Ferrari has proven yet again that its return to form in the opening rounds of the 2022 Formula One World Championship wasn’t just a fluke after star driver Charles Leclerc took home victory for the Prancing Horse at the Australian Grand Prix, held on Sunday at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit.
It was the second victory for the Ferrari driver this season, and third time in three races that he’s made the podium. Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez finished in second place, more than 20 seconds behind, while third place went to Mercedes-Benz AMG’s George Russell, more than 25 seconds behind the winner.
It wasn’t a walk in the park for Leclerc who had to hold off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for most of the race. Leclerc started on pole but had Verstappen at second and Perez at third on the grid. Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz all the way back in ninth fell further back at the start and then spun off the track on lap two, ending his race and also bringing out the safety car.
2022 Formula One Australian Grand Prix
Fortunately for Ferrari, Leclerc was able to keep his cool and could hold off Verstappen, including after a second safety car period following a crash by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel on lap 23. Vettel, driving for the first time this season after recovering from Covid, also spun out of control, though this time into a wall. Verstappen meanwhile continued to push Leclerc but on lap 39 the reigning champion had to pull over, due to a fire in his car. It means he’s now retired from two out of three races this season.
With Verstappen out, Perez was able to move up to second. Russell meanwhile benefited from the safety car period following Vettel’s crash. He made his first stop and eventually moved up to position three, with fellow Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton having already stopped the lap before. Hamilton emerged fifth and would later move up to fourth after Verstappen retired, and finished there. Rounding out the top five was McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Thanks to a second win, Leclerc now has a healthy lead in the 2022 Drivers’ Championship, sitting on a total 71 points. Russell is second with 37 points and Sainz is third with 33 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari leads with 104 points, versus the 65 of Mercedes and 55 of Red Bull. The next race on the calendar is a special Emilia Romagna Grand Prix which will take place at Italy’s Imola in a fortnight.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the 2022 Formula One Australian Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2022 Formula One Australian Grand Prix:
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +20.524 seconds
3) George Russell, Mercedes-Benz AMG +25.593 seconds
4) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +28.543 seconds
5) Lando Norris, McLaren +53.303 seconds
6) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren +53.737 seconds
7) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +61.683 seconds
8) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo +68.439 seconds
9) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +76.221 seconds
10) Alexander Albon, Williams +79.382 seconds
11) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo +81.695 seconds
12) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +88.598 seconds
13) Mick Schumacher, Haas +1 lap
14) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +1 lap
15) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +1 lap
16) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +1 lap
17) Fernando Alonso, Alpine +1 lap
NC) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing – DNF
NC) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin – DNF
NC) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari – DNF