Australian grand prix ends in a dramatic finish


Round three of the 2023 Formula 1 season concluded Saturday, April 1 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Australia. Photo courtesy of EJ Mina/ Wikipedia Commons

Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor

Round three of the 2023 Formula 1 season concluded Saturday, April 1 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Australia. The race included many firsts ranging from safety cars to podium finishes.  

It was lights out as the 20 cars went on without a hitch, until they reached turn three where Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll collided. The collision resulted in the deployment of a safety car forcing Leclerc to retire from the grand prix. This is Leclerc’s second DNF (did not finish) of the season after not finishing in Bahrain.  

After the track was cleared, the race continued with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes leading in first and second and Max Verstappen from Red Bull in third. 

Williams Racing driver Alex Albon crashed into the barrier in lap seven causing a red flag and a safety car; the race was paused and was later restarted after the track was cleared. Russell lost the lead due to pitting before the red flag. Unfortunately, Russell also had a DNF after his car caught on fire after a technical failure at lap 18 which interrupted the race for a third time. 

The end of the race matched the chaotic nature of the rest of the grand prix. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen loss of his rear tire after hitting the wall exiting turn two brought out another red flag. The drivers were off for the final two laps, but the chaos began when Ferrari’s second driver Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin’s second driver Fernando Alonso contacted. With one lap to go there was yet another red flag due to Alpine teammates Pierre Gasly and Estaban Ocon crashing into each other and going into the barrier. Williams lost their other car after rookie Logan Sargeant ran into the back AlphaTauri rookie Nyck de Vries. 

Sainz was in third after the chaotic restart but the Fédération Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) decided to revert the positions back to before the last red flag happened, pushing Sainz back to fourth. The FIA reviewed the collision between Sainz and Alonso and gave Sainz a five second penalty which pushed him all the way down to 12th 

The Australian grand prix ended on a rolling start with Verstappen in first, Hamilton in second and once again Alonso finishing in third. 

The next grand prix will take place 5 a.m., Sunday, April 30 in Azerbaijan at the Baku City Circuit for round four. The Azerbaijan grand prix is one of six races that will be a sprint race beginning with a practice and qualifying session on Friday, a sprint qualifying and sprint race on Saturday and the actual grand prix on Sunday. Many teams will be looking to make improvements, especially Ferrari after the weekend they had in Australia. Mercedes have also been looking to see what changes they could apply to battle it out with Red Bull for the top spot in not only the constructors but as well as the drivers’ championship.  

Katrina Villarreal is the multimedia editor and may be reached at [email protected]