Round 3 of the 2022 F1 championship took place at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Not hosting F1 races for the past two years due to Covid-19 Pandemic, the Australian GP is back after 3 years in 2022. The track has been restructured since then with an additional new DRS zone.
It was the perfect weekend for Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari F1-75. He becomes the 26th driver in F1 history to achieve a Grand Chelem. Grand Chelem or grand slam in F1 means that Charles took pole position, led every lap, got the fastest lap, was the driver of the day and most importantly won the race. Max Verstappen was the previous driver to achieve this in the 2021 Austrian GP and Alonso was the last Ferrari driver to have done this in the 2010 Singapore GP.
2022 Australian GP Qualifying result
The qualifying on Saturday was very interesting. Stroll and Latifi’s crash in Q1 gave all the time Aston Martin mechanics needed to fix Vettel’s car. But with just one attempt at setting his best time, Vettel only managed to go 17th. Williams failing to provide a litre of fuel from Albon’s car post-session pretty much disqualified him from his 16th position.
Moving up the order, the Haas and Alfa’s lacked the pace compared to the previous 2 races. A record 103 consecutive Q3 appearances for Valtteri Bottas comes to an end, he only managed to secure 12th on the grid.
Not a good qualifying session for both Spaniards. Alonso in his Alpine pushed too hard in Q3 and crashed in turn 11 red-flagging the season. Sainz with a brilliant lap was a victim to this red flag, costing him a possible front-row start. Later on, Sainz had no time to warm up his tyres, had a bad hot lap and settled for 9th with Alonso in 10th.
With Sainz out of the equation, both Red Bulls were a threat for Ferrari. Perez and Max were very close to starting on the front row, but Leclerc on his final hot lap pulled up a brilliant 1.17.86 to secure pole. Max, Perez, Norris and Hamilton secured the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions. The complete 2022 Australian GP qualifying result is mentioned below.[table id=130 /]
With a decent start, Leclerc fends off Max and stays ahead in turn 1. Perez struggled initially and lost a position to Hamilton which he later gained. Sainz starting 9th had an awful first lap where he dropped down to 13th. On lap 2, Sainz carried too much speed into turn 10 which flew him off to the gravel pit concluding his race.
Max stuck behind the leader for a few laps after the first safety car restart. But a huge lock-up from Max later helped Leclerc pull away from him. The leaders were still 4 sec apart after their pitstop, but the second safety car closed it again. The restart had a close encounter between the leaders but Leclerc placed his F1-75 perfectly in the Turn 1 to hold Max.
From here on it was Leclerc’s show, the perfectly balanced prancing horse saw the chequered flag on Lap 58. He won the Australian GP with over 20 seconds gap from Perez, got the fastest lap and was voted the driver of the day. He now leads the driver championship with 71 points and Ferrari leads the constructor championship with 104 points.
2022 Australian GP race result
It seems like Red Bull is facing a reliability issue with their cars. In the first 3 races of this season, the reigning world champion Max has already retired prematurely twice from the race. He lost his PU on Lap 39, causing a DNF for the Dutchman.
Profiting from Red Bull’s bad luck were the Silver Arrows. Lucky Russell had a cheap pitstop on Lap 24 during the second safety car and came out in front of his teammate Lewis Hamilton. Max’s DNF then pushed him up to the 3rd podium position with Hamilton finishing 4th.
After a mediocre start to the season, the Mclaren has bounced back with points finish for both drivers. Norris and Ricciardo finished 5th and 6th respectively with Ocon on 7th. Bottas not making it to Q3 managed to finish 8th with Gasly behind him in the Alpha Tauri. Albon’s driving skills got the first point this season for Williams. He drove 57 laps on his hard tyres and a last-lap pitstop got him to 10th position. The 2022 Australian GP full race results are below.[table id=131 /]
There is still a lot of action to come, the next stop is Emilia Romagna GP, Imola, Italy. Stay Tuned for more updates.