Max Verstappen was not happy with Lewis Hamilton after an incident on the opening lap of a chaotic 2023 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman had already been passed by Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, George Russell, at Turn 1 and Hamilton sensed a chance to make a move into Turn 3. He launched up the inside and got alongside the Red Bull and earned the right to the position but he did squeeze Verstappen as he did so.
The reigning champion admitted that he had been cautious on the opening lap with Sergio Perez, his main title rival, starting from pit lane and the move did not sit well with him.
“On lap one, I was careful because I had a lot to lose,” Verstappen said immediately after the race. “After that, I think the pace of the car was quick.
“From my side, I just tried to avoid the contact. It’s quite clear the rules what is allowed to do what you’re allowed to do now on the outside. But clearly, it’s not followed but that’s… that’s okay, we passed him anyway.”
Settled in the end
Verstappen didn’t have long to settle himself down as he set about retaking the lead as his Red Bull was a class above around Albert Park.
He cruised by Hamilton after the first red flag restart and sailed into the distance, only to come back into view once Kevin Magnussen suffered a late collision with the Turn 2 wall.
He held on despite the pressure to take victory but it wasn’t so good for Russell who saw his Mercedes go up in smoke and end his chance of victory on the spot.
Hamilton eventually came home second after sustaining race-long pressure from Fernando Alonso, who was reinstated to third after the failed two-lap shootout and a collision with Carlos Sainz.