Australian GP: Charles Leclerc Wins and Checo Pérez Reaches the Podium

Australian Grand Prix - Leclerc, Perez, Russell
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, right, of the Netherlands gestures to a track marshall to extinguish a fire after he withdrew from the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, April 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

The Australian GP ended with a new victory for Ferrari after Charles Leclerc dominated from start to finish, and was joined on the podium by Red Bull’s Mexican driver Sergio “Checo” Perez and Mercedes Benz’s George Russell.

In qualifying for the Australian GP, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc took pole position and the success followed him to race day.

It was a grueling race that had several surprises, but Ferrari’s dominance was not part of it. However, the Italian team did experience a moment of suspense when, on the second lap, Spaniard Carlos Sainz was forced to retire the car from the Albert Park circuit due to some problems with it that prevented him from recovering the positions he lost at the start. He competed with Mick Schumacher for 14th place, but failed to put up a fight and went off the track. The car was then unable to continue on its way.

There was a Safety Car entry due tothe issue with Sainz and in the restart of the race the strings began to move on the track. Mexico’s Checo Pérez was in a duel with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, which Checo won after several attempts to take over the third position.

Checo began to pull away from the English driver, while the race leader was still Leclerc, and in second position was his teammate, the Dutchman, Max Verstappen. With each lap Leclerc flew more and more on the track and managed to stretch the lead, while Verstappen had announced wear on one of the tires and had to rush to pit lane, which caused him to drop a few positions.

On lap 24, Aston Martin‘s Sebastian Vettel hit a wall and had to abandon the race, what prompted another Safety Car entry. Verstappen had regained second position after all teams pitted, and on lap 27 he tried to overtake Leclerc, but the Monegasque defended well and prevented him from doing so.

The tragedy for the Dutchman came on lap 39, three laps after Red Bull had both drivers in podium position with the 2-3. Checo had passed Russell and was behind Verstappen, but moments later, the world champion had to retire. The single-seater had a problem that caused a fire.

Australian GP - Max Verstappen
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, right, of the Netherlands gestures to a track marshall to extinguish a fire after he withdrew from the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, April 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ferrari Blew Minds at the Australian GP

As a consequence of Verstappen’s mechanical problems, the Mexican could reach the second position. However, he was unable to keep up with Leclerc since he was 11 seconds behind the Monegasque on lap 41, and by lap 50 he was 16 seconds behind.

All 58 laps were completed at Albert Park, and the Australian GP ended with Leclerc in the lead, followed by Pérez and Russell. After dominating the Australian GP, Leclerc won the Grand Chelem, with pole position, victory and the fastest lap of the race. The Mexican driver, with this second place in the Australian GP, achieved his first podium of the year and the 16th podium of his Formula 1 career.

Australian GP - Sergio "Checo" Perez
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico gestures as he holds his trophy after his second place finish in the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, April 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

After the Australian GP there will be a short two-week break in F1, to resume the calendar with the Emilia-Romagna GP on April 22-24. For now, Ferrari leads both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships and will be looking to continue to do so at its home Grand Prix.

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