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Round 3 Formula 1 Driver, Rookie, and Constructor Awards

Our team of Formula 1 writers and broadcasters vote on the top performers for each race

Posted on April 3, 2023


  Dane Miller, Stephen Vilardo & Greg Kokot

The Australian Grand Prix was one of the strangest Formula 1 races in the last several years. A late crash by Haas’s Kevin Magnussen brought out a highly questionable red flag with two laps remaining.

On the restart, all hell broke loose and several drivers crashed. The two Alpine cars dangerously collided and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was spun among many other incidents.

The crash forced another highly questionable red flag to come out, sending all the cars back to the Pit Lane with one lap remaining.

And, because of the rules and regulations governing the running order when a red flag occurs, the FIA moved all the cars back into their starting positions as they were listed in the previous restart.

In other words, the governing body moved the cars to the running order they were in before the crash happened.

Fernando Alonso was moved all the way back to third place despite his spin relegating him to effectively last place. Similarly, the FIA moved Nico Hulkenberg from fourth place all the way back to seventh, negating his skillful driving through the mayhem.

The decision took more than 30 minutes of deliberation while the drivers and teams were waiting in the pit lane for the announcement.

The revamped running order was finally determined, the drivers got back in their cars, and the field did a single lap under the safety car to cross the start-finish line with the checkered flag waving.

Mixed within it all, the Stewards gave Carlos Sainz a five-second penalty for causing the crash that forced the red flag.

The effect was odd and dangerous, causing the cars to slightly race each other under the safety car to finish within five seconds of Sainz. As a result, the Ferrari driver dropped from fourth to 12th on the final lap.

All in all, it was one of the strangest and most controversial finishes in the last five years.

— Dane Miller, Series Editor


Driver of the Week – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton had himself a weekend. The British driver qualified third despite the troubles Mercedes has dealt with this season.

Perceived to be well off the mark, Mercedes took a dramatic step forward in Australia and put Lewis back onto the podium.

Hamilton

His second-place finish arguably felt like a win and the emotion he displayed was greater than some of his victories during the height of his success.

Despite Fernando Alonso having what many believe to be a quicker car, Hamilton held off the Spaniard and arguably put together his top performance of the last two seasons.


Rookie of the Week – Oscar Piastri, McLaren
Piastri
There are three rookies in Formula 1 this season, reducing the Rookie award to a war of attrition. Logan Sargeant struggled throughout the weekend and was overly critical of his team on the radio, while Nyck de Vries was caught up in the major crash at the end of the race.

That leaves Oscar Piastri by default as the top-performing rookie of the week.

Yet, even if the other drivers had finished the race, Piastri was head and shoulders above them. Despite driving what some perceive as one of the worst cars on the grid, the McLaren rookie finished eighth to score the first points of his career.

His qualifying form was off and he was outscored by his teammate, but the double-points finish for McLaren and the historic accomplishment for the rookie was pivotal for the team.


Constructor of the Week – Mercedes
Rumored to be developing a second version of their car, Mercedes put together a shocking result in Melbourne. Lewis Hamilton has publicly attacked the design of this year’s Mercedes, stating that he told the team the “zero” side-pod concept wouldn’t work.

Yet, seemingly out of nowhere, the German super team got their original design to work. While it’s not a win and Red Bull still dominated the race, the emergence over the rest of the field was surprising.

Hamilton’s second-place finish was arguably attributable to Sergio Perez’s poor qualifying, and Mercedes had to retire their second car due to a mechanical problem. Still, the momentum built was potentially game-changing.

If Mercedes continue to put themselves in a position to take advantage of Red Bull’s mistakes, Hamilton or George Russell could pull out a win this year.


How Our Writers and Broadcasters Voted

—Driver of the Week—
DaneLewis Hamilton
GregLewis Hamilton
StephenSergio Perez
—Rookie of the Week—
DaneOscar Piastri
GregOscar Piastri
StephenOscar Piastri
—Constructor of the Week—
Dane
Mercedes
GregAston Martin
StephenMercedes




—More from Dane Miller—