2022 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Review: Charles Leclerc too good to pull off with the win for Ferrari at Albert Park

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After a long absence of 1100 days in the F1 calendar due to Covid 19 reasons, Albert Park was back in the action with much-crowded pavilions. Albert Park, Melbourne remodeled its layout by having more DRS zones for overtaking. It is a total action-filled weekend even from the pre-practice sessions & qualifying. Many drivers were unable to keep their cars on the newly remodeled track. Spectators were lucky to see a two-wheel ride from Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. But he was slapped with a fine from FIA for his scooter ride without permission. As same as in Bahrain & Saudi Arabia, Ferrari dominated throughout the Australian Grand Prix while increasing its lead for both the championship titles.

Finally, it was a consolatory weekend for the Mercedes F1 team & its customer teams due to much-improved performance relative to the previous two races. Charles Leclerc was in the pole position & he was followed by two red bull drivers of Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez respectively on the starting grid. During the first few laps, Leclerc was continuously threatened by Verstappen by going to a more closed wheel-to-wheel battle. This weekend was not a fortunate one for Carloz Sainz from the beginning. Sainz was 9th on the starting grid due to his poor qualifying session. He tried to charge through the midfield from the beginning, but he was dropped to P14 on lap 02 & span out resulting in to end his race in gravel. Before end his race in gravel, Sainz went through grass, losing his grip & sliding along the track to make a 3600 “mazespin”. This was safety a car session & things were difficult for Leclerc to keep his rival Verstappen at bay. Four-time world champion Vettel was the next one to visit through the gravel on lap 11 without making any major harm to his Aston Martin. Kevin Magnussen had a trip through the grass like Sainz on Lap 14 but he was capable of keeping his challenger on track without making it into the gravel. Even though he was saved on lap 11, Vettel proved he was unlucky again on lap 23 in newly remodeled Albert Park by crashing at turn 04 losing the front of his AMR 22. This was a completely unusual thing for an experienced driver like Vettel, sliding through the track when coming off the curbs & hitting on the sidewalls. Again, a full safety car session to make the track clear for racing again.

At the restart of the race, Leclerc was under huge pressure from the Verstappen, but he was unable to make use of the DRS to pass the Leclerc & he was safe. Another battle for the 3rd position between Russel & Alonso at the restart of the race proving that Renault power units are capable of challenging Mercedes power units now. But Alonso lost his position to Perez & Hamilton within the next 10 laps. Then Perez attacked Hamilton on lap 36, but it was an easy pass for Perez as Mercedes W13 has no enough pace to challenge the RB 18. Big heartbreak for Verstappen fans as he stopped the car at the side of the on lap 39 with a fire on the back of his car. Again a reliability issue for Red bull power trains as this was the second time that the Verstappen had to give up on his race after wheel to wheel racing with Leclerc for the win. In the Sakhir Grand Prix, both the RB18 were retired due to power unit issues. But later it was identified as a problem related to the Fuel pump, but there is no official statement by Red bull Powertrains regarding the issue related to Australian Grand Prix. Now Verstappen slowly losing his championship dreams as the point gap between his Rival Leclerc is 46. Ferrari is not showing any signs of reliability issues yet & it will be a very difficult task to cover this 46 point gap if no DNF for Leclerc as he is always at the front of the race if no dramas happen.

After the retirement of the Verstappen, It was a comfort zone for Leclerc & he finished the race without a challenge from any other driver. Again a championship hope is blooming for Mercedes with more improved performance relative to the previous two races. But this time hope is not for Hamilton, but for his teammate Russell. From the start of the race, Russell was the key contender for P3 having a very close battle with Perez & Alonso. But before the retirement of the reigning world champion Verstappen, he was actually P4 but Russell was capable of completing as P3 of the 2022 Australian Grand Prix with the bonus chance from the Red bull powertrain department. Even though things are not going well for the Mercedes W13 yet, George Russell is enjoying optimum results from his car by becoming the main rival for Leclerc now. He is occupying the second position in the driver’s championship with 37 points. If Mercedes is capable of solving issues in its W13, now there is hope for both the drivers’ & constructors’ championship as they are occupying second place with a totally pace reduced car compared to their rival teams. Minister of Defense, Sergio Perez defended & reduced the harm to the red bull team after the retirement of his teammate by finishing the race P2.

All eyes on the Australian during the 2022 Australian Grand Prix on their countryman Daniel Riccardo. Things went very well for honey badger & his McLaren team during this race after two very disappointing races at the beginning of the 2022 F1 season. This time, it is a point-scoring race for both the McLaren drivers by having P5 & P6 finish for Norris & homecoming teammate Riccardo respectively. Alpine driver, Ocon had a P7 finish in this race, but Alonso was very unlucky to finish as P17 even after fighting for P3 during the midway through the race. Spaniard cooked his tyres until lap 58 and fell down the order, Pitting for mediums with four laps left. This was the main cause of his poor performance during this race. Williams man, Alexander Albon was capable of scoring the first point for Williams by having a P10 finish, but Latifi was P16 as there were three DNF during this 2022 Australian Grand Prix.

Ahead of Albon, Pierre Gasly finished the race as P9 as the usual point-scoring man for Alpha Tauri & nothing from his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda after having P15 finish. White Ferrari, Haas showed poor performance during this weekend by having a non-scoring finish for both of their drivers. Kevin Magnussen was a key driver in mid-field during Bahrain & Saudi Arabia Grand Prix., but he was unable to make it into Q2 even during the qualification round. Haas will have to do many upgrades before the next race to remain in the front of the midfield.

After making 103 direct qualifications into Q3 by Valtteri Bottas, he lost that streak during the 2022 Australian Grand Prix which was started in 2017 on the same track. But he was capable of finishing as P8. But no considerable performance from his Alfa Romeo teammate Guanyu Zhou by only having P11 finish. Aston Martin man, Lance Stroll finished P12 without scoring & it was again a non- scoring race for the Aston Martin team as Vettel was crashed into sidewalls. Final drivers standing for the 2022 Australian Grand Prix as follows;

PosDriverTeamGapStops
1Charles LeclercFerrari58 laps- 1:27:46.548s1
2Sergio PerezRed Bull+20.524s1
3George RussellMercedes+25.593s1
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes+28.543s1
5Lando NorrisMcLaren+53.503s1
6Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+53.737s1
7Esteban OconAlpine+61.683s1
8Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo+68.439s1
9Pierre GaslyAlpha Tauri+76.221s1
10Alexander AlbonWilliams+79.382s1
11Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo+81.6951
12Lance StrollAston Martin+88.598s3
13Mick SchumacherHaas+ 1 lap1
14Kevin MagnussenHaas+ 1 lap1
15Yuki TsunodaAlpha Tauri+ 1 lap1
16Nicholas LatifiWilliams+ 1 lap2
17Fernando AlonsoAlpine+ 1 lap2
18Max VerstappenRed BullDNF1
19Sebastian VettelAston MartinDNF0
20Carlos SainzFerrariDNF0

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