Formula 1 2023: Australia
Round Three: The Australian Grand Prix
The Australian Grand Prix was this weekend in Melbourne. This race was full of chaos- there was gravel along the sides of the track, which meant that many cars got stuck when they went off the track. There were also many crashes, and some cars seemed to prefer this track over others.
Full results here. Some surprises were Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc in 2nd in FP1 and FP2, and Esteban Ocon of Alpine in 3rd in FP3. Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso were, as expected, in the top three.
Max Verstappen took pole (1st place) this weekend after a disappointing qualifying in the last race. However, his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was out in Q1 and started in 20th place after spinning into the gravel. The top three was interesting- two Mercedes followed Verstappen’s Red Bull, with George Russell ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. This was surprising because Mercedes had seemed to be behind Aston Martin all weekend. The Aston Martins and Ferraris had a slightly disappointing qualifying, starting in 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Alex Albon put in an impressive time to start in 8th, ahead of Pierre Gasly of Alpine and Nico Hulkenberg of Haas. Full results here.
It was an absolutely chaotic race in Melbourne, with only 12 finishing the race out of the 20 that started.There were four different red flags throughout the course of the race.
At the start, Max Verstappen was overtaken by both of the Mercedes’. Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was spun off into the gravel almost immediately, causing a safety car. This was the start of yet another disappointing race for Ferrari, who seem to be having terrible luck this year. Only a few laps later, Alex Albon of Williams crashed out of the race after making an error. This was very sad for Williams, as up until then they were having a very good race in the points. This caused the first red flag of the race.
After the race restarted, Verstappen dominated, building up a good gap. George Russell’s car caught fire, putting him out of the race. After that, the duration of the race was relatively calm. However, in the last two laps, the Haas of Kevin Magnussen hit a wall and lost his tire. This caused another red flag. The race was restarted with two laps to go, and immediately– absolute chaos.
There were 17 cars going into a corner at once. Carlos Sainz of Ferrari collided with Fernando Alonso, sending him and Lance Stroll spinning. This caused Pierre Gasly of Alpine, who had been running a great race, to collide with his teammate, Esteban Ocon, in a dramatic crash that left debris all over the track. In the aftermath, Logan Sargeant and Nyck DeVries also crashed out. This caused the third red flag of the race.
Carlos Sainz was given a 5-second time penalty for causing a collision, and the places of the cars were reinstated to where they were before the 3rd red flag, because the cars had not
completed a third of the lap before the red flag was waved.
The last lap was behind the safety car, only for the sake of completing the race. No overtaking was allowed. As Sainz was given a time penalty and all cars were so close behind, he finished in last.
The fourth red flag was caused after the race ended, with Nico Hulkenberg’s car stopping on track after the race was over. This did not impact anything in the results. The full results of the race are here.
Overall, this race was a good result for McLaren, with both drivers finishing in the points. Sergio Perez had a great result, climbing from 20th place all the way to 5th. With Lewis Hamilton in second place and Fernando Alonso in third, there seems to be a challenge coming from Mercedes to Aston Martin. Red Bull is still dominating, with Max Verstappen winning for the 2nd time this season. This race has shown how chaotic and mixed up the results can sometimes be, and that the ending can never be predicted.