F1 world left fuming over 'unacceptable' drama in Australian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen won a chaotic Australian Grand Prix, while Oscar Piastri nabbed the first points of his F1 career.

Max Verstappen, pictured here amid absolute chaos in the Australian F1 Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen won after absolute chaos in the Australian F1 Grand Prix. Image: F1/Getty

Oscar Piastri has scored the first points of his F1 career in an absolutely chaotic Australian Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen eventually taking out the race amid confusion and anger. Sunday's race was stopped three times as multiple crashes and mishaps wreaked havoc.

Verstappen eventually won under the safety car, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso rounding out the podium. In his first home grand prix, Melbourne-born Mclaren driver Piastri finished eighth to collect the first points of his young career.

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Eight of the 20 drivers didn't finish a race, which featured two standing re-starts and one rolling re-start. Verstappen appeared to be cruising towards a comfortable victory with just two laps remaining, but a crash halted the race and a second red flag was ordered.

Verstappen had been leading by a huge margin of eight seconds, but the advantage disappeared as the standing re-start dictated drivers resume from the grid. When the race got back underway, the Dutchman clung to the lead, but a mass collision behind him on the first turn forced four drivers out of the race and caused yet another red flag stoppage.

Things descended into chaos when Alonso was clipped by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and sent into a spin, which caused a flow-on effect with multiple other cars coming to grief. Sainz was eventually given a five-second penalty after much deliberation, which relegated him to 12th.

Thankfully for Piastri, the Aussie managed to narrowly avoid the carnage and escape unscathed. After lengthy deliberations, stewards decided the next resumption for the final lap would be a rolling start - which effectively caused a ceremonial procession in which drivers couldn't change positions.

Amid the chaos and confusion, F1 fans and commentators were left fuming that no one seemed to know how the race should be resumed - if at all. Commentator Jenson Button described the situation as "absolute chaos", while there was overwhelming anger over Sainz's penalty.

“It’s unacceptable. Tell them. It is unacceptable," Sainz said on team radio. "They need to wait until the race is finished and discuss with me.

“Please, ask them, please, please, please to wait, to wait and discuss with me. Clearly the penalty is not deserved, it’s too severe.”

Max Verstappen scores first win at Australian Grand Prix

Verstappen said after the race: "We had a very poor start, lap one I was careful as I had a lot to lose. After that, the pace of the car was quick.

"With these red flags, I don't know, I don't really understand. It was a bit of a mess but we had good pace and we won, so that's important."

Seven-time world champion Hamilton was ecstatic at making the podium. "I'm driving as best I can and working as hard as I can but still, considering we've been down on performance and in straight pace, for us to be up there fighting with Aston is amazing," he said.

Max Verstappen, pictured here on the podium with Lewis Hamilton and and Fernando Alonso.
Max Verstappen on the podium with Lewis Hamilton and and Fernando Alonso. (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images)

It was a disastrous day for Charles Leclerc, who won in Australia in 2022, with his Ferrari spinning out on the first lap. George Russell's Mercedes car also caught fire on lap 19 and his race was over.

The victory was Verstappen's maiden win in Melbourne and Red Bull's first in Australia since Sebastian Vettel triumphed in 2011. Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez sliced through the field to come fifth after qualifying last due to brake issues and started from the pits.

with agencies

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