Max Verstappen on Sunday triumphed in epic and chaotic battle with Lewis Hamilton to say victory on the Australian Grand Prix and strengthens his maintain on the world championship.
The world champion started from pole and regardless of being handed by Mercedes pair George Russell and Hamilton at first, he saved his cool to win a race pink flagged thrice, with a number of crashes.
Hamilton got here dwelling second forward of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who made it three podiums from three this yr.
“We had a really poor begin, lap one I used to be cautious as I had loads to lose,” mentioned Dutchman Verstappen.
“After that, the tempo of the automobile was fast. With these pink flags, I do not know, I do not actually perceive. It was a little bit of a large number however we had good tempo and we received, in order that’s vital.”
It was a disastrous day for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, final yr’s winner, who spun out on the primary lap, whereas Russell’s automobile caught hearth on lap 19 and his race too was over.
The victory was Verstappen’s maiden win in Melbourne and Pink Bull’s first in Australia since Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 triumph.
His teammate and winner in Saudi Arabia a fortnight in the past Sergio Perez sliced by the sector to return fifth after qualifying final resulting from brake points.
The Pink Bull triumph got here regardless of unbelievable late drama that noticed a pink flag come out when Verstappen had a cushty lead from Hamilton and Alonso with two laps left, which means they’d a bunched restart for an all-out assault to the end.
But it surely descended into chaos when Alonso was clipped by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz as they jostled for place and despatched right into a spin, which precipitated a stream on impact with a number of different automobiles coming to grief.
Sainz was given a five-second penalty, ultimately ending twelfth, and the race was stopped once more.
It resumed after a prolonged delay for single lap behind a security automobile – with no overtaking allowed – within the order of the earlier begin with solely 12 automobiles left.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton was ecstatic at making the rostrum.
“I am driving as finest I can and dealing as onerous as I can however nonetheless, contemplating we have been down on efficiency and in straight tempo, for us to be up there preventing with Aston is wonderful,” he mentioned.
On a wonderful, sunny day, Lance Stroll within the different Aston Martin was fourth forward of Perez.
Lando Norris in a McLaren was sixth, Niko Hulkenberg within the Haas seventh and rookie Oscar Piastri, within the different McLaren, an encouraging eighth in solely his third race and on his dwelling circuit.