Formula 1: no tenth for Max Verstappen, Ferrari makes the double with Sainz and Leclerc in Australia

Formula 1: no tenth for Max Verstappen, Ferrari makes the double with Sainz and Leclerc in Australia

Troisième victoire en carrière pour l’Espagnol, Carlos Sainz. XinHua – Qian Jun

The Spaniard Carlos Sainz beat his Scuderia teammate, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, during the Australian GP, ​​Sunday March 24. The Dutchman, who was aiming for a tenth success in a row, had to give up.

A stop to the Verstappen hegemony. The Spaniard Carlos Sainz won in front of his teammate at Ferrari, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, the Australian Grand Prix, 3rd round of the Formula 1 season during which the master of the circuits Max Verstappen had to retire.

The Albert Park track, in the heart of Melbourne, was therefore not the scene of a tenth consecutive GP victory for "Mad Max": for the first times since April  2022 – right here in Australia – the world championship leader had to retire, due to a rare reliability problem on his Red Bull.

"Blue smoke" for "Mad Max"

After easily winning in the first two rounds of the season, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the Dutchman scored his 35th pole in F1 on Saturday. And he could logically hope to equal his record of 10 consecutive victories, established last season by beating that of the German Sebastian Vettel (9 victories in a row in 2013). But, although he managed to keep the reins of the race when the lights went out, the outgoing champion was overtaken by Sainz on the second lap, before signaling to his team for a few moments later that "blue smoke" emerged from his car.

"As soon as the lights went out, the right brake locked up, making the car difficult to drive from the start&quot ;, then explained "Mad Max", who remained on 43 GPs without retirement. The Dutchman certainly remains at the top of the championship, but Charles Leclerc moves to second rank and is only four units behind the leader (51 points against 47).

Sainz, two weeks after his operation

As in Singapore last September, where he ended Verstappen's first series of ten victories, Carlos Sainz, barely recovered from his appendectomy 15 days ago, did not tremble and won his 3rd in Australia victory in F1, after Singapore in 2023 and Silverstone in 2022.

"It’It’was a very good race, physically it’wasn't the easiest but I’was mostly alone so I was able to manage the pace, manage the tires", reacted at the finish the Spaniard, second on the grid, who therefore found himself this weekend ends his tub. Winner ahead of Leclerc, the duo offers Ferrari its first double since the Bahrain GP in 2022. "It feels good , especially for the team", greeted Leclerc, who finished ahead of Briton Lando Norris, 3rd at the wheel of his McLaren.

His teammate, the Australian Oscar Piastri, failed to reach the podium at the end of the race marked by the impressive accident of George Russell, who ended up on the left flank of his car stopped in the middle of the track. An accident with no physical consequences for the driver but which concludes a GP to forget for Mercedes. Indeed, earlier, his seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton – expected next year at Ferrari in place of Sainz – had to retire due to an engine problem. He has had his worst start to the season in F1 so far.

Pérez, 5th anonymous

If Mercedes had a nightmare, at Red Bull, the weekend was disappointing. His second driver, Sergio Pérez, finished 5th in the race – bringing ten additional points to the team – but the Mexican, reigning vice-champion, competed in an anonymous race and was never able to compete with the leading men. "We didn’have the right balance on the car", Pérez explained. "It’was a bit in survival mode with the degradation (of the tires, editor's note) that we had, and we were no match for Ferrari or McLaren". "The penalty on the grid also hurt us", he admitted again.

Third in qualifying on Saturday, Pérez finally started from 6th position on Sunday, after receiving a three-place penalty for "unnecessarily hampering" German Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) on the track. The Mexican, second in the championship before the arrival of the paddock in Melbourne, drops to third place, five points behind Verstappen.

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