Max Verstappen's victory in the 2023 Australian Grand Prix was far from straightforward…
Soon after, Williams' Alex Albon crashed out at high speed, bringing out a Safety Car – during which leader Russell pitted – and then a red flag, allowing Mercedes' rivals to take a free stop for tyres.
Verstappen took the lead and Russell's race soon ended with his engine in flames, with team mate Lewis Hamilton seemingly set for second place and Aston Martin's Alonso close by in P3.
That was until Kevin Magnussen hit the wall late in the race to bring out a red flag that would see the 2023 Australian Grand Prix decided in a last-
It was drama all the way at Melbourne’s Albert Park on Sunday, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen held his nerve to secure his first win on Australian soil, bringing him level with Ayrton Senna’s podium total in the process. But there were plenty of other fascinating figures to arise from Down Under…
Lewis Hamilton reflected on a “crazy” Australian Grand Prix after scoring the first podium of the season for himself and Mercedes, saying it was “amazing” to be in the fight towards the front of the field.
Hamilton took second in a hugely dramatic encounter at Albert Park, punctuated by several Safety Cars and red flags, as he followed home Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and kept Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin at bay.
Despite the collective Mercedes disappointment of team mate George Russell retiring from the race due to an apparent engine failure, Hamilton cut an upbeat figure after the race as he assessed the impact of their breakthrough result.
“I’ve got to say a huge thank you to everyone here in Australia and in Melbourne. I’ve had the best week here this week. The weather has been amazing today and this track or this town just continues to put on a great show,” Hamilton said.
“[It was] really unlucky for George. From our side, we’ve got to look into it, our reliability has generally been very good. Otherwise, to get those points is really amazing today. I definitely didn’t expect to be second, so I’m super grateful for it.”
Asked how he was feeling in the W14 as the season develops, he continued: “I still feel uncomfortable in the car, though, the car is still not… I don’t feel connected to it, so I’m driving as best I can with that disconnect.
“I’m working as hard as I can to try and create that connect but I think it’s a long project, but still, we’ve been down on performance, we are clearly down in straight [line] pace compared to the Red Bulls.
“For us to be up here fighting with Aston, it’s just amazing at this point in the season, and we’ve just [got] to keep on fighting. [A] big, big thank you to all the people back at the factory, let’s keep pushing. We can close that gap; it’s going to be tough but not impossible.”
Hamilton was also asked about his radio messages from the midway point of the race, as he indicated that the hard tyres he was running would be unlikely to make it to the chequered flag.
But he stressed: “I definitely wasn’t bluffing. Honestly, I was having to push a lot, right at the beginning to keep Max behind and then Fernando was pushing. They’re very, very quick.
“I think ultimately, [Alonso] was a little bit quicker today behind me, but I just managed to hold him, so for that I’m really grateful. And also, what a legend… we’ve got a world champion up ahead, three world champions in the top three, that’s pretty mega!”
The result puts Hamilton fifth in the drivers’ standings on 20 points, while Mercedes sit third in the constructors’ battle with 56 points.
Watch the highlights of this wild race:
RACE Highlights Australian GP 02.04.2023
Safety Cars, red flags and high drama Down Under as Verstappen wins in Australia, Hamilton second, Alonso Aston Martin podium again and Sainz, Ferrari angry.
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