Max Verstappen claimed an eventful victory in the 2023 F1 Australian Grand Prix. Verstappen lost his polesitting advantage at the start, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton passing him in the opening corners. However, Verstappen regained control after a restart, following Alex Albon’s big crash, and passed Hamilton using DRS. Russell went out with an engine fire, allowing Verstappen to cruise towards victory, with a brief slip-up towards the end, which he managed to save.
The race saw multiple incidents and red flags. The safety car was called out when last year’s winner Charles Leclerc‘s Ferrari spun into the gravel after clipping Lance Stroll‘s Aston Martin. The race went green on Lap 4, with Russell leading Hamilton, Verstappen, Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin). However, the safety car was required again when Albon crashed out heavily at Turn 7.
Russell, who was in the lead, pitted for fresh hard tyres. This helped Hamilton, who took over the lead. Verstappen passed Hamilton with DRS in the ultra-fast section ahead of Turn 9 and was already two seconds clear when they next crossed the finish line. Sergio Perez put in a strong performance, finishing in the points, despite starting from the pitlane.
The race was red-flagged twice. Kevin Magnussen‘s Haas crashed, and another multi-car crash followed, which led to another red flag. Verstappen led from his second pole start of the day, ahead of Hamilton, as Sainz pushed Alonso into a spin at Turn 2. Both Alpines then collided and ended their races in the wall, with Nyck De Vries (AlphaTauri) and Logan Sargeant (Williams) also retiring. Further around the lap, Stroll went off.
The stewards elected to restart the race in a different order, as some cars hadn’t gone through a sector under racing conditions. The final lap was completed behind the safety car in the order of the last restart for those cars still running. This elevated Alonso back to third, behind Verstappen and Hamilton, with Stroll in fourth and Perez in fifth.
Verstappen claimed the victory, with Hamilton coming in second, and Alonso taking the final podium spot. Sainz finished in fourth place but was given a five-second penalty that dropped him to twelfth. Stroll was classified fourth, ahead of Perez, Norris, Hulkenberg, Piastri, Zhou, and Tsunoda.