F1: Australian Grand Prix Recap

Nia Davis

It’s lights out in Spielburg and we are racing once again in 2023 


 A couple weekends ago, the motor sport of Formula 1 held their third race of the 2023 season in sunny Spielburg, Australia, and ladies and gentlemen it was a race to remember. 

Going into this weekend Max Verstappen was at the top of the drivers championship. His teammate Sergio Perez was in second, but only minimal points off the lead. Red Bull, home to both of these current drivers championship leaders has had a monster start to the season, showing their dominance on the track with their exceptional straight line speed and ability to use DRS unlike no other. 

Max had an eventful first practice on Thursday March 30, 2023, featuring a 10 minute stoppage midway through the hour due to the failure in the teams gps tracker, but he still prevailed as leader after the first session. Lewis Hamiltion was made late improvements to his best time before the red flag stop but failed to push ahead of Verstappen. Sergio was third fastest in practice after running wide at turn 3 after a flying lap, he failed to push the car to its limits. Aston Martins Fernado Alonso was fourth fastest only 0.527s off leader Verstappen and 0.061s ahead of Ferraris Charles Leclec who ran fifth fastest. The session quickly came to an end due to gps tracker failures, a number of crashes most notably Alphines Yuki Tsunoda and Williams Logan Sergeant. 

On Friday March 31, 2023, the second practice session was held with Fernado Alanso making the most of the brief dry period during this session setting the fastest time. Rain started to fall 15 minutes into the session, ending it abruptly. Following Alonso after the short session was Leclerc, Verstappen, and Perez. 

Qualifying held on Saturday April 1, 2023 resulted in Verstappen taking pole while his teammate Segio crashed out in Q1. Mercedes’ George Russell finished second after only being 0.236s off of Verstappen. Lewis Hamiltion doubled down coming in at third during the final qualifying session setting up Mercedes for a lock out on the second row. 

Due to his unfortunate crash, Segio started Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. Ferrari’s Carlos Saniz started fifth ahead of Aston Martins’ Lance Stroll and teammate Charles Lecleac in seventh. Alex Alborn exceeded expectations in his Williams with the eighth fastest time and started ahead of Alphine’s Piere Gasly and the Hass of Nico Hulkenburg who rounded out the top ten

Finally, during the race on Sunday, pole sitter Fernado Alanso lost his lead quickly on the opening lap to the Mercades of George Russell but also immediately Charles Leclerc made contact with the aston Martin of Lanco Stroll spinning himself out of the race and sending out a safety car before the end of the first lap. Soon after William’s driver Alex Alborn crashed out at high speeds bringing out another safety car during witch the race leader at the time George Russel pitted, a decision that hurt the Mercedes driver immediately as a red flag as then deployed sending all car to the pit lance and push George further and further down the race order.  Verstappen took the lead and Russell’s race soon ended when his engine caught fire, forcing him to stop along the pit entrance causing a double yellow flag. The final race order was all but definite until the Hass of Kevin Magnassun hit the wall late in the race resulting in another red flag. Due to this late events the 2023 Australian Grand Pirx was decided by a last gasp shootout with Versappten coming out on top followed by Lewis Hamiltion in second and Fernado Alanso in third. 

This race was very significant in regards to the overall drivers championship leaderboard. Verstappen pulled further ahead in his lead while Fernado and Lewis moved up the ranks putting them more into the championship race and earning their principal teams, Mercades and Aston Martin, major points in the constructors championship.