Leclerc extends title lead to 34, Verstappen scores 2nd DNF in 3 matches
#CharlesLeclerc #WinsF1 #sAustralian #GrandPrix
Two years after last-minute cancellations before the pandemic began, the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is finally back at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. The long-standing Australian Grand Prix track has also been modified to make it easier to overtake in her absence. The redesigned course originally had four DRS zones. However, race organisers returned to the usual three DRS areas after drivers raised safety concerns.
As in the first two races of the season, the duel between Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc continues up front. Leclerc won pole position on Saturday, three tenths of a second ahead of Verstappen. The start of the race also favoured Leclerc.
The safety car was deployed early after Carlos Sainz lost control of the Ferrari on the second lap. Sainz tried to overtake on the left and right highways at Turns 9 and 10 before running into the grass. He slid back to the track and parked on a gravel bed. Sainz’s car suffered a serious dolphin accident over the weekend, affecting its performance.
Leclerc has a speed advantage over his rivals Red Bull and already has a five-second lead. Verstappen pitted on lap 19 for hard tyres, while Ferrari pitted on lap 22 to pit the remaining drivers.
On lap 23, the safety car had to be deployed again after Sebastian Vettel skidded in the fourth exit corner and his Aston Martin hit the inner wall. Vettel’s first game of the season was a disappointment after testing positive for coronavirus and missing his first two games.
The weekend could have been worse for Vettel’s team-mate Lance Stroll. He collided with fellow Canadian Nicolas Latifi when the Williams driver passed him in qualifying. He was penalized three positions. During the race, Stroll was penalized five seconds for driving in front of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.
The Australian Grand Prix winner was actually decided on lap 39, when Max Verstappen retired after his Red Bull caught fire at Turn 1. In addition to winning the race, Charles Leclerc set the fastest lap and led every lap of the race. With pole position, Charles Leclerc becomes the 26th different driver in Formula 1 history to win a Grand Slam.
The other two places on the podium were decided in three races between Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and the two Mercedes drivers. Although an increase