F1 : Verstappen wins in wild finish to F1 Australian Grand Prix

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US News, April 2, 2023. Max Verstappen of Red Bull won the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday in extraordinary circumstances following a chaotic F1 race that was dramatic from the start to the finish.

Red Bull’s first victory in Melbourne since 2011 was anticipated, but the chaos that broke out at Albert Park during the race’s closing laps made it an incredibly difficult victory.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton came in second after driving brilliantly for Mercedes, and Fernando Alonso for Aston Martin claimed third place.

Oscar Piastri, an Aussie, took advantage of the chaos to place eighth and earn his maiden championship points for McLaren. Just 12 of the 20 starters finished the race.

While being happy to have won, Verstappen questioned the stewards’ choice to call a red flag following a crash on lap 55 of the 58-lap race rather than bringing in a safety car.

At that point, he had a sizable advantage, but when the race restarted, Hamilton forced him to battle for the lead.

Verstappen stated, “Of course we are thrilled to have won the race, but I believe the race itself was a bit of a muddle with all the calls towards the finish. Many motorists were perplexed as to why we required a second red flag as a result. Today was very disorganised.

Hamilton was pleased with the development Mercedes displayed in Melbourne, which included a strong showing in Saturday’s qualifying.

It was a big surprise, he remarked. We were all in awe at our second and third-place finishes in qualifying yesterday, which gave the squad a tremendous energy boost.

Verstappen was able to fend off Hamilton to the first turn on the restart on lap 55 as chaos broke out behind his Red Bull, which caused the standings to be rearranged.

On the first corner of the restart, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz struck Alonso, who had battled Hamilton for second place for the whole of the race.

Sainz was given a five-second penalty, which dropped him to 12th place despite the Ferrari he was driving having good pace throughout the race.

The Ferrari driver was angry at the choice, and Alonso later stated that he thought the punishment imposed on his opponent was excessive.

In a separate incident, the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly crashed into one other, forcing them out of the race, and Williams driver Logan Sargeant ran into the rear of Nyck de Vries.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari wrecked on the first lap, and George Russell of Mercedes, a former leader, caught fire on lap 18.

Verstappen was outsprinted to the first turn by Russell in a competitive beginning after securing his first pole position in Australia on Saturday.

Hamilton had already past the Dutchman at the third turn, increasing the possibility that a strengthened Mercedes squad may pull off a shocking upset.

But those expectations were dashed on lap 7, when Alexander Albon of Williams lost control and collided with the wall, raising the first red flag.

When race officials determined that stopping the race was the only way to address the safety concern caused by the accident’s debris on the track, Russell had already started his way to the pits.

The English driver was now in seventh place but was eventually forced to abandon the race shortly after it resumed.

Russell stated on social media that “when it’s not your day, it’s not your day.”

Verstappen pursued Hamilton at the top of the pack as the race resumed, and the two-time world champion used his Red Bull’s faster speed to take the lead on Lap.

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