Australian GP 2023

APRIL 2, 2023

Race Notes - Verstappen takes Australian GP

Max Verstappen, Australian GP 2023
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

After a long afternoon with three red flags, Max Verstappen won the Australian GP in Melbourne in his Red Bull-Honda.

With the race being resumed with the safety car pulling into the pits on the last corner, the cars ran down to the checkered flag for a close finish.

Lewis Hamilton took second place in the Mercedes GP, 0.179s behind, with Fernando Alonso finishing third in the Aston Martin-Mercedes in third, 0.769s behind the winner.

Hamilton has now taken his 192nd podium finish, and his 11th in Melbourne. Verstappen takes his second win of the season, his first in Australia, and his 37th career victory. Alonso takes his third, third place result of the season in the first three races.

Verstappen leads the World Championship with 69 points over Perez with 54 points and Alonso with 45 points. Red Bull leads the Constructors Championship with 123 points over Aston Martin at 65 points and Mercedes GP with 56 points.

Red Bull also takes wins for the first three races of the season.

Lance Stroll (3.082s) in the second Aston Martin finishes fourth, followed by Segio Perez (3.320s) in the second Red Bull, after starting last was fifth, Lando Norris (3.701s) in the McLaren-Mercedes was sixth, Nico Hulkenberg (4.939s) in the Haas-Ferrari was seventh, Oscar Piastri (5.382s) in the second McLaren took his first career points in eighth place, Guanyu Zhou (5.713s) in the Alfa Romeo-Ferrari was ninth, and Yuki Tsunoda (6.052s) in the AlphaTauri-Honda took the final point in tenth place.

Valtteri Bottas (6.513s) in the second Alfa Romeo was 11th, and Carlos Sainz (6.594s), with a 5-second penalty imposed, after finishing on track in fourth place, was classified 12th, the last of the cars still running.

With sunny skies and a huge crowd onhand before the start and temperatures much higher than the rest of the weekend, drivers are expecting a one stop race, with most drivers starting on medium tyres and switching to hard tyres for the run to the checkered flag. All drivers starting on mediums except for Gasly, Ocon, Zhou and Bottas on softs, and Devries, Sargeant and Perez on hards.

Verstappen starts on pole with the Mercedes of Russell alongside on the front row. Hamilton and Alonso on row 2, Sainz and Stroll on row 3, Leclerc and Albon on row 4, and Gasly and Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten. Bottas and Perez will be starting from the pitlane.

At the appointed time the drivers came around on the formation lap, the lights went out and the race began with Verstappen getting a good start, with Russell getting the lead into the first corner Hamilton getting by as well, Verstappen in third.

On the first lap Stroll and Leclerc touch, with Leclerc ending up in the gravel. The safety car is out.

Ocon pits at the end of the first lap.

Under the safety car Russell leads followed by Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz, Alonso, Albon , Stroll and Gasly following.

At the start of lap 4 the race resumes with Russell and Hamilton leading.

On lap 5 Perez is up to 17th place

On lap 6 Hamilton closes on Russell in the lead.

You asking me to manage, and I am attacked by my own teammate.

On lap 7 Albon spins through the gravel hits a barrier, and winds up on track and the safety car is out.

Russell and Sainz pit for hard tyres.

On lap 8 the red flag comes out and the cars come into the pitlane.

In the pitlane the order is Hamilton, Verstappen, Alonso, Stroll, Gasly in fifth, Hulkenberg, Russell, Tsunoda, Norris, Piastri in tenth, Sainz, Devries, Ocon, Perez in 14th, Zhou, Bottas, Sargeant and Magnussen in18th.

It is announced that the race will restart at 15.33 local time.

The cars come onto the track coming around for a standing start, almost all cars on hard tyres.

The cars line up on the grid and on lap 10 the lights go out and the race resumes with Hamilton gearing into the lead with Verstappen, Alonso, Gasly, Russell and Stroll following.

On lap 11 Sainz passes Norris for ninth.

On lap 12 Verstappen passes Hamilton for the lead.

On lap 12 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.994s.

On lap 13 Russell passes Gasly for fourth. Perez passes Sargeant for 15th. Sainz passes Hulkenberg for seventh.

On lap 15 Sainz passes Stroll for sixth. Perez passes Magnussen for 14th.

On lap 17 Perez passes Zhou for 13th.

Alonso has closed to under a second behind Hamilton.

On lap 18 Russell slows and pulls off the track with a Power Unit failure, with fire coming out of the rear of the car. The virtual safety car is out.

The green flag comes out and the race resumes.

At lap 20 Verstappen leads Hamilton (2.7s), Alonso (3.6s), Gasly (7.1s), Sainz (8.0s), Stroll (8.8s), Hulkenberg (10.3s), Norris (12.7s), Tsunoda (16.5s) and Piastri (16.9s) in tenth place.

On lap 22 Perez passes Ocon in 11th.

On lap 23 Perez passes Piastri for tenth, and later in the lap on Tsunoda for ninth.

Sainz continues to attack the rear of Gasly in fourth.

On lap 24 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.843s.

On kap 25 Sainz passes Gasly for fourth place.

Tsunoda in tenth with Piastri and Ocon following closely behind.

On lap 26 Ocon passes Piastri for 11th.

On lap 27 Ocon passes Tsunoda for tenth place.

On lap 29 Verstappen sets fastest lap at 1m21.772s.

At lap 30 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 8.0 seconds, followed by Alonso (9.7s), Sainz (11.9s), Gasly (12.4s), Stroll (12.7s), Hulkenberg (15.8s), Norris (17.7s), Perez (20.9s) and Ocon (26.7s) in tenth place.

Piastri passes Tsunoda for 11th.

On lap 32 Perez sets fast lap at 1m21.456s.

Hamilton tell the team about Alonso pressuring him, “guys they can’t be on the same strategy as us."

On lap 36 Magnussen passes Tsunoda for 13th place.

On lap 37 Magnussen passes Zhou for 12th place.

On lap 38 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.319s.

On lap 39 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m21.315s.

At lap 40 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 9.6 seconds, followed by Alonso (11.4s), Sainz (13.1s), Gasly (13.9s), Stroll (16.4s), Hulkenberg (20.6s), Norris (22.1s), Perez (23.1s) and Ocon (31.4s) in tenth place.

On lap 40 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.078s.

On lap 41 Perez takes fast lap at 1m20.986, and again the next lap at 1m20.979s.

Perez passes Norris for eighth, then passes Hulkenberg for seventh.

On lap 43 Perez sets fast lap at 1m20.697s.

On lap 47 Alonso sets fast lap at 1m20.690s, and trails Hamilton by 1.1 seconds.

On lap 47 Verstappen locks his tyres into turn 12 and runs wide but continues.

On lap 49 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m20.342s.

At lap 50 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 7.9 seconds, followed by Alonso (9.6s), Sainz (13.1s), Gasly (14.2s), Stroll (17.6s), Perez (20.1s), Hulkenberg (25.3s), Norris (26.1s) and Ocon (33.3s) in tenth place.

On lap 52 Norris passes Hulkenberg for eighth place.

On lap 54 Magnussen touches the wall and suffers a tyre failure and pulls off the track.

On lap 53 Perez sets fastest lap at 1m20.235s.

With much debris on the track, the safety car is out.

At lap 55 the red flag is out and the cars pull into the pits.

In the pits the order is Verstappen in the lead followed by Hamilton, Alonso Sainz, Gasly, Stroll, Perez, Norris, Hulkenberg, Ocon in tenth, Piastri, Zhou, Tsunoda, Bottas, Sargeant, and Devries in 16th.

Race control announces the race will resume at 16.56 local time.

With all drivers on soft tyres they come around for a standing start for a two lap shootout.

The cars form on the grid, the lights go out and the race resumes with Verstappen in the lead, Alonso with contact from Sainz spins into the first corner. With the confusion into the first corner, many drivers stack up into each other.

Gasly and Ocon hit each other and both are out, the red flag is out.

The order is Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Tsunoda, Norris, Piastri, Zhou, Bottas, Perez, Alonso and Stroll in 12th.

The red flag came out very quickly and there is talk of where the order will go back to the lap before, as per the

The stewards announce that the race will de resumed behind safety car in the order of the previous start, minus the cars that are out. There will be a rolling start and will have one lap of racing back to the chequered flag.

The race will resume at 17.33 local time.

During the red flag Sainz, for touching Alonso into a spin on the last start, is handed a 5-second penalty after the finish of the race. Sainz argues that they should not give him the penalty, but it is too severe, and it should be discussed with the stewards after the race.

The order of the 12 cars still running are Verstappen, followed by Hamilton, Alonso, Sainz, Stroll, Perez, Norris, Hulkenberg, Piastri and Zhou in tenth, Tsunoda and Bottas in twelve,

With the sun going down the cars return to the track behind the safety car. The cars follow around the safety car for the 58th lap and cross the finish line and take the win ahead of Hamilton in second and Alonso in third.