The Dutchman signed a second victory this season in an Australian Grand Prix marked by a completely crazy outcome.
And two this season for Max Verstappen. After Bahrain, the reigning double world champion won the Australian Grand Prix, the third round of the Formula 1 season. His 37th career success. Red Bull thus confirms its domination since the Austrian firm won the first three races. Behind, in chaos after three red flags, Lewis Hamilton, second, and Fernando Alonso, third, complete the podium of a chaotic Australian GP.
A dream start for Mercedes
The start, or rather the starts, in Melbourne should not be missed. On pole, Max Verstappen was expecting a stormy first corner with the two Mercedes chasing him. And the Dutchman was not disappointed since George Russell, author of a better take-off, had passed him from the first corner, imitated by Lewis Hamilton at turn 3. A turn 3 moreover fatal to Charles Leclerc, blocked in the gravel pit after contact with Lance Stroll. In front, the Mercedes led the dance with the Batavian in the mirrors but everything was going to change quickly.
A first red flag revives Verstappen
Sixth in his Williams after an excellent start, Alex Albon made a mistake on the seventh lap and smashed his car into the wall at the start of sector 2. The safety car was then deployed. George Russell, leader, dove into the pits to put on hard tyres, leaving the lead to Lewis Hamilton. But the red flag was displayed and Russell trapped as all the drivers then returned to the pit lane and were free to change their tyres. The race restarted at 7:37 a.m. for a second standing start with Hamilton in the lead. Very quickly, Verstappen regained the lead on lap 12 with disconcerting ease against the Briton. In the aftermath, Russell, fourth, was forced to retire for an engine failure on lap 17 and the race then entered a long monotony. So much so that, a solid leader, Verstappen made a mistake, a short lap in the grass, but the Batavian would quickly wake up.
Gasly / Ocon clash, two new interruptions, heat stroke in Melbourne
On lap 54, when the positions were fixed, Kevin Magnussen found himself with a Haas on three wheels after contact with the wall. The race was again interrupted by a red flag and was going to resume for two crazy laps with soft tires for everyone. And there, chaos fell on the Albert Park route. The third standing start was probably too many for drivers reassembled and ready to gain any place. The outcome was brutal since apart from Verstappen and Hamilton no one came out unscathed from this recovery.
Read alsoFormula 1: Alonso outside, crash of the two Alpines, the third chaotic start on video
Alonso was harpooned by Sainz, penalized by five seconds and finally 12th, De Vries and Sargeant ended up in the gravel trap and the two Alpines of Gasly and Ocon clung to fit into the wall. Hard to get more ferocious. Race management then issued a third red flag and decided to restart the race for one lap behind the safety car, just to calm everyone down. For the happiness of Max Verstappen, victorious for the first time on the other side of the globe.