Max Verstappen held off Lewis Hamilton, who was resurgent to win his Red Bull to an exciting victory at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday. This helped him tighten his grip on his world championship. He started from the pole, and even though Hamilton and George Russell, Mercedes drivers, passed him at the start, Verstappen kept his cool and won a race that was red-flagged three times. There were multiple crashes. Fernando Alonso from Aston Martin came in second, while Hamilton was third.
Verstappen said that the Dutchman Verstappen won the season-opening race in Bahrain but was second in Jeddah two weeks ago.
“After that, the car moved quickly. Although it was chaotic, we managed to keep pace and won. These red flags need to be clarified, and I need help understanding them.
Charles Leclerc from Ferrari, last year’s champion, spun out on the first lap. Russell’s car caught fire at lap 19, and his race ended.
The victory was Verstappen’s maiden Melbourne win and Red Bull’s first Australian victory in Australia since Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 triumph.
Sergio Perez, his teammate and winner in Saudi Arabia, came fifth after qualifying last because of brake problems. Lance Stroll was in the other Aston Martin.
Red Bull won despite the incredible drama. Verstappen led Hamilton and Alonso by two laps so that they could issue a red flag.
It was chaotic when Alonso was clipped in the face by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz as they jostled for position. They were then sent into a spin, creating a ripple effect and causing multiple cars to come to their knees.
Sainz received a penalty of five seconds, finishing 12th. The race was stopped again.
After a long delay, the race resumed with a single lap behind a safety vehicle — no overtaking permitted — in the same order as the previous start (with only 12 cars remaining).
Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, said he didn’t anticipate finishing second and was extremely grateful.
“I drive as best as I can and work as hard as possible, but considering how we’ve been performing and our straight pace, it’s amazing for us to fight with Aston.”
It was a beautiful day. Lando Norris in McLaren sixth, Niko Haas seventh, Oscar Piastri rookie in McLaren eighth, and Lando Norris in McLaren, sixth.
“Rollercoaster of emotions”
Alpha Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu was ninth, and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was 10th.
A Spanish veteran, Alonso, said, “We had a rollercoaster ride of emotions today. Many things happened at the beginning and the last 30 minutes.”
“Mercedes were fast, and Lewis did an amazing job. I couldn’t match their pace, but we’ll take the P3.”
Red Bull’s speed advantage was evident, so Hamilton and Russell needed to start strong.
They did it with both scorching past a tentative Verstappen at the first corner before Leclerc spun at Turn 3 to bring out the safety car. when Williams’ Alexander Albon lost control, leaving gravel on the track. A red flag was eventually required.
They started from a standing position, with Hamilton keeping Verstappen away at first.
It was only a matter before the Dutchman made his move, and he surged to the front on lap 12.
Russell’s car had a mechanical problem, and a safety car was required again. Verstappen took over the reins now and pulled clear.
At the halfway point, he was seven seconds ahead. The battle was about Hamilton or Alonso’s second-place finish.
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There was even more drama when Kevin Magnussen’s rear tire of his Haas went flat, and the red flag was raised at the end.