MELBOURNE: Max Verstappen was crowned Australian Grand Prix winner today after two late red flags and a slew of crashes threw the race into chaos before the Dutchman was allowed a processional victory lap around Albert Park.
Verstappen was leading Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton when Kevin Magnussen crashed his Haas into a wall, leaving debris on the track and halting the race.
In a chaotic restart, Williams driver Logan Sargeant rode into the back of AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries to knock both of them into gravel at turn one.
Alpine drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon then crashed into each other to leave a trail of debris on the track and trigger another red flag, the third and last for the race.
After lengthy deliberations, stewards decided the race would finish with one lap behind a safety car in the order of the previous start – minus the cars that had crashed out.
That allowed Verstappen to claim his second win of the season ahead of Hamilton, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso third.
Red Bull have now claimed all three grand prix wins in the new season, a record for the team, resuming their dominance after their runaway success in 2022.
“It took a while but a win is a win,” Verstappen said over the team radio after his first victory at Albert Park and Red Bull’s first since 2011.
“That’s a really good weekend for us, we have to be happy with that.”