The Australian Grand Prix finished in dramatic, chaotic style on Sunday at Albert Park, but it was Max Verstappen who emerged victorious as he took Red Bull’s first victory at the track for over 10 years.
The race ended in a rather neutralised fashion as Verstappen led the field over the line following a Safety Car restart due to a chaotic sequence set off by Kevin Magnussen losing a tyre and tagging the wall in the closing stages, sending shards of debris across the track.
With a handful of laps to go, the red flag was flown to spark a clean up operation on the track and Verstappen, who had led for much of the race and was in a commanding position, now had to see off one last restart and the challenge of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in behind him.
However, the restart was a mess, with drivers pushing hard to make late gains and another red flag was flown before the field had got through the first sector, with the two Alpine cars of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly colliding.
The fact the first sector had not been run through before the red flag came out once more meant the order was reverted back to what it was at the restart, and the race would then end behind the Safety Car once it got going again – particular relief for Fernando Alonso who had been punted off by Carlos Sainz earlier in the chaos.
Before that, the race actually started with George Russell taking the lead from Max, but the Briton’s luck would run out fairly soon after.
He’d pit from the lead under a Safety Car period caused by Alex Albon’s crash but that was then upgraded to a red flag situation, meaning he lost out as those that had not pitted and had moved in front of him then had a free chance to change tyres whilst the race was paused.
After the restart as he looked to get back towards the top three, the rear of his Mercedes lit up with flames coming out of the back of the car and that was his race run – sometimes it’s just not your day.
Verstappen, then, was the man to take victory once again ahead of his other two fellow world champions on the grid; Hamilton and Alonso, and F1 now goes into a mini break of sorts with no race until Azerbaijan over the final weekend of April.
Australian Grand Prix classification
R. De Vries