Charles Leclerc won the Australian Grand Prix with authority, marked by the abandonment of his rival for the title

Posted in Last sports

Dominator until the end: after starting from pole position, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) won the Australian Grand Prix with authority this Sunday, marked by the abandonment of his rival for the title, the world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull). On the asphalt of the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, with the presence of 420,000 spectators throughout the weekend, the Monegasque surpassed the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), 2nd by 20 seconds, and the British George Russell (Mercedes), 3rd to 25 seconds. In his fourth career win - his second this season after the opening heat in Bahrain - Leclerc even claimed the fastest race lap.

"What a car today! This weekend we were very strong, the tires were excellent. I'm so happy. It's amazing to win here", congratulated the winner. "We're only in race three so it's hard to think about the championship, but we have a very strong and reliable car. It's great to be back in this position," he continued. In the general classification of drivers, Leclerc now has 71 points and surpasses George Russell (37), his Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. (33), and Sergio Pérez (30). Verstappen falls back to 6th place with 25 points behind Lewis Hamilton (28).

Verstappen adrift Victim of a mechanical problem and forced to retire, with the engine on fire, on lap 39 of the planned 58, Verstappen, who arrived in Australia as 3rd in the World Championship, lived a nightmare weekend. "We have to finish the races. Today was a bad day, he was managing the tyres, he couldn't fight Charles." After starting second, a position he kept until he left, the Dutchman considered the situation "frustrating" and added: "This kind of thing, if you want to fight for the title, is unacceptable."

In Bahrain in mid-March Verstappen had already had to retire due to a breakdown three laps from the finish line, and then won the following race, in Saudi Arabia. Leclerc's teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr., second in the overall drivers' standings before the Australian leg, did not have a good weekend: after a modest 9th place in qualifying, the driver lost control of his car,  ending his career in gravel. Then he couldn't boot back up. In addition to the Spaniard, Sebastian Vettel, who was returning to the competition after missing the first two rounds due to covid-19, was also forced to leave after hitting the wall.

Although since the beginning of the season the team has shown difficulties in dealing with its original aerodynamic car, does this classification predict an imminent return of the 'Silver Arrows' to the leading positions? "Today we got a little lucky," Russell acknowledged. "There is such a lot of work to get back to the level. We are never going to give up, we were so far behind and yet we are there, on the podium.

If anyone can do it, it is Mercedes," he proclaimed. For Hamilton, it is "an excellent result for us as a team". The other Spaniard on the grid, Fernando Alonso, finished 17th at the wheel of his Alpine, the last classified of those who could cross the finish line. "I'm devastated with this weekend, to be honest. It's hard to accept the result after the bad luck we had in Saudi Arabia and again here in Melbourne," lamented Alonso, hurt by the regrouping caused by a departure from the 'Safety Car '.

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