International Sports

Excitement at Australian Grand Prix

By Owen Fugit

Media Production Editor

For Formula 1 (F1) fans around the world, few races were as exciting as the most recent Australian Grand Prix on Mar. 2. It was a beautiful, warm day in Melbourne, Australia, and everything seemed set for a typical F1 race, but rarely is there ever a “normal” F1 race. On lap one, viewers got a taste of what was to come when Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc spun out in the first corner, logging another did not finish (DNF) for Ferrari. The 3.3-mile course is twisty and difficult to master, besting many of the drivers who raced it that day. 

Right out of turn one, Mercedes’ George Russell took the lead, followed by teammate Lewis Hamilton. This success was short-lived; when Leclerc spun out, race officials deployed the safety car, slowing the race down. Some drivers changed tires while others stayed on the track. Moments later on lap seven, Williams’ Alex Albon spun out, also coming out of a turn. Albon’s car lost grip and slid across the track, hitting a barrier and breaking a portion of the front wing — prompting race officials to issue a red flag. In F1, a red flag requires all drivers to return to the pits and wait. While there, teams get a free tire change if their cars require it. 

Russell took a blow from this red flag because he had lost a position by pitting during Albon’s yellow flag before it turned red. This was not the end of Russell’s troubles, however. Coming around the final corner on lap 18, Russell’s power unit malfunctioned, causing his exhaust to spew fire, thus killing the engine and Russell’s hopes of finishing the race in the top ten. Around lap 50, the race started heating up again, as McLaren’s Lando Norris battled with Haas’ Nico Hulkenburg. Three laps later, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas clipped a barrier that completely removed his back right tire, forcing him out of the race. After a brief yellow flag and deployment of the safety car, race officials stopped the race again with a red flag.

The drivers started back on the grid after the track was clear. Going into turn one, chaos ensued: Sergio Perez of Red Bull went wide out of turn one, followed by Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin hitting a wall but sustaining little damage. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon crashed into a barrier after his teammate hit his rear bumper, taking Alpine out of the race on the second-to-last lap. A few corners later, Lance Stroll of Aston Martin came flying out of the pack into the gravel around a turn. This frenzy also took out Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. Six drivers were knocked out of the race after this restart, conjuring an instant red flag.

In the end, Max Verstappen of Red Bull won first place, followed by Lewis Hamilton, and then Fernando Alonso. The next race on the F1 calendar is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, held in the capital city of Baku, slated for April 30, 2023; for now, fans wait in anticipation.

(Sources: ESPN, Formula 1)

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