Charles Leclerc dominates in Australia to stretch his lead in the World Championship. The Silver Arrows looked better than the opening two races, securing another podium via George Russell as Lewis Hamilton took P4. Max Verstappen’s nightmare continued, making it a second DNF from the opening three races.
Charles Leclerc Dominates
On a record breaking weekend in Australia, Leclerc put on a show for the crowd. The weekend attendance was 419,114 – an Australian sporting record. After getting pole, he secured the fastest lap to complete the Grand Slam, the first one for Ferrari since Fernando Alonso was in the car.
He only looked under threat from Verstappen on the safety car restart, apart from that it was a breeze for the Monegasque driver who had a quiet race around Albert Park. His win means he is the first man to win at the circuit from pole since Hamilton managed it in 2015.
Carlos Sainz Misery
The Spaniard had a weekend to forget. After a dismal day in qualifying via misfortune, his race day didn’t get any better. Starting in P9, he opted for the hard tyres to try and bring him into play with a different strategy.
Off the line it was painful for him. He struggled for grip and dropped quickly to P14. Then on lap two, attempting an overtake, he overshot the corner and ended up in the gravel. His Ferrari was beached and Sainz’s nightmare weekend was finally over.
After a difficult start to the season, the Silver Arrows looked much better during the race at Albert Park. George Russell got himself onto the podium, finishing in P3 with teammate Hamilton just behind in P4. They were able to match the Red Bulls for parts of the race for pace, showing the steps forward made. While far from their best three races in, the Silver Arrows have capitalised on the misfortune of other constructors to limit the damage.
The result sees Russell take second place in the Driver’s Championship after a great race from the young Brit. He took full advantage of a safety car to gain on Hamilton who had the better start. The seven-time World Champion pitted one lap before the safety car, with Russell coming in the next lap under it to jump Hamilton and take his position.
Max Verstappen Disaster
The current World Champion’s misery continued in his title defence. He looked comfortable in second place, potentially gearing up to pressurise Leclerc later on. However, he wouldn’t get the chance, retiring from the Grand Prix on lap 39. After worries about the car pre-race, he could smell fluid coming from it during the race. Whether it was hydraulic fluid or engine oil, there were flames coming out of the car when he pulled up and turned the engine off.
That makes it a worrying run to start the season for Red Bull. Their Dutch star driver has got his title defence underway with two DNFs from three races. Two failures will be giving the Red Bull mechanics food for thought as we prepare to head to Imola next time out.
Charles Leclerc was delighted with his work over the weekend: “What a car today. Of course I did a good job all weekend, but it was not possible without the car. I’m just so happy!”
Sergio Perez bemoans Red Bull’s luck: “It’s a good result, but unfortunately we lost Max, it would have been great to have a double-podium for the team. We’ve been a bit too unlucky in the first few races.”
George Russell lauds reliability: “We gotta be in it to win it and capitalise from others’ misfortune, and we’ll take it.”
RACE CLASSIFICATION 📊
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 10, 2022
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