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F1 race results: Max Verstappen wins wild Australian GP

Max Verstappen won a chaotic Australian Grand Prix, the third round of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, in a race that was red-flagged three times.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, the rest of the field at the start

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen lost his lead from pole at the start, as the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton passed him in the opening corners.

But Verstappen took control after a restart following Alex Albon’s Turn 6 crash, passing Hamilton using DRS in the ultra-fast section ahead of Turn 9 while Russell - who had pitted immediately after the Williams shunt when a safety car was briefly declared, prior to the decision to throw red flags - went out with an engine fire.

Despite a brief off, Verstappen looked to be cruising to victory when the race was red-flagged again as Kevin Magnussen crashed his Haas. A two-lap restart was attempted, but that ended in a multi-car crash and led to another red flag.

Those cars that were still running then completed a final lap behind the safety car in the order of the previous restart, although a post-race penalty for Carlos Sainz's Ferrari spinning Aston Martin rival Fernando Alonso at the third, aborted restart dropped him from fourth to 12th.

2023 F1 Australian Grand Prix results

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen 58 -    
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 58 0.179 0.179 0.179
3 Spain Fernando Alonso 58 0.769 0.769 0.590
4 Canada Lance Stroll 58 3.082 3.082 2.313
5 Mexico Sergio Perez 58 3.320 3.320 0.238
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris 58 3.701 3.701 0.381
7 Germany Nico Hulkenberg 58 4.939 4.939 1.238
8 Australia Oscar Piastri 58 5.382 5.382 0.443
9 China Zhou Guanyu 58 5.713 5.713 0.331
10 Japan Yuki Tsunoda 58 6.052 6.052 0.339
11 Finland Valtteri Bottas 58 6.513 6.513 0.461
12 Spain Carlos Sainz 58 6.594 6.594 0.081
13 France Pierre Gasly 56      
14 France Esteban Ocon 56      
15 Netherlands Nyck de Vries 56      
16 United States Logan Sargeant 56      
  Denmark Kevin Magnussen 52      
  United Kingdom George Russell 17      
  Thailand Alex Albon 6      
  Monaco Charles Leclerc 0      

How the 2023 F1 Australian Grand Prix unfolded

Verstappen got wheelspin away from the startline and couldn’t maintain his pole position advantage on the run to Turn 1, where Russell beat him to the apex and grabbed the lead.

Hamilton then muscled past Verstappen for second at Turn 3 as, behind them, last year’s race winner Charles Leclerc spun into the gravel after his Ferrari clipped Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin, causing a safety car.

The race went green on lap four, with Russell leading Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz and Alonso. 

Albon ran sixth early on for Williams, ahead of Stroll, but the safety car was required again when Albon crashed out and was just missed by Pierre Gasly (Alpine) and Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) as he bounced back onto the track shrouded in a cloud of dust.

Russell pitted for fresh hard tyres, dropping to seventh, allowing Hamilton to inherit the lead, ahead of Verstappen, Alonso and Stroll. Sainz was another to pit, falling back to 11th. But the FIA chose to red flag the race to clean gravel and debris from the track surface, handing those who hadn’t pitted a free tyre change in the pits – ruining the strategies of Russell and Sainz.

That meant a second standing start, with Hamilton starting on pole this time, ahead of Verstappen and the Astons. Hamilton held the lead from Verstappen and Alonso, with Gasly passing Stroll for fourth and Russell doing likewise to run fifth.

Verstappen cruised past Hamilton with DRS on the ultra-fast run to Turn 9 and was already 2s clear when they next crossed the finish line. Russell passed Gasly for fourth on lap 14, while Sainz caught Stroll napping for sixth a lap later.

Russell’s race ended on lap 18, when the rear of his Mercedes erupted in flames and he was forced to pull off in the pitlane exit, causing a brief virtual safety car.

Sainz passed Gasly with a sweet move at Turn 3 on lap 25 to take fourth, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez – who started from the pitlane after his qualifying off – was into the points by this point.

At half distance, Verstappen led by 7s from the closely matched Hamilton and Alonso. He was over 10s clear when he understeered on to the grass at the penultimate corner with 10 laps to go, but he managed to save the moment.

Verstappen’s lead vanished completely when the red flag flew as Magnussen went off at Turn 2 with four laps remaining, and his car and detached tyre needed recovering. Before that, Hamilton had kept Alonso at bay for second, with Sainz falling away in the closing stages and Gasly right on his tail. A spirited battle between Lando Norris (McLaren) and Hulkenberg looked sealed with six laps to go when Norris dived past, but the second red flag meant they lined up again for a two-lap sprint.

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 as Gasly drifted across the path of Esteban Ocon and ended their races in the wall, while Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant were stranded in the Turn 1 gravel after the Williams rookie ploughed into his AlphaTauri counterpart. The drama continued into Turn 3, where Stroll went off under pressure from the delayed Sainz but continued.

The cars returned to the pits in the order: Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Norris, Oscar Piastri (McLaren), the Alfa Romeos of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas, and Perez – who ran into the gravel at Turn 1 and dropped to 10th.

But the stewards elected to restart in a different order, as cars hadn’t gone through a sector under racing conditions, and so completed the final lap behind the safety car in the order of the last restart for those cars still running. That elevated Alonso back to third, ahead of Sainz – who was given a 5s penalty that dropped him from fourth to 12th.

Stroll was classified fourth, ahead of Perez, Norris, Hulkenberg (who stopped on his in-lap), Piastri, Zhou and Tsunoda.

2023 F1 Australian Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Mexico Sergio Perez 53 1'20.235     236.814
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen 49 1'20.342 0.107 0.107 236.498
3 Spain Carlos Sainz 53 1'20.467 0.232 0.125 236.131
4 Spain Fernando Alonso 53 1'20.476 0.241 0.009 236.105
5 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 49 1'20.613 0.378 0.137 235.703
6 Canada Lance Stroll 50 1'20.934 0.699 0.321 234.769
7 France Pierre Gasly 47 1'20.995 0.760 0.061 234.592
8 Germany Nico Hulkenberg 46 1'21.124 0.889 0.129 234.219
9 United Kingdom Lando Norris 46 1'21.173 0.938 0.049 234.077
10 Netherlands Nyck de Vries 50 1'21.183 0.948 0.010 234.049
11 France Esteban Ocon 44 1'21.203 0.968 0.020 233.991
12 Australia Oscar Piastri 53 1'21.335 1.100 0.132 233.611
13 United States Logan Sargeant 50 1'21.456 1.221 0.121 233.264
14 Denmark Kevin Magnussen 52 1'21.685 1.450 0.229 232.610
15 Japan Yuki Tsunoda 52 1'21.789 1.554 0.104 232.314
16 China Zhou Guanyu 48 1'21.819 1.584 0.030 232.229
17 Finland Valtteri Bottas 46 1'22.233 1.998 0.414 231.060
18 United Kingdom George Russell 16 1'22.680 2.445 0.447 229.811
19 Thailand Alex Albon 6 1'23.349 3.114 0.669 227.966

2023 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix pitstops

Cla Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen M 8 H 47 S 5 S 6            
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton M 8 H 47 S 6 S 5            
3 Spain Fernando Alonso M 9 H 47 S 6 S 5            
4 Canada Lance Stroll M 9 H 47 S 7 S 7            
5 Mexico Sergio Perez H 1 M 1 H 6 H 48 S 2 S 1    
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris M 8 H 47 S 2 S 5            
7 Germany Nico Hulkenberg M 8 H 47 S 6 S 5            
8 Australia Oscar Piastri M 8 H 46 S 1 S 2 S 1        
9 China Zhou Guanyu S 1 H 7 H 53 S 1 S 2 S 3    
10 Japan Yuki Tsunoda M 8 H 46 S 1 S 6 S 9        
11 Finland Valtteri Bottas S 1 H 7 H 52 S 1 S 2 S 4 S 5
12 Spain Carlos Sainz M 7 H 1 H 48 S 6 S 5        
13 France Pierre Gasly S 8 H 47 S 2                
14 France Esteban Ocon S 1 H 7 H 54 S 1            
15 Netherlands Nyck de Vries H 8 M 37 S 9 S 5 S 6        
16 United States Logan Sargeant H 1 M 1 H 7 M 28 H 25 S 1 S 2
  Denmark Kevin Magnussen M 7 H 1 H 45                
  United Kingdom George Russell M 7 H 1 H 10                
  Thailand Alex Albon M 6                        
  Monaco Charles Leclerc M 0                        

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