The red flag was deployed after nine laps in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne after a crash suffered by Williams’ Alex Albon.
The Anglo-Thai racer – who emerged unscathed from the crash – spun out at Turn 6 and hit the barriers but projected a load of gravel onto the track that required a thorough clean-up by the trackside marshals.
Race control thus decided to halt proceedings to allow for a safe clean-up.
There was commotion at the start when Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll tabgled at the first corner, a contact that sent the Ferrari driver into the gravel and out of retirement.
Meanwhile, George Russell overhauled Max Verstappen into the the first corner, with Lewis Hamilton following suit a little further two corners later.
The initial call from race control was to deploy the Safety Car to allow for the evacuation of Albon’s Williams, which encouraged Mercedes to make a big call by bringing in Russell for a set of hard tyres while Hamilton and Verstappen stayed out.
But that decision was negated by the red flag, and left Russell well down the order with a massive task on his hands.
During the pause, all drivers opted to swap to the hard tyre which potentially allows everyone to run until the end.
The race was scheduled to restart at 15h33pm local time.
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