MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Charles Leclerc has accomplished a dominant weekend in his Ferrari after changing his pole place right into a complete triumph within the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Leclerc prolonged his lead within the drivers’ championship whereas claiming his second win of the season following victory within the season-opening race in Bahrain.
Leclerc was in a position to maintain off Red Bull rival Max Verstappen in the course of the opening laps and defended effectively mid-race beneath security automobile situations to tug away for a decisive 20.524-second victory.
Sergio Perez overcame a gradual begin to take second forward of the Mercedes’ mixture of George Russell, who secured his first podium end for the season, and Lewis Hamilton.
McLaren pair Orlando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo completed fifth and sixth.
Verstappen, the world champion, endured one other irritating race when a mechanical failure ended his hopes whereas he was operating second 39 laps into the 58-lap race.
Verstappen, who was clearly disenchanted after the race, by no means actually challenged Leclerc, whose Ferrari was the faster automobile beneath race situations in Melbourne.
The drivers’ championship chief, who pitted on Lap 22, confirmed that when posting the quickest lap of 1 minute, 20.260 seconds with a final-lap flourish.
He is the primary Ferrari driver since Fernando Alonso in Singapore in 2010 to finish a racing “grand slam,” having claimed the pole place, led wire-to-wire, claimed the race and in addition posted the quickest time.
“Honestly, what a car today. Of course, I did a good job all weekend, but it was not possible without the car,” he mentioned.
His teammate Carlos Sainz, who completed on the rostrum in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, had much less luck in a testing weekend.
After a difficulty in qualifying resulted in him ranging from ninth, he dropped again additional within the discipline with a gradual begin after which misplaced management on the second lap, ending his race.
But Leclerc believes Ferrari has demonstrated it’s going to be aggressive within the producers’ championship this yr.
“Obviously we are only in the third race, so it is difficult to think about the championship,” he mentioned. “But, to be honest, we have a very strong car, a very reliable car too, and for now we have always been there. I hope it continues like this and if it does, we probably have chances for the championship.”
The Mercedes workforce has endured issues to date this yr and is off the tempo of their Ferrari and Red Bull rivals.
But Russell was happy with the advance in his automobile this weekend, although he conceded they obtained some luck with Verstappen’s misfortune.
“We got a little bit lucky today … but we will take it. To be standing on the podium is special,” Russell mentioned.
“We are never going to give up. We are going to keep on fighting. We have to keep this up while we are on the back foot, I’m sure we will get there after a few more races.”
Verstappen mentioned the Red Bull was “already miles behind” Ferrari.
“I don’t even want to think about the championship at the moment,” he mentioned. “I think it is more important just to finish races, because today was, in general, just a bad day again. It is pretty frustrating and unacceptable.
“I knew there was a problem and it was always going to be a question mark for finishing the race, but these kind of things, if you want to fight for the title, cannot happen.”
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