Formula 1: Verstappen also wins in chaos: “What a mess!”

Formula 1: Verstappen also wins in chaos: “What a mess!”

formula 1
Verstappen also wins in the chaos: “What a mess!”

Max Verstappen (l) celebrates his victory in Melbourne with Fernando Alonso.  Photo: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP

Max Verstappen (l) celebrates his victory in Melbourne with Fernando Alonso. photo

© Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP

This is not how Max Verstappen imagined his victory premiere in Australia. The Melbourne race will be remembered for a long time. The race management again ensures maximum topics of conversation.

At the end of a memorable chaos race with three interruptions and crossing the finish line behind the safety car Max Verstappen take a deep breath.

“What a mess,” said the Formula 1 world champion. His deserved triumph on Sunday in Australia Melbourne has the Red Bull driver heading for his third consecutive world title early in the season. “It was quite a long afternoon, but a win is a win – and we’re happy to take it with us,” said the 25-year-old Dutchman.

Verstappen’s first success Down Under will be remembered mainly because of the chaotic circumstances towards the end. record champion Lewis Hamilton came second in the Mercedes, Fernando Alonso was third in the Aston Martin. In the classification, Verstappen increased his lead over teammate Sergio Perez, who only finished fifth, to 15 points by ending his curse on Australia.

Restart decision causes criticism

This caused a lot of misunderstanding race management with the decision to order a restart when there is only one lap left. “I don’t think we needed the second red flag,” criticized Verstappen: “It left a lot of drivers confused. It was very chaotic.” At the restart with only a few kilometers to go, things got hectic as expected, with several accidents causing costly damage and a lot of frustration for the pilots. “You created the problem yourself,” said Verstappen in the direction of the race director: “We should have finished behind the safety car.”

But the race management, headed by the German chief Nils Wittich, decided that after an accident involving Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, the Grand Prix would be released for just one lap. “It was definitely compliant with the rules,” said Magnussen’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg. However, not only he would have wished for more sensitivity. “We all want great racing and entertainment, but you shouldn’t forget the sport either,” said the veteran, who scored points for the first time this season in seventh place. It is a catastrophe for a driver if he retires at the end of a long race because there may be avoidable chaos, emphasized the Emmericher.

This is what happened to Frenchmen Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon from Alpine, who flew into the barriers during the emotionally debated lap. Also because of these accidents, there was a red flag for the first time in the history of Formula 1 and then for the third time. It was decided that the final lap would be repeated behind the safety car, with the cars arranged as they had been at the restart before.

Hulkenberg loses fourth place: Haas protests

The overtaking maneuvers on the chaos lap didn’t count. Bitter for Hülkenberg: The only German in the field would otherwise have finished sensationally fourth in the third race after his comeback. Haas therefore protested against the classification of the Grand Prix.

“It’s great to win here. I’m very, very happy,” said Verstappen despite the circumstances: “We survived everything and won, that was the most important thing in the end. Our speed was really good.” He was still in trouble after crossing the finish line because he was crooked and far in front of his starting box at the last standing start. “It was on the limit but not over the limit,” said the dominator, who was not penalized.

In the race there had only been tension at the beginning. Verstappen was duped on pole position at the start by the strong Mercedes drivers. First George Russell, who later retired with a burning engine, passed from second place, then Hamilton, third in qualifying, came and overtook. Because last year’s winner Charles Leclerc flew off into the gravel bed and lay down, the safety car drove onto the track early on. When the race was released again, the Silver Arrows, which were painted black again this year, initially retained the lead over Verstappen.

Verstappen leads from lap twelve and dominates

It stayed hectic. Alexander Albon crashed his Williams into the barriers after a driving error, the car had to be recovered with a crane. The safety car came out for the second time. In the accident, however, the track became so dirty that the Grand Prix had to be interrupted with the first red flag. All drivers returned to the pits during the 15-minute cleaning job.

At the standing restart, Verstappen could not get past record champion Hamilton, and Alonso put pressure on him from behind. Then the world champion took over: on lap twelve, Verstappen playfully overtook Hamilton. The Red Bull was then so strong that the competition could despair. The only thing that prevented a one-two was that Sergio Perez messed up qualifying on Saturday. The Mexican had to start from the back of the field after the 33-year-old won in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago. For Red Bull it was the first triumph in Melbourne since Vettel’s first place in 2011.


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