Max Verstappen blamed the decision to use a standing restart at the end of the Australian Grand Prix for the crash which followed.
Kevin Magnussen’s retirement in the closing stages triggered a red flag which set up a final restart. The drivers lined up on the grid for a sprint to the flag over two laps with Verstappen on pole position ahead of Hamilton and Alonso.
Verstappen kept his lead ahead of Hamilton at the restart. But behind them several drivers were involved in collisions.
Alonso was hit by Carlos Sainz Jnr, which knocked the Ferrari into a spin. Pierre Gasly ran wide at turn one and collected his team mate Esteban Ocon as he rejoined. Further back, Logan Sargeant rear-ended Nyck de Vries.
The race winner said the decision to use a standing start instead of a Safety Car contributed to the incident. “It’s quite clear,” he said. “I just didn’t understand why we needed a red flag.
“I think if you would have had a Safety Car and then just have a normal rolling start, we wouldn’t have had all these shunts and then you have a normal finish. So they created the problems themselves at the end of the day.”
Fernando Alonso said he did not believe the situation was serious enough to require the race to be red-flagged and believes drivers “will ask probably in Baku what was the reason” for it.
“I know there was a piece of tyre debris in the first straight. But the car itself, it was like in the inside of turn four so it felt quite safe there. And the Safety Car is for those kind of reasons.
“So for us maybe it was a different opinion. But the FIA are the only ones that they have all the cards in the table. So in those kind of situations we would trust them.”
Pictures: Drivers crash out in Australian GP restart
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2023 Australian Grand Prix
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