In a separate incident, Williams driver Logan Sargeant drove into the back of Nyck de Vries and the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly also exited the race after crashing into each other. The Ferrari driver was upset with the decision and Alonso later said he believed the penalty issued to his rival was too harsh. Hamilton was delighted with the improvement Mercedes showed in Melbourne, which included a competitive qualifying performance on Saturday.
But it was enough to keep him in the midfield fight, which paid off when Magnussen and the Alpines crashed and Sainz was penalised, giving him a richly deserved point. But Perez performed well on Sunday, coming through to fifth despite the early red flag working against his strategy. But his off at Turn 13 after a lock-up on lap 47, albeit one that didn’t make any difference to his result, did blot Verstappen’s copybook. After all, there are times when an error that costs three or four seconds would be far more costly. While still not completely at ease with the car, Hamilton was surprised by how strong the Mercedes was and even briefly thought a shot at pole position might be on the cards after topping the times early in Q3. For once, his attack-around-the-outside style on the first lap didn’t quite pay off, with a little wheelspin exiting Turn 2 meaning his hold on third place lasted about two seconds and also allowing Carlos Sainz to barrel past.
The grand prix season is almost upon us and the 2023 F1 line-up looks set to be a little different than it did in 2022. Four drivers opted to leave the sport at the end of last season, meaning that we’ll see new faces in some of the hottest seats on the grid. Verstappen has won all three races so far and is one of the most likely candidates for a third world title this year. Meanwhile, Perez has shown a willingness to keep up with Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate as they have fought for the lead of the Constructors’ Championship in 2022.
After declaring Red Bull would win every race this season after their supremacy in Bahrain, Mercedes driver George Hamilton shared the front row of the starting grid after recording a time 0.236 seconds slower than Verstappen. Verstappen, a two-time world champion, was not pleased with the performance of his RB19 despite setting a track record around the circuit on Saturday. Charles Leclerc’s gravel beaching caused an early safety car, before Alex Albon’s crash seven laps later resulted in the race being red-flagged.
In the race, he barely put a foot wrong and ran in the points throughout, ending up with seventh place having been as high as fourth when the late red flag was thrown. He felt he might have taken second at the final restart too, but for a clout from Sainz. But having dropped out of the points after the resulting spin he was relieved to be restored to third when the order was reset. But Sainz’s strategic misfortune ensured Alonso got that position back, which combined with Russell’s retirement added up to a third consecutive podium finish – the first time he’s achieved that since 2013. George Russell had every reason to feel frustrated by how fortune went against him.
But after dropping to seventh on the first lap after a Turn 3 clash with Leclerc he had no chance to avoid, he drove a good, solid race to take fourth after Sainz’s penalty. But Piastri produced a measured and impressive race, avoiding getting impatient when stuck behind Yuki Tsunoda and eventually working his way round him along the way. It was the kind of mature, in-control performance we’ve expected to see from Piastri since the start of the season.
Chaos and collisions ensued when the race restarted, headlined by a heavy crash between Alpine teammates Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon. However, a late second red flag was shown after Kevin Magnussen lost his rear tire, leaving two dramatic laps to be completed. His final lap was set to put him through, but the rear stepped out at the penultimate corner and meant he missed the apex then picked up wheelspin at the exit. Even so, he was always giving away time to Albon primarily thanks to his disadvantage in the high-speed Turn 9/10 sweeper.
Kicking off in Bahrain on March 5 and concluding in Abu Dhabi on November 26, the season will feature a planned, record-breaking 24 races, with Qatar set to return and Las Vegas arriving as the penultimate round for a Saturday night race. The decision sets up a possible appearance by Pence in the coming weeks before a federal grand jury scrutinizing attempts by the former president and supporters before the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to undo Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. Perez endured a difficult Saturday as he struggled to retain control of his RB19.