There was panic at Red Bull during the race in Melbourne, as Verstappen comes close to disaster on several occasions. The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, the third GP of this season, was chaotic with no less than eight retirements at the end of the 53-lap race.
Three red flags were displayed, a record in Formula 1, resulting in three restarts. These restarts could have cost Max Verstappen the lead, as he was under constant threat from Lewis Hamilton attacking at the restarts. But fortunately for Red Bull and unfortunately for Mercedes, this was not the case.
With two laps to go, the red flag went up causing an interruption to the race followed by a standing start. This was a pivotal moment in the Australian Grand Prix, as anything could happen during the chaos of standing starts. Lewis Hamilton was second behind Verstappen and would have liked to make a move at the last minute, and win his first Grand Prix since November 2021.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner understands F1’s decision to do a standing start with two laps to go, although he knows it was a tough moment for his Dutch driver.
MORE F1 NEWS: F1 stewards call for race restart rethink
It’s the way Max just breezes past Lewis like it’s nothing for mepic.twitter.com/qPxRN49ARa
— Matt³³⁺¹⁶ | spring break (@FM1_3316) April 2, 2023
“It becomes a lottery”
Interviewed after the GP, Christian Horner said he understands the standing start, ‘unlike the other teams’:
“It’s something that was discussed. I think there has always been a preference to finish in race conditions, so if stopping the race allows them to get the circuit back in order, rather than doing the last few laps under a safety car, it’s the right thing to do.
“The problem is that when you’re the lead car and you control a 10-second lead from the start of the afternoon, all of a sudden it’s a huge variable that becomes a bit of a lottery.”
“It was frustrating.”
But the Red Bull team boss admits it was a difficult situation for the team and Max Verstappen to deal with:
“It was always very frustrating to have a red flag and a restart with three laps to go. When you are the leader, you can only lose from that point on.
“You can understand the reasoning for wanting to finish in race conditions rather than going for a walk behind the safety car for three laps. Maybe they could have cleared the circuit and restarted, I don’t know. There’s always something to learn.”
READ MORE: Gasly race ban controversy