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2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Highlights

2024 formula 1 Australian GP

SAINZ Carlos (spa), Scuderia Ferrari SF-24, portrait LECLERC Charles (mco), Scuderia Ferrari SF-24, portrait during the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2024, 3rd round of the 2024 Formula One World Championship from March 22 to 24, 2024 on the Albert Park Circuit, in Melbourne, Australia - Photo Xavi Bonilla / DPPI

 

Introduction

 

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz took the first non-Red Bull win of the season with an impressive display during the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, taking advantage of technical trouble for Max Verstappen in the opening laps that forced the reigning world champion to retire.

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Bidding for a record-equalling 10th victory in a row, Verstappen converted his pole position advantage as the race got underway but soon reported issues behind the wheel. A compromised second lap opened the door for Sainz to get a run on him and make a move for the lead.

From there, Verstappen’s brake-related woes got worse. With plumes of smoke exiting the rear of his RB20, he pulled off the racing line to let the rest of the field overtake him before returning to the pits and retiring for the first time in two years.

Sainz went from strength to strength in Verstappen’s absence, building up a solid lead over Lando Norris, teammate Charles Leclerc, and home favourite Oscar Piastri as the race developed. He eventually took the chequered flag for the third triumph of his F1 career.

Leclerc completed an undercut on Norris in the early stages of the race to rise to a net second and back up Sainz for Ferrari’s first one-two finish since the 2022 opener, but the Briton nonetheless recorded a breakthrough maiden podium of the season for himself and McLaren.

Piastri also jumped on Norris during the initial round of pit stops, only to be asked to move aside for his teammate and then lose some more time with an off-track excursion. This left him in a lonely fourth at the finish, followed by Sergio Perez’s Red Bull.

George Russell had been pushing to complete a late move on Fernando Alonso for sixth position when he dramatically crashed out at the high-speed Turn 6/7 complex, causing extensive damage to his Mercedes and bringing out a Virtual Safety Car to the finish.

The stewards later deemed that Alonso had played a “potentially dangerous” part in the incident, dropping the Spaniard from P6 to P8 with a post-race 20-second penalty. That decision moved teammate Lance Stroll up to sixth and RB’s Yuki Tsunoda to P7—giving RB their first reward of the campaign—as Haas took a welcome clutch of points with Nico Hulkenberg in ninth and Kevin Magnussen in 10th.

Williams’ decision to put Alex Albon in Logan Sargeant’s car did not entirely result in points. He took 11th, followed by the other home driver in action, RB’s Daniel Ricciardo, and Pierre Gasly’s Alpine, who was hit with a five-second penalty for a pit exit breach.

Kick Sauber endured yet more pit stop problems on their way to 14th and 15th with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, respectively. Esteban Ocon was the final finisher in the other Alpine after Verstappen’s early retirement, Russell’s late crash, and a mid-race engine issue for Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was watching from the Mercedes garage when teammate Russell crashed. The latter—whose car was pitched on its side in the middle of the track after the left front crumbled—quickly reported over the radio that he was “okay.”

With the drivers aware of Russell’s condition, the celebrations started down at Ferrari as Sainz revelled in his journey from a hospital bed to the top step of the podium in just two weeks – shouting his trademark “smooth operator” line as he headed for parc ferme.

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:

First of all, congratulations to Carlos Sainz and everyone at Ferrari for this one-two, which once again demonstrated that in such a competitive sport, where technology is pushed to the limit, one can never take anything for granted. I’ve got nothing against Max and Red Bull, but clearly, a new name on the list of winners, after two years of almost total dominance, is good for Formula 1 as a whole, as is the fact that just eleven points cover the top four drivers in the classification.

As for the race, it showed that our decision to bring a trio of softer compounds here compared to last year was the right one. Today’s race was busier compared to recent years, with tyre management making the difference. For example, one of the keys to Sainz’s success was the ability to lengthen the first stint on the Mediums, which then gave him the edge over his closest pursuers, as the two sets of Hards he used in the second and third stints were fresher. Yes, Carlos could drive a good part of his first stint with a clear track ahead of him while his team-mate, for example, was in traffic, sandwiched between the two McLarens. All the same, Leclerc managed to overtake Norris precisely because he had stopped first and could better exploit the performance of new Hard tyres in the opening laps of his second stint.

In general, graining was the weekend’s leitmotif, but it was not problematic in terms of tyre performance, and in the end, those who did the better job of managing them had the upper hand.

The day on the track:

All three compounds Pirelli chose for this Grand Prix were used on the starting grid: 14 drivers went for the Medium, three (Hamilton, Ricciardo and Zhou) opted for the Soft and two (Alonso and Hulkenberg) the Hard. As predicted, the most popular strategy was the two-stop, running Medium-Hard-Hard. Ocon was the only driver to make three stops, but that was forced on him by the need to make a very early first pit stop to remove a visor tear-off from a brake duct.

After making the briefest of appearances in FP3, only for scrubbing-in purposes, the C3 was the most popular choice today, used for almost 80% of the race distance by the 19 drivers on track with this compound. Graining continued to be an essential factor, and, as expected, this phenomenon did not diminish even though it was much hotter than in previous days, and it was on a track that got increasingly rubbered in. Significant graining was also evident on the Hard, which was never used on the first two days, but nevertheless, it was manageable. Regarding stint length, George Russell’s second stint ran 37 laps on the C3, and Fernando Alonso did 24 on the C4.

What’s next?

Formula 1 is back in action in a fortnight when the Japanese Grand Prix takes place from 5 to 7 April at Suzuka. At the classic Honda-owned track, the trio of compounds will be the same as in Bahrain: the C1 as Hard, the C2 as Medium, and the C3 as Soft. To see the Formula 2 and Formula 3 cars back in action, one must wait until 17 – 19 May in Imola, on the same weekend as the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Race Results

PosNoDriverCountryTeamTimePointsOverall
1.55Carlos SainzSpainScuderia Ferrari1:20:26.8432540
2.16Charles LeclercMonacoScuderia Ferrari+2.366s1947
3.4Lando NorrisGreat BritainMclaren Racing+5.904s1527
4.81Oscar PiastriAustraliaMcLaren Racing+35.770s1228
5.11Sergio PerezMexicoRed Bull Racing +56.309s1046
6.18Lance StrollCanadaAston Martin F1 Team+93.222s89
7.22Yuki TsunodaJapanVisa Cash App F1 Team+95.601s66
8.14Fernando AlonsoSpainAston Martin F1 Team+100.992s416
9.27Nico HulkenbergGermanyHaas F1 Team+104.553s23
10.20Kevin MagnussenDenmarkHaas F1 Team+1 lap11
11.45Alexander AlbonThailandWilliams Racing+1 lap00
12.3Daniel RicciardoAustraliaVisa Cash App F1 Team+1 lap00
13.10Pierre GaslyFranceAlpine F1 Team+1 lap00
14.77Valtteri BottasFinlandKick Sauber F1 Team+1 lap00
15.24Zhou GuanyuChinaKick Sauber F1 Team+1 lap00
16.31Esteban OconFranceAlpine F1 Team+1 lap00
17.63George RussellGreat BritainMercedes-AMG PetronasDNF018
18.44Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainMercedes-AMG PetronasDNF08
19.1Max VerstappenNetherlandsRed Bull RacingDNF051
20.2Logan SargeantUSAWilliams RacingDNS00

2024 Constructor Standings

PosTeamPoints
1.Red Bull Racing141
2.Scuderia Ferrari120
3.McLaren Racing69
4.Mercedes-AMG Petronas34
5.Aston Martin F1 Team33
6.Visa Cash App F1 Team7
7.Haas F1 Team4
8.Kick Sauber F1 Team0
9.Williams Racing0
10.Alpine F1 Team0

Here are the team-by-team highlights:

 

Red Bull Racing

Sergio Pérez dug deep for Oracle Red Bull Racing to bank fifth place in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen was forced to retire with a brake problem as Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda drove a brilliant race to end with a seventh-place finish for Visa Cash App RB.

Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing

It is unfortunate what happened today, but we can see so far in the data that the right rear brake just stuck on and locked as soon as the lights went off. It was basically like driving with the hand brake on, so the temperature kept increasing, and then I could see smoke appear as if it had caught fire. This was very confusing at the time as the car was bizarre when driving in some corners. At turn three, I braked and lost the car’s rear end; it felt weird on the rear axle, and then on turns six and seven, it snapped on me. The Team will investigate, and we will see if there are any answers, but there are some things you can’t control. It’s a shame as the car felt excellent in the laps to the grid, but you cannot control these issues, and these things happen. Of course, I am disappointed we didn’t finish the race as we had a good shot at winning, and the car has been improving throughout the weekend. We knew a day like this could come at some point, so we must be proud that we have had a great run with nine races in a row and can return stronger for Suzuka.

Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:

I don’t think it was an ideal weekend for us since Friday. We had struggled quite a bit in the long run, and we tried different solutions and compromises for Saturday, but we couldn’t get a total handle on it. In the first stint the balance was super neutral, I didn’t have any rear grip and we completely destroyed the rear tyres and then the second stint I completely destroyed the front tyres. It wasn’t a nice balance out there; it was a bit of surviving mode with the degradation we had, and we didn’t match up to Ferrari or McLaren. The grid penalty also harmed us because we could have ended up a lot further up without that. I think today was track-dependent, so hopefully, when we go to Japan, we will be back on top.

CHRISTIAN HORNER, CEO and Team Principal

Our first DNF since 2022 was also here in Melbourne. It was not the race we were looking to run. Firstly, with Max’s car, it was obviously really disappointing to have that brake issue. I think, actually, from the start of the Grand Prix, it felt like the brakes were locked on, which obviously created an issue as it is effectively like having the handbrake on throughout the race. And then with Checo, we picked up some floor damage; he lost quite a lot of downforce from the underside of the car, and we just became hard on the tyre, which is very unusual for us. So yeah, really frustrating to get our first DNF in two years, a lot to understand from that race but disappointing to be leaving here with just a bit less than usual. I have huge respect for Carlos, though; coming back from surgery and putting in a drive like that is remarkable. He and Ferrari gave an excellent performance; they took their opportunity and got the desired result.

 

Scuderia Ferrari

 

Scuderia Ferrari put together a perfect weekend at the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc securing the team’s 86th one-two finish, its 244th victory. It picked up the maximum 44 points thanks to the Monegasque driver also delivering the additional point for the race’s fastest lap. This means that, for a 59th season, the team has at least one win to its name and is now just four points behind the championship leader, while Charles is at the same distance behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers’. Carlos is 11 points down, having missed one race.

Masterpiece. Sainz will no doubt remember his third Formula 1 win, all picked up with Ferrari, and on the Scuderia’s all-time winners list, it puts him equal with four world champions, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill and Jody Scheckter. Unbelievably, the Spaniard seemed to shake off any effects of his appendectomy 16 days ago and immediately put Verstappen under pressure. On lap 2, when the Dutchman was in difficulty, Carlos made the most of it to get ahead and then mustered all his physical and mental strength to keep focussed, running at an incredibly consistent pace. He also was one of the best at managing his tyres. He did three stints, starting on the Medium before pitting on laps 16 and 41 to take on Hards both times. He pitted after his closest pursuers and always had the situation under control, only easing off when he was in the third sector on the penultimate lap, when the race was neutralised after a spectacular crash for George Russell, from which he emerged unscathed. As the icing on the cake, Carlos won the fan vote for “Driver of the Day.”

Solid race. Charles also produced a powerful drive to take a well-deserved second place, which is very important in terms of the championship. Having started fourth, he pulled off a perfect undercut on lap 9 to get ahead of Lando Norris. Then, in the final stint, he finished the job, fending off the Englishman on tyres six laps newer than his own. He also ensured he picked up another valuable point by setting the fastest race lap.

Japan is next. After the longest journey of the year, the World Championship is heading for Asia and the Japanese Grand Prix in two weeks’ time at the spectacular Suzuka circuit.

Carlos Sainz #55

What a rollercoaster! I’m delighted! I felt good in the car right from lap 1, and after overtaking Max (Verstappen), when I was in free air, I started setting a solid pace that took me all the way to the finish line, bringing home the first win of the season. I’m also happy that George is OK after the heavy crash. The team deserves this one-two; we did a fantastic job all weekend, from FP1 to the last lap. We executed a perfect race, nailed the strategy and the mechanics were incredible delivering precise and quick pit stops every single time. Congratulations to everyone! Let’s carry this momentum to Japan! Vamos!

Charles Leclerc #16

It was a perfect weekend for the team. We maximised our points and left nothing on the table, bringing home a 1-2 finish and the fastest lap.

Carlos did a solid job today. On my side, I had an excellent first stint, and we managed to get ahead of Lando (Norris) during the pit stop. I struggled a bit with graining on my first set of Hards and had a stronger pace on the last stint on the second set of Hards, managing the gap to Lando.

We’ve started the season with three weekends in which we have made the most of our potential, which feels really good and is a testimony to all the hard work our team has put in over the past months.

Frédéric Vasseur – Team Principal

Today, I want to congratulate the whole team because everyone did a perfect job. This one-two is the reward for the amazing work that began last season and is now ongoing both at the track and back in Maranello. Of course, Carlos deserves a special mention because a little over two weeks ago, he was undergoing surgery. Now, it’s as if that never happened, and he managed to stay focused throughout to round off a sensational weekend.

Charles also performed well because, after less-than-perfect qualifying, he had to manage the tyres, but he could fight back thanks to the performance he got from the car. He did really well in the first and last stints, and the fastest race lap he picked up right at the end confirms our progress in tyre management. We have been quick all weekend right from the first free practice, and I think we have made a good step forward compared to where we were one year ago when we left Melbourne and failed to score points. We were not disappointed with our results in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, nor are we getting carried away because of this one-two finish. We must continue with this approach in the coming races because that’s the only way to get the desired results.

 

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

 

A tough weekend at the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne ended with both cars failing to finish the race at Albert Park.

Lewis suffered from a Power Unit failure in the race’s early stages, while George had a big accident on the penultimate lap. Starting P7 on the Medium tyre, George gained several positions early on, while Lewis did similar on the Soft compound. They pitted early onto the Hard tyre, but Lewis’s race would not last much longer. A Power Unit failure consigned him to retirement.

The Virtual Safety Car was deployed, enabling Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin to jump George. With a gap of over nine seconds to catch, George set about whittling it down over his final two stints.

By extending his middle stint, he emerged on fresher rubber and put pressure on Alonso in the closing stages. Unfortunately, he crashed at Turn 6 on the second-to-last lap and was out of the race. He reported that he was OK over the radio, but it was a disappointing end to a tough three days here in Melbourne.

The stewards investigated the incident after the race and decided to hand Alonso a drive-through penalty imposed after the race, which was converted to 20 seconds added to the elapsed time in the race.

George Russell

Fortunately, I’m OK after the accident. I don’t really know how to explain what happened. I was half a second behind Fernando (Alonso) 100 metres before the corner, and then suddenly, he came back towards me extremely quickly. It was clear that he braked earlier than he had done on previous laps and then got back on the throttle. I wasn’t expecting that, and it caught me by surprise. I hit the wall and had a dramatic few seconds after that.

It was a disappointing end to a difficult race. Our pace wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We showed spells of good lap times, but ultimately, we have work to do to catch those ahead. We will focus on how we can make improvements ahead of Japan in two weeks.

Lewis Hamilton

My race was going OK until we suffered the Power Unit failure. It’s quite tough to overtake here, but we had gained some positions early on with the Soft tyre. It was unfortunate that we had to retire, as there was still a long way to go. I was beginning to press on, but the Power Unit just stopped. These things happen, and I know we will bounce back.

We will also improve the car as the season goes on. We have done so in previous years, and I am confident we will do so again. It is demanding that we are not as competitive as we would like now, but we will keep working hard. I am focused on doing that with the team. I expect we will still find it difficult to challenge further up in the short term, but we will see what we can do in the medium term.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO

That was a disappointing race to end a difficult weekend. After bravely deciding to start on the Soft tyre, Lewis had made good progress initially. Unfortunately, his race came to an end shortly afterward. We will return the Power Unit to Brixworth and investigate what caused the failure. For George, it was clear that Alonso braked earlier than he had on previous laps. It is now with the stewards to determine what caused that. Nobody feels optimistic about where we find ourselves right now, but we are focused on turning this around. It is tough to take, but we will remain calm and composed. We have seen others who have shown that things can turn around quickly when you get it right. That is what we are aiming to do.

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

That was a very disappointing end to a tough weekend, with a significant amount of accident damage to remedy ahead of Japan in two weeks’ time. We went into the race hoping to progress from our grid positions: with Lewis, which involved starting on the Soft, which helped him gain positions on the opening lap, and George on the Medium. Lewis’s race was cut short by a sudden and unexpected Power Unit failure; we had no warning of it and will need to investigate further when the PU returns to Brixworth. George knew he had to complete two lengthy stints on the Hard and find the right balance between pushing the tyre and stretching out its life. Clearly, we could not fight with the three teams in front, and he was racing for P6 after Alonso had pitted under the VSC for Lewis’s retirement and gained track position. George had an opportunity to get the place back on the final stint and was clearly caught by surprise by the unexpected deceleration in front of the penultimate lap.

It has been a bruising weekend for us, during which we were unable to compete on a single lap or the long runs, and we will be continuing to trawl through the data in the coming days to see what isn’t working and why we are only currently able to deliver flashes of performance from the car. It’s clear that we have much to work on to give both drivers a better tool to work with at the race weekends. We now need to get our heads down, work through the challenges individually, and aim to deliver a more substantial showing next time in Suzuka.

 

McLaren Racing

 

Hear from McLaren Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, and Team Principal Andrea Stella after the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Lando and Oscar hold their positions as the lights go out, remaining P3 and P5, respectively. Verstappen retires from first with mechanical problems, promoting Lando to second and Oscar to third. Oscar boxes for fresh tyres on Lap 9, switching to Hards. Lando waits for another five laps and heads in on Lap 14, also switching to the Hard. He slots into fourth behind Oscar. As Oscar begins to struggle with tyre wear, he and Lando switch positions. Oscar pits on Lap 39, bolting on another set of Hards, returning in fifth behind Alonso. Lando takes on another fresh set of Hards on Lap 40 and rejoins in third, four seconds off Leclerc. Lando clinches third at the flag, scoring McLaren’s first podium of the season and their first in Australia for ten years. Oscar comfortably holds onto fourth to notch his highest finish in Australia to date.

Lando Norris

Our first podium of the season! It was a perfect day for us. P3, P4 and lots of points in the championship. I think our pace was strong today, but Ferrari and Carlos did an excellent job, so hats off to them. They’ve been fast all weekend. The car felt good, and I could manage the tyres very well today, and that was a good step.

It’s clear that this circuit suits us a little bit more, so we’ve been able to push and unlock some speed. But Ferrari and Red Bull are still one or two steps ahead of us, so we need to catch up. A big thanks to everyone in McLaren; they’ve been working incredibly hard. We’re getting closer to our target. I wasn’t expecting to be on the podium, but it’s nice to be back; I’m thrilled and proud of our team. Hopefully, we can have many more.

Oscar Piastri

P4. A good result for us. I think the pace was good the whole way through. I struggled a little bit on the first set of Hards; I just grained them a little bit and then had a little bit of a moment. I think it was a perfect day for the team regarding points. I don’t think there was too much we could have done on my side, so yeah, I’m pretty happy. It is so close to a podium, but it will come. Lando did a great job today getting the P3. All in all, a successful week at home.

Andrea Stella

Our first podium of the season has come with a solid performance here in Australia. Albert Park definitely seemed to suit the MCL38, but finishing P3 and P4 also required the team to do a fantastic job delivering performance and reliability, while the drivers were excellent today in how they coped with the tyres.

It is a significant team effort on both sides of the world. I want to thank all the men and women at McLaren and HPP who have worked very hard to consolidate and continue the joyous journey we started in 2023. I hope the team at home and our partners enjoy this podium as much as the trackside team. We now look ahead to our following doubleheader, which will start in Japan.

 

Aston Martin F1 Team

 

The team secured more points at the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, with both cars finishing inside the top ten. Get the thoughts from Lance, Fernando, and Mike after racing Down Under.

The team achieves a second double points finish of the season, with Lance classified in P6 and Fernando in P8. Drivers used different tyre strategies to complete two-stop races at Albert Park. Lance started on the Medium tyre before using two sets of Hards, whilst Fernando began the race on the Hard tyre before using the Mediums and then heading back to the Hards.

Fernando took advantage of a VSC period following Lewis Hamilton’s retirement, allowing him to gain time and track position as he pitted whilst the race was neutralised.

Fernando crossed the line in P6 but received a post-race drive-through penalty after an incident involving George Russell, which saw the Mercedes driver crash. This penalty was converted to 20 seconds added to his race time, which demoted him to eighth in the final standings.

Fernando Alonso

We were a little lucky with the timing of the Virtual Safety Car when Lewis [Hamilton] retired. Then I was pretty happy sitting behind Checo [Perez] because I could use the DRS to pull a gap. I lost a lot of time when Charles [Leclerc] came out from the pits – but those seconds we gained proved to be gold dust at the end.

In the closing laps, George caught me quickly. I knew that he was coming, and then he was in the DRS range for five or six laps, so I was doing qualifying laps to stay ahead. I wanted to maximise my exit speed from Turn Six to defend against him. Any racing driver would do that, and I didn’t feel it was dangerous. Getting a penalty from the stewards for what was hard but fair racing is disappointing. Still, I’m glad that George is okay. Seeing his car in the middle of the track was not pleasant.

This wasn’t the best weekend for us regarding pace, but our race was well executed: sound strategy, incredible pit stops, and great reliability. I think we probably scored more points today than our pace merited—but we’ll take that.

Lance Stroll

It was a solid race today, and I’m pleased to have picked up a few points. I had a strong start, gaining a few places on the first lap, and then settled into a good rhythm. As expected, managing the tyres was the biggest challenge due to the high degradation, but I looked after them well, and the team did an excellent job with the race strategy. We still have some more pace to find in the car, but I think we leave Australia knowing we made the most of the package we have.

Mike Krack, Team Principal:

A strong race in Albert Park today, and we have scored 12 championship points. Full credit to both drivers, who converted our grid positions into points using two very different tyre strategies.

Lance has driven well all weekend and carried that form through to the chequered flag. Fernando’s race benefited from the Virtual Safety Car – it was surprising to see him drop to P8 with the post-race penalty, but we must accept the decision. This will not distract from a positive day. The calls from the pit wall were spot on, and operationally, the whole team has been excellent.

 

Kick Sauber F1 Team

 

KICK Sauber F1 Team saw the team’s convincing pace come to nothing as technical issues relegated Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu to 14th and 15th place, respectively. After a strong start that saw Valtteri fight within reach of the points and Zhou, starting from the pit lane, rapidly catch up with the pack, it was a frustrating end to the afternoon for the team: work remains to be done, but the progress in performance is at least a positive that will continue to motivate the team to push hard and resolve the outstanding issues.

Valtteri Bottas

It’s never great to see a good race come to nothing: it’s frustrating as, until the pit stop, things were going really well. We had a good start, and most importantly, we had a strong pace, so we should have gotten points. It’s apparent that we still have to work to solve the issues affecting us: what we have done so far has reduced the incidence a lot, but the risk is still there – as we have seen today. There’s an element of bad luck there, and there’s nothing the pit crew could have done differently; it’s a technical issue that needs to be solved. We can still find some positives – our performance is improving, we have made a step forward with the team’s upgrades, and we should have been on the right track. We were fighting with Fernando in the opening stages, and I believe P8 or P9 would have been within reach. We keep working hard: more upgrades will come soon, and I think we can make an even bigger step in Japan.

Zhou Guanyu

This weekend was a difficult one. Starting from the pit lane is always tricky, and being stuck in a DRS train made it difficult for me to overtake. Some points were up for grabs for the team today, but unfortunately, we did not manage to be up there fighting for them. During my second pit stop, I experienced an issue outside of my control related to my gearbox – when I called for the gear, the car stalled, which cost me plenty of time. Our race pace looked solid and competitive with the teams around us. It’s been a lost opportunity, but we’ll continue our work to bounce back in Suzuka as a team.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

First of all, we need to apologise to our drivers, especially to Valtteri, who in the first part of the race showed he could match the top ten drivers and was clearly fighting for a points finish, thanks to a good start and intense pace. As we said before the race, we had implemented mitigation measures for our pit stop issue, something that has improved the situation but, as we have seen, not completely solved the problem: what happened to Valtteri is a slightly different, but linked, issue compared to what happened in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, but one for which we paid a really high price and that wholly ruined Valtteri’s race. We clearly lost an ample opportunity to score points, as he would have been there or thereabout with Tsunoda by the end of the race. Starting from the pit lane, Zhou had a different issue as we saw problems with his gearbox throughout the race: when he came to the pits, he could not select the gear before the car finally stalled. It was not the driver’s fault but another frustrating circumstance that damaged our race. As a team, we must take responsibility when these things happen: it’s the only way to improve. It’s really tough not to score points when we have the potential to do it. As we saw, we had the performance to be ahead of Haas, RB, and our other direct competitors. We need to keep working hard, even harder, to fix these problems. We regroup, stay united with our drivers and team back home in Hinwil and trackside, and together we do all we can to come back stronger in the next race.

 

Haas F1 Team

 

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team successfully raced to a double points finish at the 2023 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, Round 3 of the World Championship, with Nico Hulkenberg finishing ninth and Kevin Magnussen 10th at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit – Albert Park.

The result ensured that the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team captured a double-point finish, the first for the team since the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, and marked a second successive top 10 result in 2024.

Nico Hulkenberg
The first VSC helped me, and I overtook a car at each stop at the pit exit. That really made my race today, together with the VSC and our teamwork – so I’m delighted. Getting P9 and P10 with one top car crashing out and Verstappen having to retire, it’s still the case where if the top five teams finish, there’s not much left. I feel more encouraged today that the car felt better than in qualifying yesterday, which is different from last year, but having it this way around is practical.

Kevin Magnussen

Once again, we got both cars in the points with great teamwork. The VSC didn’t help me, but on the flip side, it helped Nico so we could get him back into the battle, and it’s fantastic to get three points here. It’s very encouraging and a different way to go racing; last year, we woke up on race day knowing it would not be good. Today, I woke up knowing we would have a chance to fight, and it was true. We were stronger with our race pace than qualifying and must keep working in this direction.

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

It was a great day with a double-point finish, the first time since Austria 2022. Especially after yesterday’s qualifying, I said we expected to have a better race pace – but to be able to get double points is better than expected – so it just goes to show that you need to be there. You need to do everything ideally to be able to pick up those last available positions. It wasn’t perfect today, so there are some things that we need to improve, but overall, I’m so happy for the team. Both drivers drove a brilliant race, and the pit stop crew, when it was critical, delivered – they got our drivers out in front of the competition. What a great team effort, I’m pleased.

 

Visa Cash App F1 Team

 

Further down the field, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team’s Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo battled hard in the middle of the pack but finished outside the points in 14th and 16th places, respectively, at the 2024 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo

After last night, I let go of the frustration and put it aside coming into the race. I tried to get the most out of today, and there were some excellent stints. Many drivers pitted early like me, but starting from the back of the grid, we had to try something. I think in the first stint on the complex compound, I lost a little bit of time as the graining came up pretty soon with the VSC, but the second one was definitely more competitive. I could drive on a low 1:21 as a lap time before we got some blue flags, so there were indeed some excellent and encouraging moments throughout the race. Nevertheless, I think we’re still missing some things, as sometimes I feel like I’m not carrying enough speed in some corners. During the race, I marked some points that are good for gathering data and will help us continue understanding our car. Obviously, I would have loved to have a better weekend and start the season, especially after the preparation I had coming into it. However, there’s no panic; we continue to keep our eyes on the prize and work together. I feel like the car itself has not really changed from last year, it’s an update but the characteristics are very similar. There’s some confidence in that, and I don’t think we have to change everything, so we’ll find something in one of the following weekends to continue the positive performance trend.

Yuki Tsunoda

Finally, a top-ten finish, the team definitely deserves it, and I’m very happy! We were consistent throughout this weekend, and the car felt good straight away, so we just had to put it all together and have a clean race to score points in this tight midfield, and we achieved that today. We didn’t make any mistakes, and it’s vital for the team and me to have that confidence to go into the next races. To have a clean race sounds easy, but the last two races have been frustrating for us, so finishing P8 today, after a productive restructuring, was definitely deserved. The team did a fantastic job, and I can see the team is significantly improving every race. The difference in the car between the same time in Melbourne last year and this year is impressive. The amount of work we put into that car was massive, and the work definitely paid off. To be honest, the race wasn’t easy because other teams actually picked up their pace quite a bit, but I’m delighted we could maximise our performance and opportunity, and glad to hear that George is okay in the end. The whole weekend is a great way to go into Japan, especially with this result under my belt, and at least I can give some hope to the Japanese fans. I haven’t scored any F1 points at my home Grand Prix, but the car looks good, so let’s try again this year. I’ve been resetting myself every week, and our car has been very consistent, which is different compared to last year, so that’s a strength. I learn from previous races and focus on what I can do better to help the team. Now it’s time for us to analyse, reset and push again in Japan!

Laurent Mekies – Team Principal

It’s a very positive result for us today. Yuki executed a fast and well-controlled race to top the whole midfield group and got us our first points of the season. He did not put a foot wrong all weekend, and with calm and determination got faster session after session. Daniel’s pace was also strong, and we can only regret that we had to start from the back. He fought his way back to P12, and there were undoubtedly points available today for him as well, had he started from a better position. The team performed very well all weekend, and it was only by getting a near-perfect weekend that we could score points here, given how tight the mid-field is. So, a big well done to everyone in Faenza, Bicester, and Honda. We go to Japan with some good encouragement from the Australian round here, and we are very conscious of how hard we will need to push there to get a very tiny edge onto the midfield again.

 

Williams Racing

 

An incident-packed 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne ultimately proved fruitless for the team, but a clean drive from Alex No.23 – as many others retired – demonstrated some promise for the season ahead.

Alex Albon

The early pit stops were disguising our lack of race pace today; we tried to stay in the race by pitting early and getting back track position but ultimately the pace of our competitors was too strong. Every time I tried to match the pace with the cars around me, I would run, and when I could do my own race, I was three and a half tenths off the pace. We had a lot of graining and were fighting the car everywhere, so we need to have a good look at why. With three of the top teams retiring, it’s frustrating that we couldn’t capitalise on this, and our rivals did, but it shows our pace wasn’t quick enough to be still sitting outside the points. It’s been a tough weekend for us at Williams, but we’ve pulled through quite well and really come together as a team. Everyone at the track has really dug deep so I can only thank them for their hard work and dedication and of course to Logan for being a true team player.

Truthfully, I’m pretty happy with my performance considering the circumstances but we’re going to continue to rally as a team and hopefully come back fighting in Japan.

Logan Sargeant

DNS. This is the most challenging moment I can remember in my career, and it’s absolutely not easy. However, I am entirely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.

Dave Robson – Head of Vehicle Performance

Having not done any meaningful high fuel running until today, we started the race on the backfoot. We knew that graining would be an issue, especially after the mandated tyre pressures were increased on Friday night, however, we didn’t do enough to mitigate the issue and this left Alex stuck between front graining and rear tyre degradation. The car wasn’t quick enough in race trim this weekend, which left Alex having to find the lap time by pushing the tyres, which accelerated the degradation and left us unable to fight with the cars that we should be able to race with. For this to coincide with a race with so many fast cars retiring is even more frustrating as there is no reason why, with more experience from Friday, we couldn’t have been fighting Yuki for P8. It has been a difficult weekend for obvious reasons and whilst the attitude throughout the team has been very impressive, we all leave Melbourne disappointed by today’s result.

We will be in Japan in two weeks’ time, and we look forward to tackling the very different demands of the great track in Suzuka.

 

Alpine Racing

 

Esteban started from P15 on New Mediums and finished P16: Pit-Stops on Lap 9 for New Hards, Lap 16 for New Hards, and Lap 42 for Used Hards. His fastest Lap was 1 min 21.354 secs.

Pierre started from P17 on New Mediums and finished P13: Pit Stops on Lap 17 for New Hards and Lap 41 for New Hards. Fastest Lap: 1:21.090secs.

Esteban Ocon

It was an unfortunate race today, as we had to make an extra stop to remove a tear-off stuck in the rear brake duct. Before the pit stop, I was running in a group with Alex [Albon] and Kevin [Magnussen] and in front of Nico [Hülkenberg]. Without that extra stop, we probably had a chance of scoring points by looking at how the race unfolded. Today, and this weekend in general, the car felt a bit better and shows we’re progressing. We need to take it step-by-step and keep pushing ahead of Japan, which is a race I’m really looking forward to, as it’s one of my favourite tracks, and the fans there make it extra unique.

Pierre Gasly

There is no satisfaction to take from today’s result, as finishing outside of the points is never where we intend to finish races. We made some progress, though, and we tried to maximise what we had, and I’d say we did that today. I tried my best inside the car, but it was a difficult race at times. We stuck with it right to the end. We will all continue our collective hard work. We have some parts coming soon as we close the gap to those ahead of us. It’s been a busy week in Australia, and I already look forward to racing in Suzuka, one of my favourites on the Formula 1 calendar.

Bruno Famin – Team Principal

While we did not score points in today’s race, we are making progress. We must improve many areas – and will improve – as it was far from a clean race for both cars today. That said, we probably maximised the result with what we could control. We must close the gap with our rivals by chipping away at improving across all areas. Both drivers continue to work collaboratively with the team, so credit to them again for their outstanding efforts. The next race is Japan, where we intend to continue showing progress.

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