Max Verstappen insists he ‘didn’t understand’ the decision to call a second red flag during the Australian Grand Prix… as the Red Bull star claims Lewis Hamilton BROKE the rules by ‘pushing him wide’ when overtaking him on the first lap
- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won a dramatic Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
- Eight cars were forced out, while three red flags were issued across the race
- The Dutchman admitted he was delighted to get his first ever win at the circuit
Max Verstappen hit out at the decision to issue a second red flag after Kevin Magnussen crashed during the Australian Grand Prix.
Verstappen won a chaotic and at some times farcical race that saw eight cars withdrawn and three red flags.
After Alex Albon had crashed on the ninth lap, there was an initial red flag, before another was called with just three laps to go when Haas’ Magnussen collided with a wall and lost his right rear tyre.
However, this led to effectively a two-lap sprint race which caused even more drama as Fernando Alonso collided with Carlos Sainz – an incident that saw Sainz receive a five-second penalty and drop from fourth to 12th – while Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Logan Sargeant and Nyck de Vries all crashed out before drivers had completed the first sector of the track.
And Verstappen was heavily critical of the decision to call a red flag before the chaos, but insisted he was just relieved to have picked up another win.
Max Verstappen insisted he didn’t understand the second red flag at the Australian Grand Prix
After two red flags when Albon and Magnussen crashed out, the third restart saw saw Gasly, Ocon, Sargeant and De Vries also crash out, while Alonso was hit by Sainz in a collision
‘The first red flag you can do it, but the second one I did not understand,’ he said post-race.
‘It was a bit of a mess at the end, but we survived and we won and that was the most important thing.’
Despite his dominance over recent years, that was Verstappen’s first win in Australia and Red Bull’s first victory at the circuit since 2011 with Sebastian Vettel.
Verstappen began the race poorly as he was overtaken by George Russell and Lewis Hamilton on the first lap, before he bounced back and cruised into a mighty lead.
He was not happy with Hamilton overtaking him at the time, as Verstappen claimed on his team radio the Brit had ‘pushed him wide’ – something which is against the rules.
Following the race, he refused to let the incident go and took a dig at the FIA and Hamilton as he said: ‘From my side I just tried to avoid contact.
‘It’s quite clear what you are allowed to do in the rules but it was clearly not followed.’
After he regained the lead soon after, despite a slight incident when his car locked-up and he went on to the grass, he still remained more than seven seconds ahead of Hamilton for most of the race and the Dutchman reflected on his triumph.
He said: ‘We had a very poor start and I was careful – I had a lot to lose and they had a lot to win.
‘I think the pace of the car was quick. We were always there waiting for the DRS to open up.
‘We had really good pace on the air today and we won, which of course is the most important.
‘I did the city a favour and cut the grass a little more for them. I had a lock-up there but it’s ok – we had a good margin.
‘It’s great to win here, my first win here as well but I am very happy.’
The result saw Verstappen open up a 15-point lead over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ standings, while he is 24 clear of Aston Martin’s Alonso who is in third.
Verstappen revealed his delight at winning his first ever Australian Grand Prix on Sunday
He fought back after a poor start that saw him overtaken by Russell and Hamilton early on
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