Charles Leclerc won the 2022 Formula 1 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.
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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.
The 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.
McLarens 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 capitalised 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.
Mario Isola – Head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli commented:
The tyres performed in line with the expectations we had established from Friday’s free practice sessions, despite the much higher temperatures on race day and expected track evolution. Nearly all the drivers made just one pit stop, with many of them taking advantage of safety cars to minimise the time loss. The different characteristics of the medium and hard tyres, with deliberately higher degradation on the medium, also presented the drivers with a wide pit stop window. This allowed them to maximise strategic opportunities today.
The modified track layout here in Melbourne helped to underline how the new car and tyre package for 2022 permits drivers to attack and overtake, with a high number of passing manoeuvres. We also saw some ingenious pit strategies, such as two consecutive pit stops from Lance Stroll to cycle through the medium tyre, and a very long hard stint from Alex Albon that enabled him to get from last on the grid into the points.
2022 Formula 1 Australian GP Race Results
|1.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||1:27:46.548||26||71|
|2.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing Honda||+20.524s||18||30|
|3.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+25.593s||15||37|
|4.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+28.543s||12||28|
|5.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+53.303s||10||16|
|6.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||McLaren Racing||+53.737s||8||8|
|7.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+61.683s||6||20|
|8.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+68.439s||4||12|
|9.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+76.221s||2||6|
|10.||23||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+79.382s||1||1|
|11.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+81.695s||0||1|
|12.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+88.598s||0||0|
|13.||47||Mick Schumacher||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||0|
|14.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||12|
|15.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||4|
|16.||6||Nicholas Latifi||Canada||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0||0|
|17.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||0||2|
|18.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||DNF||0||25|
|19.||5||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Aston Martin F1 Team||DNF||0||0|
|20.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||DNF||0||33|
2022 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||545|
|3.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||371|
|4.||Alpine F1 Team||125|
|6.||Alfa Romeo Racing||52|
|7.||Haas F1 Team||34|
|9.||Aston Martin F1 Team||25|