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Formula 1

F1 Australian GP red flagged after hefty Albon crash

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Formula 1’s 2023 Australian Grand Prix has been red-flagged after nine of its scheduled 58 laps following a high-speed crash for Alex Albon.

The Williams driver had been one of the stars of qualifying as he took eighth on the grid for a team expected to spend the season at the back, and then ran sixth early on.

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But Albon lost control at Turn 7 on lap seven and spun across the gravel into the barriers.

Albon was unhurt and the car recovery operation initially appeared to be swift, but the organisers felt the gravel clean-up required was large enough to make a red flag necessary.

Mercedes moved up to first and second at the start, with George Russell grabbing the lead off the line and team-mate Lewis Hamilton then overtaking Max Verstappen into Turn 3 in a move that left Hamilton worrying his car might be damaged and Verstappen complaining Hamilton had pushed him wide.

Russell quickly pitted when the safety car initially came out for Albon’s crash and is now down to seventh, but his rivals have been able to make their tyre changes during the red flag.

That means Hamilton will lead from Verstappen and the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll when the race resumes.

Russell is behind Pierre Gasly’s Alpine and Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas in seventh.

Ferrari has already lost one car thanks to contact between Charles Leclerc and Stroll on lap one, and Carlos Sainz is down in 11th having pitted at the same time as Russell.

Pitlane starter Sergio Perez has reached 14th in the second Red Bull.

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