaken by Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, thanks to DRS.
After a power unit failure, Russell’s Mercedes started throwing flames from the back, forcing the Brit to pull over on the main straight and walk away from his car, making him the third driver to be out of the race. The Virtual Safety Car was called into action for a few laps. What followed were some smooth overtakes all across the grid while Verstappen continued to increase his lead at the front.
Here are all the point scorers from the 2023 Australian Grand Prix –
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 2:32:38.371
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
4. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
6. Lando Norris (McLaren)
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
8. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
9. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
10. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
Lap 54 saw Kevin Magnussen losing the right rear tyre of his Haas, as well as facing some damage to the suspension. Safety car was deployed for the third time, and the race was stopped because of debris still present on the track. The race was resumed for the final 2 laps with a standing start but it was an absolute chaos on Turn 1 which saw the two Alpines hitting into each other and going out. Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant were also out. De Vries is out, so is Sargeant.
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The previous starting order was restored for the third restart since the cars hadn’t gone through the first sector of the lap. Carlos Sainz received a 5 second for causing a collision with Fernando Alonso which ended up spinning his fellow countryman’s Aston Martin. The penalty saw the Spaniard slide from P4 down to P12 and effectively out of points. Meanwhile Yuki Tsunoda was promoted to P10 and into points. In the end, it was three World Champions taking the podium, with Max Verstappen on first, Lewis Hamilton on P2 and Fernando Alonso on P3.
Stay tuned to TOI Auto for all updates on the 2023 Formula One season!