Sports Desk, Apr 2 (EFE).- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen extended his championship lead with a victory at a chaotic Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park in Melbourne on Sunday.
The reigning champion was cruising to the win before a late incident involving Kevin Magnussen’s Haas led to a red flag with only two laps left in the race.
That resulted in a dramatic restart, which immediately led to another red flag as multiple drivers – including Spaniards Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso – crashed at the first corner.
The Alpines driven by Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon also collided, resulting in both being out of the Grand Prix.
The race was eventually concluded with a final lap being held behind the safety car.
After the dust had settled, Sainz was given a 5-second penalty for causing the collision with Alonso, who kept his third place to secure his third podium finish of the season.
That meant the Ferrari driver dropped out of the points, from fourth to 12th, a decision Sainz said was “unacceptable”, telling his team over the radio that (the race stewards) need to wait until after the race and discuss with me. Clearly the penalty is not deserved. It is too severe.”
Sainz’s penalty was the nail in the coffin for Ferrari, who had a terrible weekend after Charles Leclerc crashed out in Lap 1 after colliding with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.
Mercedes’ seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton came in second, his highest finish of the year, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez also delivered an impressive drive to finish fifth after starting at the back of the grid.
Checo placed behind Canadian Lance Stroll, who completed a great day for Aston Martin by finishing fourth.
Lando Norris (McLaren) finished sixth, one place ahead of Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg (Haas), at Albert Park, where Australian rookie Oscar Piastri (McLaren) scored his first F1 World Championship points in front of his home fans by finishing eighth.
Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) and Japanese Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) also scored points, finishing ninth and 10th respectively.
The next race, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, will be held on 30 April in Baku. EFE