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Australian Grand Prix 2022 F1: Charles Leclerc wins, results, Daniel Ricciardo finishes 6th


Max Verstappen was left fuming after his Australian Grand Prix came to an early end, with Charles Leclerc producing a stunning drive to win from pole position`.

FINISH: LECLERC WINS AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

Unbelievable drive from Charles Leclerc, and he finishes first from pole in a ridiculous race.

Sergio Perez takes second, while George Russsell rounds out the podium.

Leclerc finished the race with the fastest lap of the day, capping an incredible performance.

“Amazing. The car was incredible today, really. What a race, at what a pace,” says Leclerc.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo takes sixth in a strong result, landing his first points of the year.

LAP 57/58 – LECLERC LEADS, HAMILTON NOT HAPPY

Lewis Hamilton has had some choice words for his team as he sits in fourth spot: “you guys have put me in a realy difficult position”.

It doesn’t look like anyone will challenge Charles Leclerc, with little more than a lap to go.

The Ferrari has just looked unstoppable today. Truly dominant.

LAP 53/58 – LECLERC LEADS, RICCIARDO EYES TOP 5

We’re almost finished at Albert Park, with Charles Leclerc’s lead up to 20 seconds over Sergio Perez.

Are there any twists remaining?

Daniel Ricciardo is sixth, and four seconds behind teammate Lando Norris.

The race for third, between Mercedes teammates George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, looks like the spiciest battle remaining in this field.

LAP 48/58 – LECLERC BLITZING FIELD

Ten laps to go… and it is Charles Leclerc’s race to lose.

He’s putting up the fastest laps of the race, and has extended his lead over second-placed Perez to nearly 15 seconds.

LAP 45/58 – RICCIARDO MAKING MOVES, LECLERC UNSTOPPABLE

Daniel Ricciardo has moved up to sixth, putting his vision of a top-five finish within touching distance.

But everyone is chasing Charles Leclerc, who has broken this race open with a now 13-second lead on Sergio Perez – having seen off the fight from Max Verstappen.

Perez inquired about Verstappen’s car issue, but was told by team officials not to worry…. he seemed less than convinced about that answer!

Meanwhile, a five-second penalty has been handed to Lance Stroll for weaving on the straight.

CROWDS FLOCK TO ALBERT PARK

This just in from the Australian Grand Prix…

“The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2022 has recorded an estimated attendance of 419,114 over the four days, eclipsing the previous record of 401,000 set at Melbourne’s first event in 1996.

Today’s announcement comes after Sunday saw an estimated attendance of 128,294, that followed estimated attendances of 123,247 on Saturday, 112,446 on Friday and 55,107 on Thursday.

The total estimated attendances on both Friday and Saturday are the highest day two and day three numbers since the first Melbourne race in 1996, while today’s estimated attendance is the third-highest race day number over that time.”

LAP 39/58 – VERSTAPPEN OUT! CAR ‘S**T ITSELF’

By Rebecca Williams

World champion Max Verstappen’s championship fight with Charles Leclearc has been dealt a major blow after he was forced to retire from the race.

In a dramatic twist to the Australian Grand Prix, Verstappen’s Red Bull came to a stop at the side of the track on lap 39 as he was in pursuit of race leader Leclerc.

The Dutchman quickly jumped out of the car and shut the engine off as the fire extinguishers were deployed to douse smoke coming from the car’s engine.

“I smell some weird fluid,” Verstappen said on the team radio.

“Everything is ****itself.”

It was Verstappen’s second retirement for the season after he failed to finish in the opening race of the season in Bahrain.

Coming into the third race at Albert Park, Verstappen sat third in the championship behind Ferrari pair Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen won the second race of the year in Saudi Arabia and had started the Australian Grand Prix second on the grid and was on track for a podium finish.

LAP 36/58 – RICCIARDO TAKES EIGHTH IN NICE MOVE

Daniel Ricciardo is putting the pressure on Kevin Magnussen in the battle for eighth – after teammate Lando Norris took seventh spot off the Haas driver.

And he does it! A fairly simple move, and Ricciardo moves up to eighth, and is back behind his teammate. UP the front, Leclerc’s lead is out to 5.5sec.

Perez is putting George Russell under enormous pressure and…. he takes him! Russell had been warned by team management to let Perez go by in order to save his tyres.

“That’s not what I wanted to hear,” Russell said, before relenting.

Not sure he’s thrilled about that.

LAP 32/58 – LECLERC LEAD BUILDS

26 laps to go… and Charles Leclerc has rebuilt his lead over Max Verstappen. It’s up to 3.5sec now, with Russell sitting in third.

Here’s a look at how the top ten looks:

Leclerc

Verstappen

Russell

Perez

Hamilton

Alonso

Magnussen

Norris

Ricciardo

Albon

LAP 28/58 – VETTEL’S AUSTRALIAN NIGHTMARE COMES TO AN END

Whoah! After leading untroubled for the first 27 laps, Charles Leclerc falls foul of the safety car – which wipes out his handy lead – and Max Verstappen almost took his chance.

With the race restarted, Verstappen went within a whisker of taking Leclerc on the inside.

He was all over him, but Leclerc holds firm and blocks his path.

Daniel Ricciardo remains in ninth position, just behind Norris. But with Alonso and Magnusson still to pit, the Australian can make some moves up the board soon.

LAP 26/58 – VETTEL’S AUSTRALIAN NIGHTMARE COMES TO AN END

Another apology incoming from Vettel? This caps off a pretty awful couple of days.

LAP 24/58 – HAMILTON, PEREZ IN GRIPPLING BATTLE, VETTEL WIPED

Ricciardo pits and manages to hold his nerve to come in behind teammate Lando Norris.

It got tense there with Lance Stroll pushing HARD to try and sneak ahead of the Australian, but Ricciardo holds firm.

He’s dropped back to 10th but will sneak back up as other drivers pit.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton has won his little battle with Sergio Perez – returning from the pits clearly ahead of the Red Bull driver.

But Perez pulls off a very sharp move to overtake the Brit.

And now the safety car returns! It looks like Sebastian Vettel’s day is done.

This has been a truly horror weekend for Vettel! Wraps it up neatly.

TOP SEVEN

Leclerc

Russell

Verstappen

Alonso

Perez

Hamilton

Magnusson

…9. Ricciardo

LAP 21/58 – RED BULL PIT, BATTLE FOR SECOND HEATS UP

Verstappen has taken an early pit – taking 19 seconds – and he’s dropped back to seventh.

The pit stops are expected to take about 20 seconds, so good job from Red Bull there. But worryingly, Perez is slipping further and further behind Leclerc.

He’s also in a battle for second place with Lewis Hamilton – who actually slips into second as Sergio Perez goes into the pits.

Daniel Ricciardo has avoided the pits so far, and has moved up to fourth, but he’ll likely be putting in the next lap or two.

LAP 16/58 – LECLERC SIZZLING AT ALBERT PARK

Could we be witnessing a wire-to-wire victory here from Charles Leclerc?

While his teammate has had a nightmare weekend, the same cannot be said for Leclerc who is in cruise control up the front.

Through 16 laps, he has built up a seven second advantage over Max Verstappen and it simply looks like his Ferrari is too powerful for the Red Bulls who are sitting comfortably in second and third.

The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Russell are holding fourth and fifth spots, while Daniel Ricciardo (in seventh) just trails McLaren teammate Lando Norris.

LAP 10/58 – PEREZ MAKES MOVE, VETTEL SPINS OUT

Sergio Perez makes a key move on turn 10, blazing past Lewis Hamilton in one of the DRS zones – the first significant change in the top five.

Perez now sets his sights on Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who he trails by four seconds.

And Sebastian Vettel is in the gravel! That’s not a good place to be, Seb.

“Sorry for that…” he tells his team.

He’s fallen back to 19th, the last driver in the field – with Carlos Sainz already out.

It’s smooth sailing up the front, with Leclerc opening up a 4-second lead on the Red Bulls.

LAP 8/58 LECLERC AFTER DRAMATIC START

The safety car is gone, a furious Carlos Sainz is back at pit lane and the grand prix is back underway.

Charles Leclerc is looking comfortable up front, pulling away from the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, as drivers set a cracking pace.

Your top seven after eight laps:

Charles Leclerc

Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton

Sergio Perez

George Russell

Lando Norris

Daniel Ricciardo

FROM THE TRACK: SAINZ CAPS HORROR WEEKEND

By Rebecca Williams, at Albert Park

Carlos Sainz has prompted an early safety car in the Australian Grand Prix after beaching his Ferrari in the gravel on the second lap of the race.

After starting from ninth on the grid, Sainz didn’t have a great start off the line and quickly dropped back five places to 14th in the field.

But his start to the race got worse from there when he ran off the track into the grass, lost control and skidded back across the track and into the kitty litter at the exit to turn 10.

Pole sitter Charles Leclerc and world champion Max Verstappen retained their starting positions, while Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton made the biggest move off the start line.

Starting from fifth on the grid, Hamilton jumped a couple of places and sat third as the race awaited a restart.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo retained his start position in seventh place.

LAP 3/58 LECLER LEADS, FERRARI ROCKED BY WILD START

Drama!

It’s always a wild start at Albert Park, and the saftey car is already out in the middle in a dramatic couple of laps for Ferrari.

Race favourite Charles Leclerc has managed to avoid the carnage, with a clean start, but the news was far worse for teammate Carlos Sainz who has had a horror weekend.

He’d already dropped back from ninth to 14th after botching the start, and has brought out the virtual safety car after beaching his Ferrari on turn 10.

He wasn’t the only driver to struggle early, with Lando Norris dropping to sixth – one ahead of Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, has jumped up to third.

3.00PM: IT’S ON!

It’s been a long time coming, but Formula One is back at Albert Park.

Following two Covid-enforced cancellations in the past two years, the drivers have completed their formation lap and we’re ready for the action to start.

Most pundits expect it to be a showdown between pole holder Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – but the controversial Dutchman believes he’s in for a tough time.

Do you believe him?

“The weekend so far has been a bit of a struggle, there is a gap between Charles and I,” he said.

“But second of course is not bad and I think there is a lot more potential in the car than we are showing at the moment.

“I think we have a good race car and in race conditions everything stabilises a bit, so it is more consistent.”

2.45PM: SOLVING F1’S MOST PUZZLING DILEMMA

Porpoising… It’s been an issue since Bahrain testing and it’s not going away.

Honestly drivers must have migraines the amount of movement we’re seeing – particularly in the Ferrari and Mercedes – but it seems the latter have taken a big risk in Melbourne that could explain their sluggish times.

According to one expert there’s an addition to the silver arrows car this weekend.

“To get to the bottom of the bouncing issue Mercedes mounted additional sensors for this whole weekend (including quali & race), making the already overweight car another 1,5 kilo heavier. Solving that problem obviously is very important,” writes Tobi Gruner, a motorsport journalist in Europe.

2.25PM: IS IT FERRARI’S TIME TO SHINE AT ALBERT PARK?

Charles Leclerc has often struggled around the Albert Park circuit but he finally conquered it on Saturday to take pole for the Australian Grand Prix — even as the setting sun presented yet another challenge.

The Ferrari number one from Monaco said it was a track that didn’t suit his driving style, but in a measure of how far he has progressed, it all came together in a blistering lap at the death in Melbourne.

It was enough to edge out Red Bull’s world champion Max Verstappen, who will start second on Sunday, as the pair provided more evidence that they are the men to beat this season.

“It was a good lap, this time I took quite a lot of risks, especially in Turn six, which was quite tricky,” said the 24-year-old, the early championship leader who is looking to build on victory at the season-opening race in Bahrain last month.

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“I wasn’t really on this corner during qualifying, doing some mistakes, and then in the last Q3 lap I managed to gain quite a bit on myself compared to the other laps.

“Very happy, especially on a track like this where I have always struggled in the past and also in practices.

“But I was working on consistency and I just managed to put that lap together. So very, very happy and it’s good to be starting on pole tomorrow.” Albert Park has undergone its most significant changes since it first hosted a race in 1996, with the track fully resurfaced.

Seven corners have been modified and two removed this year, reducing the number of turns and offering better overtaking opportunities.

Leclerc said it remained a tough configuration.

“To be honest I was also struggling on the previous layout. I’ve always struggled with these type of corners that are not really 90 degrees,” he said.

“Always struggling with my driving style here, but I think it’s also a general thing with all the drivers. It’s a very tricky track, a very challenging track.” Making it even more difficult was the setting sun late in qualifying, which hindered drivers’ visibility.

Leclerc was heard asking Ferrari to give him a new helmet fitted with “the darkest visor you have” as qualifying ran some 30 minutes deeper into the evening due to red flag incidents.

“It was definitely extremely tricky,” he said.

2.00PM: F1 VILLAIN FUMES OVER AUS GP ‘MYSTERY’

By Rebecca Williams

World champion Max Verstappen has labelled the removal of a DRS zone for the Australian Grand Prix as a “mystery”, saying it would have helped the racing.

Changes to the track lay-out at Albert Park had provided for the introduction of a fourth DRS zone but the FIA announced Saturday it would be reduced to three for safety reasons.

Asked about his thoughts on overtaking opportunities at the track following qualifying, the Red Bull star said it would be harder without the extra DRS zone.

“Well, of course, with taking away one DRS zone, it’s going to be harder,” Verstappen said.

“I don’t really understand why they took it away, because it was much safer than what we do in Jeddah, for example. So it’s a bit of a mystery to me why that happened.

“There was only one team who complained about it and it got removed (Saturday) morning so I don’t really understand because for me, it was way easier than doing it in, for example, in Jeddah because there was way more corners.

“For me there was never any issue with driving there with the DRS open. So yeah, you have to ask, I guess, the FIA why they took it away.

“It’s a shame because it would have helped, you know, the racing.”

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez also agreed.

“It’s a bit of a shame because I think for …the race, definitely the racing could have been a lot better,” Perez said.

1.45PM: RICCIARDO ‘OVERWHELMED’ BY HOME PRESSURES

We’re a little more than an hour until the start of the Australian Grand Prix, and for many Australians it will be all eyes on local hope Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo will start this afternoon’s race in seventh on the grid, and the Australian is optimistic he can buck his rough start to the year and land a big result in his home grand prix.

The McLaren driver was swamped by fans on Sunday before the race, heaping even more pressure as he aims to deliver in front of a supportive home crowd.

“It’s definitely overwhelming, but in the best way. Everyone’s been so supportive today,” he said.

“I think seventh is a decent enough place to have a good crack. I’ll give it my best and hopefully end up somewhere around the Top 5.”

1.20PM: F1’S BLINDING ISSUE WORRIES DRIVERS

By Rebecca Williams

The fading sun in today’s Australian Grand Prix could prove to be an issue for drivers after Formula One stars complained about the late-afternoon glare during qualifying.

Pole sitter Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez both said the sun was an issue for them during qualifying on Saturday.

Qualifying was held between 4- 5pm on Saturday with today’s race running from 3-5pm on another sunny day in Melbourne.

Speaking after claiming his second pole for the year, Leclerc admitted he had battled with the glare.

“It’s a very tricky track, a very challenging track for drivers. And it was even tricker with the sun,” the Ferrari star and championship leader said.

“The sun in Q2, we just couldn’t see anything.

“In Q3 a little better, on the first run (it) was good, (the) second run wasn’t. It was a very tricky session.”

Perez, who will start third on the grid behind teammate Max Verstappen, also said he had to adjust for the sun.

“I think the biggest thing was the sun,” Perez said.

“It was coming down and then getting darker. So, we were playing with the visors a lot on my first Q3, run one.

“It was completely dark and there was no sun, so I went back and then there was a lot of sun.

“So (I) didn’t get it right (with) the visor.”

This year’s Australian Grand Prix is being held later in the year than normal, following the end of day-light savings, after the race lost its customary home at the start of the calendar.

12.45pm: F1’S ‘WORST EVER DRIVER’ SLAMS ‘STUPIDEST ACCIDENT’

Lance Stroll is never far from controversy and he was the one copping the blame for the nasty incident that red flagged Q1 on Saturday.

The Canadian clipped compatriot Nicholas Latifi’s car ending both their sessions and initiating an f-bomb tirade.

It was described by former F1 driver Taki Inoue as “The stupidest accident in F1 since Taki Inoue”.

Inoue, who raced in 17 F1 Grands Prix, is largely regarded as the worst F1 driver in the sport’s history – a title he tends to agree with.

So his analysis might just sting a little extra for Stroll and Latifi when they watch Inoue’s highlights reel.

Not only did he smash into the course car at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1995 but he was run over by a marshal car at the Hungarian the same year.

Inoue had a unique strategy for testing if a driver had serious injuries too. Grab their testicles and watch for a reaction.

“When balls move, brain is fine,” he told Top Gear. “When big crash, (take) scissors, take off the overalls, see the balls, hit the balls, then when balls move, this guy’s fine. If balls don’t move, then there’s a problem with brain damage, I think.”

F1 STAR BOOTED TO BACK OF GRID FOR AUSGP

Alex Albon was dropped to the back of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix because there was not enough fuel in his Williams to provide a test sample after Saturday qualifying, officials said.

The F1 website reported that Albon “stopped out on track after dropping out of Q1” and that Williams “were later unable to provide the required 1.0-litre fuel sample to the FIA.” Albon finished with the 16th best time in the first qualifying run, too slow to progress to the last two sessions.

He was already facing a three-place grid penalty for his crash with Lance Stroll in the previous race in Saudi Arabia.

That meant the decision to scrub out the time he recorded effectively cost him just one grid place.

“The stewards therefore disqualified the Thai driver from the results of qualifying – although he will be allowed to start Sunday’s race,” said the website.

The penalty also lifted Stroll out of last place on the grid. After qualifying last, the Canadian was then handed a three-place penalty for colliding with the other Williams, driven by Nicholas Latifi, on Saturday.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc starts on pole after a blistering lap at the death of a chaotic qualifying session on Saturday.

Leclerc has often struggled in Mlebourne so the new look track will suit him well.

Albert Park has undergone its most significant changes since it first hosted a race in 1996, with the track fully resurfaced.

Seven corners have been modified and two removed this year, reducing the number of turns and offering better overtaking opportunities.

Leclerc said it remained a tough configuration.

“To be honest I was also struggling on the previous layout. I’ve always struggled with these type of corners that are not really 90 degrees,” he said.

“Always struggling with my driving style here, but I think it’s also a general thing with all the drivers. It’s a very tricky track, a very challenging track.” Making it even more difficult was the setting sun late in qualifying, which hindered drivers’ visibility.

Leclerc was heard asking Ferrari to give him a new helmet fitted with “the darkest visor you have” as qualifying ran some 30 minutes deeper into the evening due to red flag incidents.

“It was definitely extremely tricky,” he said.

AN ISSUE FOR DRIVERS

By Rebecca Williams

The fading sun in today’s Australian Grand Prix could prove to be an issue for drivers after Formula One stars complained about the late-afternoon glare during qualifying.

Pole sitter Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez both said the sun was an issue for them during qualifying on Saturday.

Qualifying was held between 4- 5pm on Saturday with today’s race running from 3-5pm on another sunny day in Melbourne.

Speaking after claiming his second pole for the year, Leclerc admitted he had battled with the glare.

“It’s a very tricky track, a very challenging track for drivers. And it was even tricker with the sun,” the Ferrari star and championship leader said.

“The sun in Q2, we just couldn’t see anything.

“In Q3 a little better, on the first run (it) was good, (the) second run wasn’t. It was a very tricky session.”

Perez, who will start third on the grid behind teammate Max Verstappen, also said he had to

“I think the biggest thing was the sun,” Perez said.

“It was coming down and then getting darker. So, we were playing with the visors a lot on my first Q3, run one.

“It was completely dark and there was no sun, so I went back and then there was a lot of sun.

“So (I) didn’t get it right (with) the visor.”

This year’s Australian Grand Prix is being held later in the year than normal, following the end of day-light savings, after the race lost its customary home at the start of the calendar.

HOW THEY START



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