Leclerc Extends Championship Lead with Australian GP Win

Leclerc Extends Championship Lead with Australian GP Win

Charles Leclerc won the 2022 Australian Grand Prix to consolidate his and Ferrari’s championship leads as Max Verstappen suffered a second retirement in three races – Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez finishing second and Mercedes’ George Russell completing the podium.

A capacity crowd descended on Albert Park, Melbourne hosting its first Australian Grand Prix in 1,100 days. After action-packed free practice and qualifying sessions, they were treated to another thrilling show on Sunday afternoon.

Driver of The Day, Leclerc, kept his rival Verstappen at bay through two Safety Cars – the first when teammate Carlos Sainz spun out from P14 on Lap 2, and the second on Lap 23 after Sebastian Vettel’s crash. The threat dissolved on Lap 39 when Verstappen stopped with his engine on fire, allowing the Ferrari driver to cruise to victory over Perez with the fastest lap to boot.

Russell took P3 having pitted during the caution for Vettel’s crash, Hamilton losing out on another podium by two seconds in P4 – Mercedes however outscored Red Bull to retain P2 in the constructors’ standings.

McLaren were a distant P5 and P6, Lando Norris a few tenths ahead of home hero Daniel Ricciardo in a solid showing for the team in orange – Esteban Ocon eight seconds back in P7.

A penultimate corner lock-up on Lap 54 saw AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly drop from P8 to P9, while Valtteri Bottas gained an extra place to take P8 having started 12th. The Alfa Romeo driver capitalized on Gasly’s mistake, Sainz’s retirement and a difficult race for Fernando Alonso (P17 after a late pit stop for the fastest lap).

One of a handful to start on hards, Alex Albon stopped late before claiming P10 to give Williams a deserved first point of 2022.

Zhou Guanyu had a solid 58-lap journey from P14 to P11, missing out on the final point by a whisker to the wily Williams of Albon ahead.

originally posted on formula1.com

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