Charles Leclerc Extends Championship Lead With Victory In Australian Grand Prix

By Robert Haile

It might only be the third race of the season but Ferrari are back as Charles Leclerc wins in Australia.

The delight at Ferrari with their second victory of the season was dampened slightly with the retirement of Carlos Sainz but will be balanced out with the retirement of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Race winner and early championships leader Leclerc said: “What a great victory this was for us. We managed our pace well and were extremely competitive.

“We didn’t suffer from tyre degradation, even when pushing hard. The car was just amazing and I’m very pleased with how my race went.

“On paper, this was a track that we expected to be tough for us, so we have to review our data because we were in fact very strong.

“It’s a great way to start the season, but we have to keep in mind that we are only three races into a very long championship.

“We can’t afford to relax at any moment and have to stay on top of things, most of all on development.

“Congratulations to everyone on our team. What an amazing job you have all done. I’m very proud of how far we’ve come and can’t wait to continue fighting.

“Forza Ferrari.”

They all got away clean at the start but two laps later Sainz brought out a Virtual Safety Car and then the real safety car after getting stuck in the gravel.

Leclerc kept the lead dispute the attention from Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, it was all smooth running as the pit stops came and went.

Returning to the grid after Covid-19 Sebastian Vettel’s race ended early as his Aston Martin spun into the wall.

George Russell pitted emerging ahead of Hamilton into third with the seven time champion in sixth.

Again Leclerc held off Verstappen despite the slow restart after the safety car.

The race seemed to be heading for another close finish Perez carved his way into third and Verstappen kept pace with Leclerc.

Red Bull’s and Verstappen’s race hit a sudden stop as the car caught fire on lap 39.

Leclerc cruised to a second win with Perez second Russell taking his first podium for Mercedes’ in third.

In fourth came Hamilton with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and sixth for McLaren.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took seventh, Valtteri Bottas was eighth for Alfa Romeo as Pierre Gasly came ninth for AlphaTauri as Alex Albon got Williams their first point in tenth.

Zhou Guanyu continued a strong start to his F1 career in eleventh for Alfa Romeo as Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin came twelfth ahead of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen for Haas.

AlphaTauri Yuki Tsunoda beat Nicholas Latifi’s Williams to fifteenth as Fernando Alonso’s Alpine brought the grid home.

Formula One heads to Italy and Imola for the Italian Grand Prix on April 22-24, expect plenty of red and Ferrari fans.

Drivers Championship

  1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 71
  2. George Russell (Mercedes) – 37
  3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 33
  4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 30
  5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 28
  6. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 25
  7. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 20
  8. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 16
  9. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 12
  10. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 12
  11. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 8
  12. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 6
  13. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 4
  14. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 2
  15. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) – 1
  16. Alex Albon (Williams) – 1
  17. Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
  18. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 0
  19. Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) – 0
  20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0

Constructors Championship

  1. Ferrari – 104
  2. Mercedes – 65
  3. Red Bull – 55
  4. McLaren – 24
  5. Alpine – 22
  6. Alfa Romeo – 13
  7. Haas – 12
  8. AlphaTauri – 10
  9. Williams – 1
  10. Aston Martin – 0