Christopher Fillocque with AFP 13:38 pm, April 02, 2023

A crazy race that ended with a victory for Verstappen. This Sunday, the double world champion won the Australian Grand Prix, after a race stopped three times due to accidents. A tough race for Alpine, which saw its two French drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon collide shortly after the third start.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) crushes the competition! Despite a failed start, the two-time world champion won the Australian Grand Prix, the third round of the Formula 1 world championship, on Sunday after a race stopped three times due to accidents. 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.

"Obviously I'm very happy to win. The car had a good pace. But the end of the race, it was a bit of a mess," said the Dutchman. Red Bull, which had not won in Australia since 2011, crushes the constructors' championship (123 pts).

Ferrari's nightmare

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. "I didn't expect to finish second, I'm super happy (...) but we still have performance to go for," said the Briton. Fernando Alonso, at the age of 41, won his 101st podium, the third in three races this season at the wheel of his Aston Martin that never ceases to surprise.

"The race wasn't easy so to finish third again is incredible. To have 45 points (in the world championship) after three races is fantastic," said the Bull of Asturias. 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.

Gasly-Ocon hanging

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. "They both apologized. But it was just chaos at that time. It's unfortunate that they collided but blaming one or the other is not the right thing to do, said Otmar Szafnauer, the boss of Alpine. It's a real shame because we were close to scoring very good points with a deserved fifth place for Pierre because we were very fast here."

The race was interrupted three times, after accidents by Alexander Albon (Williams) on lap 7, Kevin Magnussen (Haas) on lap 53 and the two Frenchmen on 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. These red flags were not to everyone's taste, especially the winner Max Verstappen: "I don't think the second red flag was necessary, we could have made a start behind the safety car. They (the FIA) created the problem themselves," he said.

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.