Max Verstappen wins in Melbourne ahead of Hamilton and Alonso
What starts like a dream Grand Prix, ends in chaos – and with an expected winner: Championship leader Max Verstappen mostly drives a race against himself at the Australian Grand Prix, but this third race of the season is still the most varied so far of the year.
And that’s not just due to the three safety car phases and three stopped races during the 58 laps, but also to the sporting feuds of the pursuers. But they are not the focus for long when a Formula 1 race ends with an overtaking ban and only twelve cars.
Crash on last reboot
After full speed into the drama, the following arithmetic series applies – at least before the expected protests against this decision by German race director Niels Wittich: Verstappen first for the second time this season, Lewis Hamilton second for the first time, Fernando Alonso third for the third time. Nico Hülkenberg is seventh, the first point gained in his comeback season.
Everything to zero two laps before the end, a grand prix that has long been decided can hardly end more dramatically. None of the drivers want to believe it, but after Kevin Magnussen’s accident, who destroyed his rear wheel suspension on the wall and scattered many small parts on the track, the Australian Grand Prix will be restarted for the second time.
But the joy of a real finish only lasts a few seconds. Verstappen and Hamilton still get through, then Carlos Sainz clears the safe third Fernando Alonso, and behind them the crash continues, both Alpines also maneuver their way out. Nico Hülkenberg would therefore be fourth. But of course it has to be stopped immediately, and if that were the end, then the result of the penultimate round would count.
But Bernd Mayländer’s safety car is allowed out again and leads the remaining twelve cars to a final chord around the track. Alonso can also continue: His Aston Martin survives enemy contact with Sainz unscathed. But once again the complicated Formula 1 rules lead to discussions and dissonances. The pros and cons are understandable, every placement would be worth a lot of money, especially for the small teams that were pushed forward by the hooliganism.
More dramatic than Netflix
The audience under the evening sun takes it sporty and demands one last round. The race control actually opted for this protocol: After the status of the last regular lap minus the eliminated vehicles, the cars roll off again, albeit neutralized – and at the end of the overtaking ban the race is waved off. So at least the podium remains the same as it was extended.
How reassuring that the script of a Formula 1 race can be even more surprising than a Netflix series. First of all, this is due to the moody Australian autumn weather, the temperature fluctuations have a direct impact on the tires and thus the performance of the racing cars. It’s the chance George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have been waiting for forever, they hadn’t come that close to Max Verstappen’s superior Red Bull racing car in qualifying this year.