F1: Leclerc goes flag-to-flag to win in Australia

Before absolutely packed grandstands and beautiful sunshine, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc extended his F1 point lead with a flag-to-flag win from pole in the Australian GP in Melbourne.

Charles Leclerc, #16 Ferrari, takes the checkered flag to win going away. Credit: Ferrari F1

And the fact that his championship rival Max Verstappen retired from 2nd for the second time in three races means he has opened up an even larger lead in the standings. Leclerc also got the 1 point for fastest lap to collect the maximum haul and a 33-point lead over George Russell.

Sergio Perez brought his #11 Red Bull home 2nd, 20.5s behind the Ferrari and 5s ahead of the Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in 3rd and 4th.

Lando Norris rounded out the top-5 for McLaren just ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Esteban Ocon was 7th for Alpine while Valtteri Bottas was 8th for Alfa Romeo.

Pierre Gasly was 9th for AlphaTauri while Alex Albon rounded out the top-10 for Williams.

Leclerc must be dreaming of championship glory, surely? Three different types of track, and fast on all of them. Two wins and a second, two poles and a rival that seems to be fallible when it comes to reliability.

Charles Leclerc drives off into the distance in his #16 Ferrari

Not fighting for championship honors last year meant Ferrari could switch focus to their 2022 car earlier than their rivals, and that seems to be paying dividends this season.

A disappointed Max Verstappen said afterward, “We are so far behind in points now. We need to finish races. Today was a bad day, I was managing the tires, I could not fight Charles. It was an easy P2, but we didn’t even finish the race – frustrating and unacceptable. These kind of things, if you want to fight for the title, are unacceptable.”

Max Verstappen watches the safety crew push his stricken Red Bull away

Post-Race Quotes Top-3

Charles Leclerc
What a car today. This weekend, race pace, we were extremely strong, the tires felt great. I’m just so happy. Incredible to win here. We are only at the third race, so it is difficult to think about the championship, but we have a very strong car, a reliable one too. It’s great to be back in this position.

Sergio Perez
The start was a bit tricky, Lewis overtook me, he braked late and had a good Turn 1. My first stint was poor with degradation but the hard, the Safety Car – we were unlucky and we lost Max.

George Russell
We got a little bit lucky today twice, but we’ll take it. There’s so much hard work going on to get us back. We are never going to give up, we were a long way behind and yet here we are, on the podium. If anyone can, Mercedes can.

Australian GP podium. From left, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and George Russell


Race Results – 58 Laps

1 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari +0.000s
2 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Bull Racing +20.524s
3 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas +25.593s
4 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas +28.543s
5 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team +53.303s
6 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team +53.737s
7 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team +61.683s
8 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen +68.439s
9 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri +76.221s
10 Alexander Albon THA Williams Racing +79.382s
11 Guanyu Zhou CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen +81.695s
12 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant +88.598s
13 Mick Schumacher GER Haas F1 Team +1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team +1 Lap
15 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri +1 Lap
16 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing +1 Lap
17 Fernando Alonso ESP BWT Alpine F1 Team +1 Lap
DNF Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing  DNF
DNF Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant  DNF
DNF Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari  DNF


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