The race at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne started. It started and finished a few times. With three restarts, 12 surviving cars, and a controversial finish, Australian Grand Prix 2023 became a show to remember for F1 fans. Here is our review of one of the most thrilling F1 races of the 2023 season.
All types of drama in the Australian Grand Prix 2023
Max Verstappen took the pole at Saturday’s qualifying. His RB19 F1 car was fastest, almost second overall. Sergio Perez started the Australian Grand Prix at the back of the grid due to a crash in Q1. The main question was – will Perez complete the podium finishers?
But as soon as the lights turned green, focus shifted onto two Mercedes: Hamilton and Russell’s cars both pushed to Verstappen with Russell immediately leading the race.
Ferrari fans were left rowing, as at the start Charles Lecler went flat out on the gravel and lost his place in seventh as well as any hopes to score points after Lap 1. With six points in the standings, that has been the worst season start in Moengasque’s F1 career.
Meanwhile, the happiness of Williams F1 fans climbed high but didn’t last long. In Lap 2, Alex Albon ran against Alonso for fifth position. What a daredevil! But almost immediately he fall back on Lap7. Albon’s flat-out triggered the safety car and the first red flag due to gravel on the Albert Park Circuit.
Mercedes in the inner conflict
After the Australian Grand Prix 2023 red-flagged on Lap 8, Mercedes decided to address the dilemma between their drivers, making it a bit worse. Leading the race, Russell wasn’t happy with Hamilton pushing behind. Russell was ordered to go to the pits. The team decided Russell made a pit, and he was down at seventh position. However, his feelings didn’t last long; on Lap 18 his Mercedes fired up, and he was forced to retire.
However, the speed advantage due to the DRS zone one was evident on Lap 12, when Verstappen flew past Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes like a rocket. There is nothing wrong with Red Bull’s speed: like rockets, they are faster than anyone else on the grid. The Australian Grand Pris was bound to finish with Verstappen, Hamilton, and Alonso placing, but the wheel of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas car threw that into doubt. On Lap 54 of 58, it blew up and created a safety issue, and the Australian GP 2023 was red-flagged again on Lap 55.
Red Flags chaos at the Australian Grand Prix
If all the drivers on the grid were tolerant of the last red flag, this safety pause enraged them. On one hand, they believed Magnussen’s wheel blowing wasn’t worth the safety action. On the other hand, it was dangerous due to the debris it left on the track. Nerves were raw with three laps to go. Therefore the restart on Lap 57 made history as the biggest crash start of the Australian Grand Prix. Two teams and six drivers were forced to retire.
Alpine drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon crashed into each other. Williams driver Logan Sargeant pushed Alpha Tauri of Nyck de Vries out. However, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz made the most dangerous move by driving his car into the third Aston Martin of his Spanish idol, Fernando Alonso.
The Australian Grand Prix was red-flagged again, for the third time! This forced another awkward pause on the chaos.
It seems FIA will change F1 race directors to the following race.
After the fifteenth minute of preparation, it was decided that the final lap would be restarted but with the previous order. Thus, Aston Martin engineers rushed to fix Alonso’s car so it could make it to the finish.
This decision is the key controversy. What if all the cars were damaged, for example. How would that be dealt with?
Max Verstappen won the race. Hamilton kept second place and Alonso got in third. Sergio Perez finished fifth and was named “Driver of the Day”. Carlos Sainz got a time penalty. The Australian Grand Prix 2023 has been very controversial. Two red flags for two laps in a row was enough for the FIA to start investigations.
Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg lost his chance for a podium finish, but this will be investigated as Haas is going to protest the direction decision.
However, by investigating each point, the race is a highly debatable event. Although it was a good show, it is also a good reason to rethink some rules in Formula 1.