The Australian GP turned out to be an engaging race packed with plenty of action. Pole-sitter Max Verstappen conceded the lead to George Russell right from the start, as he was aggressive in his approach. The Red Bull driver even lost another spot to Lewis Hamilton at Turn 3. Verstappen was saved in a way when Alex Albon crashed, leading to the deployment of the safety car. Russell pitted, allowing Hamilton and Verstappen, who both received a free tyre change, to remain in front. A red flag followed, after which Verstappen took the lead back with a DRS move, going on to win the race eventually.
After the race, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner spoke up about what happened during the initial lap, acknowledging that the battle between the three racers was heated. He appreciated Verstappen‘s cool-headedness and Hamilton‘s aggressiveness while admitting that Russell’s swiftness in the beginning was outstanding. It was Hamilton‘s move that compromised Verstappen‘s vehicular position, after which Alonso and Hamilton got ahead of Verstappen, in what Horner described as Hamilton sending down a missile into Turn 3. Horner was also all praise for Verstappen for his amazing driving and his decision to let Hamilton pass.
Verstappen, understandably, wasn’t pleased about Hamilton‘s aggressive first-lap pass. Referring to the racing rules, Verstappen stated that it’s quite clear what can be done on the outside, but he felt that Hamilton had not followed them. However, Verstappen did mention that they managed to get past Hamilton eventually despite his aggressive move.
Hamilton believed that the pass was fair, with both drivers giving each other enough space. He felt that they did not touch each other and so, it was all part of the racing. Mercedes‘ Team Principal Toto Wolff concurred, saying that the pass was not an issue.