Carlos Sainz wins F1 Australian GP after Max Verstappen exits with mechanical issue



For the first time since Singapore last year, Formula One saw a non-Red Bull driver win as Carlos Sainz, 16 days removed from surgery, took the checkered flag at the Australian Grand Prix.

The race ended behind a virtual safety car after George Russell hit the wall, and his wheels tipped the car over on the final lap. It was a 1-2 finish for Ferrari with Charles Leclerc in second while Lando Norris rounded out the podium and McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri wasn’t far behind in fourth.

Max Verstappen started on pole, but it quickly became evident that he had an issue. He began slowing, and the Dutchman watched the potential of a record-tying 10th victory go up in smoke and flames as his right rear brake appeared to explode while heading into the pits in the opening laps. The Red Bull driver said, “My right rear brake basically stuck on from when the lights went off. The temperature just kept on increasing until the point, of course, it caught fire.”

The last time Verstappen did not finish a race was the 2022 Australian Grand Prix, due to a fuel leak. Yet in the media pen, he seemed calm.

“It excites me, in a way, because I would like to win,” he said. “And of course, we had a lot of good races in a row, a lot of basically good reliability. And I knew that the day would come that, you know, you end up having a retirement and unfortunately that day was today.”

Verstappen wasn’t the only driver to retire. Lewis Hamilton started the race on the soft tires, which was a bold call made by both the seven-time world champion and Mercedes. He navigated around Fernando Alonso and Yuki Tsunoda during the first stint, but his race came to an end with a power unit failure.

With two power players out of the Australian Grand Prix, it opened the door for the bottom five teams to secure valuable (and rare) points. Tsunoda, Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen secured those final points positions. It’s the first points of the season for RB with the Japanese driver finishing eighth. For Haas, the ninth-place finish from Magnussen and tenth-place finish from Hülkenberg bumped the team’s total to four.

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(Photo: Clive Mason / Formula 1 via Getty Images)





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