The Dutchman, who had set to win by a wide margin before two interruptions occurred in the last three laps, edged out former world champions Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin).

At Melbourne's Albert Park circuit, Verstappen confirmed the supremacy of the Red Bull cars and escaped the drivers' standings as he is now 15 points ahead of teammate Sergio Pérez, who finished fifth on Sunday after starting last.

With two wins in Bahrain and Australia, and a second place in Saudi Arabia (after starting in 15th position), Max Verstappen made a superb start to the season and appeared totally untouchable at the wheel of his RB 19. Apart from Pérez, whom he now leads by 15 points, no one is currently in a position to worry him.

Red Bull, which had not won in Australia since 2011, crushed the constructors' championship.

After two fifth places, Lewis Hamilton clinched his first podium of the season which seems to validate the rise of the Mercedes, even if George Russell was forced to retire with his engine on fire.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton prepares during the third stop of the race during the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, April 2, 2023 © Saeed KHAN / AFP

Gasly-Ocon hanging

Fernando Alonso, at the age of 41, won his 101st career podium, the third in three races this season at the wheel of his Aston Martin that never ceases to surprise.

Ferrari, on the other hand, had a nightmare day as Monegasque Charles Leclerc had to retire at the third corner. He finished in the gravel after hitting Canadian Lance Stroll's Aston Martin while trying to overtake him.

Then Carlos Sainz was penalised by five seconds after causing Alonso to go off the track at the third start with two laps to go. The Spaniard therefore dropped from fourth to twelfth place, meaning the Scuderia scored no weekend points.

The other loser of the day was the French Alpine team, which saw its two French drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon collide shortly after the third start while they had started respectively in fifth and tenth place.

The race was interrupted three times, after the accidents of Alexander Albon on lap 7, Kevin Magnussen in lap 53 and the two Frenchmen in lap 57. Drivers and spectators were therefore treated to three grid starts, while the last lap of the race was completed behind the safety car.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin's Spanish driver, during the F1 Australian Grand Prix, in Melbourne, April 2, 2023 © Paul CROCK / AFP

After the cancellation of the Chinese GP, the Formula 1 World Championship will experience a four-week break and will resume on the street circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, on April 30.

© 2023 AFP