Carlos Sainz claimed a dominant victory at the Australian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen retired on the fourth lap as Charles Leclerc completed a first 1-2 for Ferrari in Melbourne in 20 years.

Sainz overtook Verstappen already on the second lap when DRS was enabled, on the way to the ninth corner, and the Dutchman was then less than a second behind the Spaniard.

But smoke soon began to appear from the rear left brake of Verstappen’s Red Bull RB20 and on the fourth lap he had to retire, with a brake disc exploding as he entered the pits. It was first retirement for Verstappen in two years (2022 Australian GP) which ended his run of nine victories and 43 races in points.

Sainz was untroubled on his way to a third F1 victory after Verstappen’s retirement and Leclerc was able to pass Norris through the pits for Ferrari’s first 1-2 from Bahrain in 2022 and their first 1-2 in Australia since 2004 when Schumacher won from poel ahead of Barrichello.

Norris finished third for McLaren after pitting for the first time five laps later than teammate Piastri, who later let him by after team orders.

The drivers were on a two stop strategy, with hard being the preferred option, with Sainz staying on track the longest of the leaders after switching to ‘plan B’ with a longer first stint lasting 16 laps.

2024-Australian-GP-start-Verstappen-leads-Sainz-Norris-Leclerc-Photo-Red-Bull
2024 Australian GP start – Verstappen leads Sainz, Norris and Leclerc (Photo: Red Bull)

Leclerc and Piastri overtook Norris through the pits during the first tyre changes, but Norris, thanks to five laps of newer tyres, caught up with Piastri, who let him go after an intervention from the team.

Although Norris pressured Leclerc in the second stint of the race, when Leclerc was losing speed due to worn tyres, in the third leg he could not seriously reduce the gap and had to settle for third place.

McLaren achieved an excellent result with Norris and Piastri in third and fourth place, which brought them 27 points, and Perez could not do better than fifth place, although he had the opportunity to overtake Verstappen in the drivers’ standings, while with this result Leclerc is second in the standings, four points behind Verstappen and a point ahead of Perez.

At the end of the race, Alonso was holding off Russell, who was on newer tyres, but Russell made a mistake on the last lap at Turn 6, where he crashed and rolled sideways, triggering virtual safety car conditions.

Stroll had a quiet race in seventh place for Aston Martin, finishing just two seconds behind Alonso, and Tsunoda scored his and his team’s first points of the season in eighth place for RB.

Haas had a great race with both drivers in the points – Hulkenberg was ninth, with Magnussen in 10th being the first driver to be overtaken by Sainz for a lap.

Williams almost managed to grab a point with Albon in 11th, but in the end they remained one of three teams without points after three races this season along with Sauber and Alpine.

The next race is in two weeks in Japan.

2024 AUSTRALIAN GP RESULTS

155Carlos Sainz Jr.Ferrari58
216Charles LeclercFerrari582.366
34Lando NorrisMcLaren/Mercedes585.904
481Oscar PiastriMcLaren/Mercedes5835.77
511Sergio PérezRed Bull/Honda RBPT5856.309
614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin/Mercedes581’20.992
718Lance StrollAston Martin/Mercedes581’33.222
822Yuki TsunodaRB/Honda RBPT581’35.601
927Nico HülkenbergHaas/Ferrari581’44.553
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari571 lap
1123Alexander AlbonWilliams/Mercedes571 lap
123Daniel RicciardoRB/Honda RBPT571 lap
1310Pierre GaslyAlpine/Renault571 lap
1477Valtteri BottasSauber/Ferrari571 lap
1524Zhou GuanyuSauber/Ferrari571 lap
1631Esteban OconAlpine/Renault571 lap
1763George RussellMercedes562 laps
44Lewis HamiltonMercedes15Power unit
1Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda RBPT3Brakes
2Logan SargeantWilliams/Mercedes0DNS

Fastest lap: Carlos Sainz – 1:19.813 (lap 56)

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 3/24 RACES

123456789101112131415161718192021222324
BAHSAUAUSJAPKINMIAEMIMONKANŠPAAUTVBRMAĐBELNIZITAAZESINSADMEKBRALASKATABU
1Max Verstappen512625
2Charles Leclerc47121619
3Sergio Pérez46181810
4Carlos Sainz Jr.401525
5Oscar Piastri2841212
6Lando Norris278415
7Fernando Alonso202108
8George Russell18108
9Lewis Hamilton862
10Lance Stroll716
11Oliver Bearman66
12Yuki Tsunoda44
13Nico Hülkenberg312
14Kevin Magnussen11
15Alexander Albon0
16Zhou Guanyu0
17Daniel Ricciardo0
18Esteban Ocon0
19Pierre Gasly0
20Valtteri Bottas0
21Logan Sargeant0

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

123456789101112131415161718192021222324
BAHSAUAUSJAPKINMIAEMIMONKANŠPAAUTVBRMAĐBELNIZITAAZESINSADMEKBRALASKATABU
1Red Bull/Honda RBPT97444310
2Ferrari93272244
3McLaren/Mercedes55121627
4Aston Martin/Mercedes2731014
5Mercedes261610
6RB/Honda RBPT44
7Haas/Ferrari413
8Williams/Mercedes0
9Sauber/Ferrari0
10Alpine/Renault0
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