With his second win in three races, the Monegasque driver appears like an early favourite to take the 2022 F1 championship.
Charles Leclerc saved his momentum alive on the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne over the weekend, making good on pole place to complete first for Ferrari.
The 24-year-old Monegasque driver had a wonderful race, and confronted little in the way in which of challenges from his rivals, barring an in depth name when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the reigning F1 champion, practically caught up with him after a security automotive interval.
When Verstappen was compelled to retire on account of a technical challenge on lap 39 of 58, nevertheless, Leclerc’s victory appeared all of the extra sure.
“It was the first race where we could control a little bit the gap, and honestly, what a car I had today,” Leclerc stated on the conclusion of the race (by way of ESPN). “Of course, I did a good job all weekend, but it was not possible without the car and this weekend, especially on race pace, we were extremely strong.”
“The tires felt great from the first lap to the last lap. We were managing the tires extremely well and I’m just so happy,” added the Driver of the Day.
The Australian Grand Prix marked the continuation of a implausible 2022 begin for Leclerc, who kicked off the 12 months with a first-place end in Bahrain on March 20 and second-place end in Saudi Arabia the next week. It additionally cemented his lead in the 12 months’s driver standings—he’s now 34 factors forward of second-place driver George Russell of Mercedes—and Ferrari’s sturdy begin for the 2022 constructors’ championship.
Verstappen’s late exit from the Australian Grand Prix cleared the way in which for his teammate, Mexico’s Sergio Perez, to race into second place.
“We are already miles behind,” Verstappen stated after his disappointing race. “I don’t even want to think about the championship fight at the moment. It is more important to finish races.”
Behind Perez got here Russell and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes in third and fourth, whereas Lando Norris of McLaren got here in fifth. Norris’ teammate, the ever fashionable Daniel Ricciardo, got here in sixth—a particular trigger for celebration contemplating his tough begin to 2022 and the truth that it was his house race.
“After Bahrain I was still very positive and I knew we could make a turnaround,” Ricciardo stated after the race (by way of ESPN). “Didn’t think it would happen already.”
“For that reason, I’ll definitely take it. As a whole, it was certainly better. Team result was mega compared to the last few.”
Like Verstappen, Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz—who has in any other case appeared higher than ever this 12 months—failed to complete the race after ending up within the gravel early within the early going.
“I need to be hard on myself for a driver mistake,” the Spaniard advised The Race after the actual fact.
“At the same time, we were not perfect as a team,” he added. “It puts you under pressure and I didn’t react accordingly.”