Formula 1: Australia’s sovereign Leclerc

Dominant to finish: Starting in pole position, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) flew over the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, which was marked by abandoning his declared title rival, world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull).

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On Albert Park Road in Melbourne, where 420,000 spectators attended this weekend, Monaco dominated Mexican Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 2Andand Britain’s George Russell (Mercedes), 3And.

For a fourth win of his career – his second this season after the opening round in Bahrain – Leclerc set the fastest time in the race.

What a car today! This weekend we were very strong, and the tires were excellent. I’m very happy. It’s unbelievable winning here,” the winner rejoiced on his arrival.

And to continue: “We are only in the third race, so it is difficult to think of a championship, but we have a very strong and reliable car. It is great to be back in this position.”

In the championship, Leclerc now has 71 points and is ahead of George Russell (37), fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. (33) and Sergio Perez (30). Verstappen drops to 6And Position with 25 points behind Lewis Hamilton (28).

Verstappen . drift

Victim of mechanical problem and forced into retirement, engine catches fire, 39 o’clockAnd Of the 58 laps planned, Verstappen, 3And From the championship ahead of Australia, so expect the poor operation at the weekend.

“We have to finish the races. Today was a bad day, I was running the tyres, and I couldn’t fight Charles.

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Starting with second place, a position he held until his retirement, the Dutchman considered the situation “frustrating” and adds that “that kind of thing, if you want to fight for the title, is unacceptable”.

In Bahrain in mid-March, Verstappen was already forced to retire by a meltdown, three laps from the end, and then won the next round, in Saudi Arabia, ahead of Leclerc.

Another notable retirement was Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz, who finished second in the drivers’ standings upon his arrival in Australia. The Spaniard lived a weekend to forget: humble 9And In qualifying and starting on hard tyres, he lost control of his single-seat car from the start and ended his stuttering race in a gravel pit.

In addition to the Spaniard, Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), who returned to competition after missing the first two rounds due to COVID-19, was also forced to retire after hitting a wall.

Mercedes redemption?

Thus, abandoning Verstappen allows Britain’s George Russell to climb to the third rung of the podium. The second season for the world champion team, after Hamilton’s third place in Bahrain. Starting in fifth, the seven-time world champion finished fourth.

If, since the start of the season, the team has struggled to manage its original single-seat aerodynamic seat, is that arrangement synonymous with an imminent return for the Silver Arrows to the front? “We had a little luck today (…) but we take it,” Russell said.

“There is a lot of work to get us back to the record. We’ll never give up, we’re late but here, on the podium. If anyone can do that, it’s Mercedes.” It started in the third line (6And) to race next to Hamilton.

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classification

1. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari), 306.124 km/h 27: 46.548 (average: 209.254 km/h)

2. Sergio Perez (Mexico / Red Bull – Honda) at 20.524

3. George Russell (GBR / Mercedes) at 25.593

4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) at 28.543

5. Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren-Mercedes) at 53.303

6. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia / McLaren – Mercedes) 53,737

7. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine-Renault) 1:01.683

8. Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) with a time of 1: 08.439

9. Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri-Honda) with a time of 1: 16.221

10. Alexander Albon (THA / Williams – Mercedes) with a time of 1: 19.382

11. Zhou Guanyu (China / Alfa Romeo Racing – Ferrari) Time 1: 21.695

12. Lance Stroll (Cannes / Aston Martin – Mercedes) 1: 28.598

13. Mick Schumacher (Gear / Haas-Ferrari) by 1 lap

14. Kevin Magnussen (Den / Haas-Ferrari) by 1 lap

15. Yuki Tsunoda (Japan / AlphaTauri-Honda) by 1 lap

16 – Nicholas Latifi (Canada / Williams – Mercedes) 1 lap behind

17. Fernando Alonso (Spain / Alpine – Renault) one lap away

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