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Thursday, February 22, 2024

F1 outcomes: Ferrari’s unhealthy day and different winners and losers from the Australian Grand Prix

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It was a chaotic finish, however the Australian Grand Prix ended like each different race of the 2023 Formulation 1 season.

With a Pink Bull driver up entrance.

Max Verstappen scored his second win of the season in Melbourne and his first win within the Australian Grand Prix. It was additionally the primary victory for the group in Australia for the reason that 2011 season. Previous to the race, Staff Principal Christian Horner indicated {that a} victory can be a “huge” outcome for the group given their historical past, and a large result’s what he bought.

However the Bulls are only one story to emerge out of Melbourne. Listed below are the winners and losers from the Australian Grand Prix.

Winners: Pink Bull

Cease me in case you heard this earlier than.

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However this was a fantastic weekend for Pink Bull.

The group scored their third win of the season, with Max Verstappen notching his second victory of 2023 forward of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. With Sergio Pérez ending in P5, the Bulls depart Melbourne behind with a commanding lead within the Constructors’ Championship.

For some time, nonetheless, it regarded like that may not have been within the playing cards.

Pérez struggled throughout all three observe classes, and when he slid off the monitor in Q1, he was pressured to begin behind the sphere. He was then pushed to pit lane for his begin after the group swapped out some elements to his energy unit.

Then when the race started, Verstappen was overwhelmed into the primary set of turns by George Russell, and Verstappen shortly discovered himself in P3, behind the Mercedes pair.

Nonetheless, fortunes shortly modified for the Bulls. Verstappen took benefit of the highly effective RB19 — and a call by Mercedes to convey Russell into the pits beneath a security automobile — to surge into first place. Behind him, Pérez was driving like a person possessed. Staff Principal Christian Horner mentioned earlier than the beginning of the race that Pérez moving into the highest eight “can be a hell of a drive,” however Pérez strung collectively overtake after overtake, getting himself not simply into the factors, however into place to threaten for a podium.

Whereas he wouldn’t get that top up the board, he completed in P5, protecting himself in second place within the Drivers’ Championship, behind Verstappen:

As for the group standings, the Bulls have almost doubled-up their nearest rivals in Aston Martin:

There was loads of discuss this week, significantly throughout qualifying, that the sphere may be tightening up a bit. That might nonetheless materialize with the opposite 9 groups having an prolonged break earlier than Baku, however proper now the Bulls nonetheless appear like the clear class of the sphere.

Loser: George Russell

The day started with George Russell ready to problem for victory.

It ended with the Mercedes driver out of the factors.

After an incredible qualifying session that noticed the Silver Arrows begin in P2 and P3, with Russell within the entrance row, the Mercedes driver took the lead early within the Grand Prix because of an incredible response in the beginning. Early within the race, it was a Mercedes one-two, with Lewis Hamilton simply behind Russell.

Nonetheless, issues shortly went south for Russell.

Mercedes made the choice to convey Russell into the pits beneath a security automobile after Alex Albon’s incident on Lap 7. The group switched Russell to the laborious compound, considering that he may go the gap from there and that it was price giving up the monitor place now for the advantages that will come later.

As a substitute, the purple flag flew shortly thereafter, giving each group the prospect to alter compounds beneath the stoppage. As a substitute of reaping the advantages of the early swap, Russell — together with Carlos Sainz Jr. — now discovered themselves with none benefit to talk of.

Then on Lap 18, Russell’s W14 skilled a failure, knocking him out of the race.

“We did all the things proper this weekend. We had a fantastic qualifying yesterday and right this moment, the beginning was good. We managed the primary stint effectively and I may have prolonged it fairly much more. I’ve felt comfy and powerful within the automobile on all three days,” Russell mentioned after the race in an announcement to the media, together with SBNation. “I see no cause why we couldn’t have fought for victory right this moment, so it’s disappointing. As quickly as I got here by the high-speed flip 10, I felt one thing go. Three corners later, I used to be stopped. When it’s not your day, it’s not your day.”

Russell now has to hope for a greater day at Baku within the remaining weekend of the month.

Winners: McLaren

It has not been the perfect of begins to the season for McLaren, and we have now mentioned their troubles at size.

Nonetheless, after getting into the Australian Grand Prix with no single level to point out for his or her efforts, they depart Melbourne behind with each Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri having secured their first factors of the season, and the group having vaulted as much as fifth place within the Constructors’ Championship.

“An excellent race. We had good tempo all through, stayed out of hassle with no errors. The group did an excellent job. I believe the tempo right this moment was stronger than our qualifying tempo yesterday, so issues got here collectively properly. Only a well-executed race,” said Norris after the Grand Prix. “I’m proud of all of that, and it’s the primary factors for us this season. It’s good to get on the board and it’s a superb finish to the primary few races earlier than we have now a little bit of a break after which head into Baku and the subsequent batch of races. I’m completely satisfied, so a giant because of the entire group and everybody again on the manufacturing unit for all of the laborious work as regular and we’ll preserve pushing.”

The factors had been the primary of Piastri’s F1 profession, they usually got here in entrance of a house crowd, simply minutes away from the place he grew up.

“P8, I didn’t anticipate that in the beginning of the day! I’ll positively take it. Clearly a loopy, loopy race however we stayed in there when it mattered. I’m so completely satisfied to get my first factors in Melbourne and need to thank all the house followers and papaya followers for all their help this week,” said the McLaren rookie. “Double factors for the group is a superb outcome and thanks to everybody who bought us there.”

Maybe feeling slightly higher concerning the course at McLaren? Staff Principal Andrea Stella:

Earlier this season, Stella indicated that the group’s first big upgrades to the MCL60 wouldn’t come till the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the finish of April. For a time, it appeared like McLaren would want to attend till then to problem for factors, and podiums. However because of the frenetic end we noticed in Melbourne, the group now has some factors beneath their belts.

With maybe much more to return as soon as the upgrades arrive.

Losers: Ferrari

We talked about Ferrari already, but it surely was a troublesome weekend for the Scuderia. Charles Leclerc crashed out of the Grand Prix on the opening lap, after which it regarded like Carlos Sainz Jr. was going to be out of the factors following a call to pit beneath a security automobile and make the early swap to the laborious compound. The purple flag got here out moments later, permitting the remainder of the sphere to make the identical swap, with out sacrificing the monitor place that Sainz surrendered.

Nonetheless, Sainz managed to cost by the sphere, together with an unimaginable overtake of Pierre Gasly in Flip 3 on Lap 25, to get again into P4. When the race restarted late within the Grand Prix, Sainz was nonetheless in fourth however had an opportunity to safe a podium end.

As a substitute, he ended up out of the factors following a five-second penalty handed down for his position in a collision with Fernando Alonso.

It is going to be a bitter prolonged break for Ferrari, because the Scuderia now sit fourth within the Constructors’, effectively behind Pink Bull and 30 factors behind Mercedes.

Winner: Lewis Hamilton

Photograph by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Pictures

Sunday was an incredible outcome for Hamilton.

The seven-time world champion mentioned so himself.

“To get a podium right this moment is wonderful; I positively didn’t anticipate to be second this weekend, so I’m tremendous grateful. Contemplating we’re down on efficiency, to be combating with the Aston Martins is wonderful for us at this level within the season,” mentioned Hamilton in an announcement to the media together with SBNation following the Grand Prix. “We’ve simply bought to maintain combating. A giant thanks to all of the folks again on the manufacturing unit. We will shut that hole; it’s going to be robust however not not possible.”

After qualifying in P3, Hamilton was in a position to navigate the a number of restarts and handle his laborious tyres down the stretch, ending in second place behind Verstappen.

It was Hamilton’s first podium since Interlagos a season in the past.

Following the race, Hamilton additionally took a second to acknowledge the expertise — and the historical past — that made the rostrum in Melbourne between himself, Verstappen, and Alonso.

“I believe, truthfully, I used to be having to push quite a bit to maintain… Proper initially, clearly, to maintain Max behind. After which Fernando was pushing, you understand, they’re very, very fast. So I believe finally, he was slightly bit faster right this moment behind me, however I simply managed to carry him off,” mentioned Hamilton trackside after the Grand Prix. “So, for that I’m actually grateful and in addition simply… What a legend. We’ve bought a World Champion up forward. We’ve bought two World Champions within the prime three or three World Champions within the prime three. That’s fairly mega.”

Loser: Alex Albon

It regarded like Alex Albon of Williams was going to be a darkish horse to look at this weekend.

Or, at the least that’s what I wrote late Saturday morning after qualifying.

Albon regarded very sturdy throughout qualifying and was as excessive as P2 at one level throughout Q1. In the course of the second qualifying session, he remained sturdy, significantly throughout the second sector. Albon rocketed into Q3, finally qualifying eighth.

It was all for naught, as Albon’s spin on Lap 7 knocked him out of the race. Making issues worse, it got here throughout the sector of the monitor the place he was strongest throughout qualifying, that second sector.

Albon shared his frustration following the Grand Prix.

“We’re nonetheless trying on the knowledge however there was nothing uncommon within the nook itself. Once I misplaced the automobile, I used to be going by slower than the earlier lap; I went large on the nook earlier than and spiked the tyre temperatures, shedding grip and going into the subsequent nook a bit sizzling, so I believe that’s what occurred however we have to have a look at it,” said Albon after the race. “With all of the accidents, it was a superb likelihood to attain factors this weekend, so I’m very sorry to the group. I’m upset, as we had a fantastic automobile right this moment and had been actually sturdy.”

Dave Robson, the group’s Head of Car Efficiency, elaborated on what befell Albon in Flip 6 on the seventh lap of the race.

“It was a exceptional race however finally it was a missed alternative for us. Alex constructed on his glorious qualifying show to make extra positions in the beginning and was trying good for a snug top-ten end,” mentioned Robson. “Sadly, touching the kerb at excessive velocity in Flip 5 led to a small snap and a spike in tyre temperature, which led him to lose the automobile on the subsequent nook.”

It was the second-straight DNF for Albon, following his tenth-place end within the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. He’ll look to rebound at Baku in a number of weeks’ time.

Winners: Aston Martin

When the mud lastly settled on the Australian Grand Prix, Alonso had his third-straight podium of the season — the first time since the 2013 season he secured three-straight — his teammate Lance Stroll was proper behind him in P4, and Aston Martin left Melbourne in sole possession of second place within the Constructors’ Championship.

Not a foul weekend for Aston Martin.

“Yeah, very. I imply, unimaginable. And in addition for the group, third and fourth, 27 factors out of this Sunday, I believe. It actually made me really feel completely satisfied for the girls and boys within the group,” mentioned Alonso after the race. “And yeah, the race was not straightforward. For positive. I believe initially clearly we bought fortunate with the primary purple flag as a result of George, and Carlos pitted, so we profit from that, after which yeah, by way of tempo we had been very near Lewis, additionally by the race – however each time that I attempted to get shut, sure he appeared to select up the tempo. I attempt to put some stress however, you understand, he had an unimaginable race, no errors in any respect, as you in all probability anticipate from him, a champion. However just one lock-up, I believe, Flip 13, in 58 laps. So I used to be making an attempt to place stress however nothing occurred. So yeah, I’ll take P3.”

As for what’s subsequent for Alonso, Stroll, and Aston Martin? The veteran thinks it’s time to preserve pushing up the desk.

“I suppose slightly bit increased up on the rostrum, as a result of three third locations, let’s go for a second place at the least,” said Alonso after the Grand Prix.

Losers: Alpine

Whereas it was one other sturdy weekend for Aston Martin, harsh remaining moments of the Australian Grand Prix have Alpine leaving Melbourne with a moderately bitter style of their mouth.

The late restart noticed Pierre Gasly in P5 and teammate Esteban Ocon in P10. The group was in place to complete with each drivers within the factors for the second-straight race.

As a substitute, each drivers had been of the race moments later.

The contact between Aainz and Alonso on the restart set off a series response that ended with Gasly and Ocon colliding alongside the proper aspect of the monitor, knocking each Alpine drivers out of the Grand Prix.

Each drivers had been summoned by race officers to debate the incident following the Grand Prix, however race stewards discovered that it was a “first lap racing incident:”

Nonetheless, it was a troublesome tablet for the drivers, and the group, to swallow.

“It’s an actual disgrace for each automobiles to not end right this moment’s race, particularly after displaying nice tempo all weekend. We had the efficiency to be combating the Ferraris and the Aston Martins, so to stroll away with nothing is a troublesome one for all of us,” said Ocon after the race. “The restart on the finish was very chaotic and all the things went so quick. The conflict with Pierre was unlucky and I’m glad we’re each OK. We’ve spoken about it, and we’re all good and there’s no laborious emotions. We’re each already trying ahead to the subsequent one and I do know the entire group will need to put this weekend behind us.”

“I’m very upset within the consequence of right this moment’s race. We had been in fifth place for many of it, chasing Carlos [Sainz] for fourth place and we confirmed actually good race tempo,” added Gasly. “For us to be so near scoring ten factors and leaving with none is a bitter one for us to take. Proper now, we should concentrate on the positives and that’s how we managed our race and the way we had been in a position to take the combat to our rivals forward. I’m glad each Esteban and I are OK after the incident. As a group, we’ll transfer on and preserve targeted for the subsequent race.”

Including to the bitterness for Alpine is the sight of McLaren leaping forward of them within the Constructors’ Championship. Nonetheless, Staff Principal Otmar Szafnauer has his eyes set on Baku, and a few upgrades to return. We’ll preserve shifting forwards and these laborious moments are what brings the group nearer collectively,” mentioned Szafnauer. “We’re already trying ahead to Baku the place an improve is deliberate.”

Winner: Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda completed in P11 on the Bahrain Grand Prix.

He completed in P11 at Jeddah within the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

And when the race noticed one other purple flag late in Melbourne, there was Tsunoda, in P11, trying once more at a end simply outdoors of the factors.

Nonetheless, the five-second penalty handed right down to Sainz pushed Tsunoda into P10, securing his first factors of the season, and the primary factors of the marketing campaign for AlphaTauri.

Nonetheless, the motive force’s response was considerably muted after the Grand Prix.

“I’ve blended emotions about right this moment. We scored our first level of the season which is nice, however to be sincere, given our tempo I didn’t anticipate to attain any right this moment. Contemplating how a lot we had been struggling earlier than the purple flag, with warming up and getting the laborious compound tyres within the optimum window, we must always take this outcome and be proud of P10 as we maximised our efficiency,” mentioned Tsunoda in an announcement to the media together with SBNation. “It’s a disgrace we misplaced P5 as a result of, going into Flip 1, I managed to overhaul a number of automobiles. On the Positive aspect we scored a degree, so we are going to proceed to work laborious to attain extra within the coming races.”

What may brighten his spirits?

Now the social media group can lay off him a bit:

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