Formula 1, an unexpected early mechanical DNF from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen paves a Ferrari 1-2 finish with Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. now a first time winner at Albert Park

by Sports Benches

We didn’t see that coming but we now have a new Australian Grand Prix winner for 2024 and his name is Carlos Sainz Jr who drives for Scuderia Ferrari off the back of these unexpected early retirements from reigning champion and last year’s winner Max Verstappen (Red Bull-Honda RBPT) as well as Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes whose team-mate George Russell also suffered a late race crash). He too had a great race for the majority unchallenged with team-mate Charles Leclerc rounding off a 1-2 Ferrari finish since the 2022 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Looks like it will be Ferrari v Red Bull for the championship now with Sainz Jr (-11 points) and Leclerc (-4 points) not far behind Verstappen (currently on 51 with back-to-back wins) in the drivers’ standings. Plus, fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has still yet to win this year despite back-to-back 2nd places in the hope of going one better that would help him keep his ride for another couple of years after he just finished 5th (-5 points).

For the Aussies, We also hoped to at least see one on the podium but Oscar Piastri didn’t do bad though just outside the Top 3 places in 4th behind his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Lando Norris, while Daniel Ricciardo finished not far from the Top 10 in 12th despite being a lap down for Visa CashApp RB-Honda RBPT since he was in a midfield race machine.

Also, shoutout to the two Haas-Ferrari cars just rounding off the Top 10 points in Nico Hulkenberg (9th) and Kevin Magnussen (10th). So does Ricciardo’s team-mate Yuki Tusnoda from Japan after he collected a few points in 8th just behind the Aston Martin duo of Lance Stroll (7th) & Fernando Alonso (6th). And although things are still going slow at the moment over at Jack Doohan’s Alpine-Renault squad with Esteban Ocon finishing last on track (16th), but Pierre Gasly did benefit from these early race retirements on what has been an okay 13th placed finish. It remains to be seen if Alpine’s form will turn things around sooner rather than later as a mid-season driver change remains unlikely for now but Doohan hopes his time will come most likely next year depending on the team’s commitment to the sport & if Ocon and/or Gasly leaves for a better race team like Mercedes and Red Bull. F1 will now go from Albert Park in Melbourne to Suzuka in Japan who will now host early rather than later during the season as the next race (Round 4 of 22) will take place after Easter on the weekend of Sunday 7th April 2024.

If you wish to follow all other races after watching this annual Australian race since it’s free-to-air protected, Fox Sports/Kayo will be the only place here to watch live & on-demand with next day race highlights available for free thanks to Kayo Freebies.

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