Lewis Hamilton finished second whilst George Russell retired from the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.
On a wild afternoon in Melbourne, the race was interrupted by three red flag periods, a new F1 record, one Safety Car and one Virtual Safety Car.
A strong getaway at the initial start saw both George and Lewis pass polesitter Max Verstappen and running one-two in the opening stages.
George pitted from the lead on lap 7 under the Safety Car; the red flag was thrown only a lap later though, comprising his strategy. Lewis therefore took the subsequent standing start in first having switched to the hard tyre under the red flag.
George quickly began his recovery, making up three positions and running fourth when a Power Unit failure ended his race on lap 17. Lewis, having been passed by Verstappen, was running second ahead of Fernando Alonso and managing his tyres to the end.
With a handful of laps remaining, a second red flag led to yet another standing start. Lewis kept out of trouble and, despite a third red flag and rolling start procedure after a crash-filled restart, took the chequered flag in second place.
‘To get a podium today is amazing; I definitely didn’t expect to be second this weekend, so I am super grateful. Considering we’re down on performance, to be fighting with the Aston Martins is amazing for us at this point in the season. We’ve just got to keep fighting. A big thank you to all the people back at the factory. We can close that gap; it’s going to be tough but not impossible.
‘It was very unlucky for George today. Our reliability has generally been pretty good so that was unfortunate. Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone here in Melbourne and Australia. I’ve had the best week here and this town continues to put on a great show.’
‘We did everything right this weekend. We had a great Qualifying yesterday and today, the start was perfect. We managed the first stint well and I could have extended it quite a lot more. I’ve felt comfortable and strong in the car on all three days. I see no reason why we couldn’t have fought for victory today, so it’s disappointing. As soon as I came through the high-speed turn 10, I felt something go. Three corners later, I was stopped. When it’s not your day, it’s not your day.
‘We’ve still got a lot of work to do to catch Red Bull, but we can take the positives from this weekend. Every time we’ve taken to the track, we couldn’t have done any more. We maximised everything and I’m proud of the job that we have done.’
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
‘We had strong pace today and it was really close with the Aston Martins and the Ferraris. That is good news for us, and I think we have made a step forward this weekend, both on one-lap and race pace. We maximised what we have, and we need to now comb through the data and continue to learn about the car. This will help bring the upgrade packages and that will be the key in challenging the leaders more often.
‘It was unfortunate with George; he had a great stop from the lead and changed onto the hard tyre. It was absolutely the right call, and he would have been very much at the front. With the red flag his race was not so good anymore. He still could have made it to the front though, so he was unfortunate to have a Power Unit failure.’
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
‘It’s great to get the first podium of the year with Lewis, but it was a day of mixed fortunes for the team. Lewis drove a difficult race well and had to find a fine balance between tyre management and defending. George had put together a strong weekend and was unfortunate that the Safety Car became a red flag. Things then got worse with the Power Unit issue. The pace of the car has been better than at the first two races; we’ve made some changes to the setup for the circuit but hopefully we can take some of that learning into the upcoming races.’