Charles Leclerc won his second race of the season in relative comfort after the abandonment of his closest rival, a Max Verstappen whose reliability problems are causing him many headaches. We break down the highlights of the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.
1) Leclerc does not fail and fires at the start of the 2022 F1 season
Since the Bahrain Grand Prix kicked off a new course in Formula 1, it was very clear that Ferrari and Red Bull would be the teams that would fight side by side for victories, at least during the first part of the season. .
However, after contesting the first three races, one name stands out above the rest. That’s Charles Lerclerc’s . The Monegasque driver has been able to take advantage of the performance of the Ferrari F1-75 at all times, with the Australian GP being the best example of this.
After a victory in Sakhir and a second place in which he finished less than a second from victory in Saudi Arabia, Leclerc achieved in Melbourne what had been elusive until now, which was to dominate with maximum solidity, controlling his advantage and managing the difference with respect to his pursuer.
Following his biggest display of superiority of the season, Leclerc left Australia with 71 points, well ahead of George Russell ‘s 37 or teammate Carlos Sainz’s 33.
2) Red Bull no room to improve reliability of its 2022 F1 RB18
If before we talked about the good work of Leclerc with Ferrari , looking at the garage of the driver who was initially destined to be his greatest rival, one thing stands out above all else; the lack of reliability, which is already beginning to be alarming.
To date, Max Verstappen has only managed to cross the checkered flag in one of the three races held. Despite staying in contention or close to winning in both Bahrain and Australia, two mistakes unrelated to his driving have increased his distance from the lead to 46p.
With 20 races still to go in the 2022 Formula 1 season, it is obvious that anything can happen. However, the room for maneuver is not as great as they would like at this time in Red Bull, since if they continue along this same line in the following races, the options of winning both titles could be drastically reduced.
3) Mercedes, without performance but with more trade than ever
After an undisputed dominance since the hybrid era began in Formula 1 in 2014, Mercedes has found itself in the difficult situation of going from being the great reference to not even being one of the teams that aspires to victories in conditions normal.
With a less competitive car than expected, the German structure once again demonstrated at the Australian GP that they continue to be one of the best teams on the grid beyond pure performance.
George Russell netted the second podium of the season for Mercedes , with Lewis Hamilton behind him in fourth, both well ahead of the actual W13 positions.
As happened in Bahrain, Brackley ‘s once again proved to have more skill than anyone, they never failed and took advantage of all the mistakes of others to climb positions in the standings, once again maximizing their results.
In this way, Mercedes is still alive in the fight, with a second position in the constructors’ classification that was not even in the best plans of the team after revealing its weaknesses in the preseason, ahead of a much superior Red Bull.
4) Alonso and Alpine, feelings without results at the start of the 2022 F1 season
The chaos continues for Fernando Alonso. With Esteban Ocon adding points race after race and showing no reliability problem, the situation in the Spaniard’s garage is very different.
Although it is true that the sensations in Australia were very good from the beginning, Alonso suffered an unexpected setback in qualifying, when on his first lap of Q3 he went straight into the wall due to a hydraulic problem that blocked his car.
At that time, the Spanish Alpine driver had been very competitive in the first sector and had set an absolute record in the second, showing that he had the pace to at least stay close to pole at the Australian Grand Prix.
This problem adds to those of Bahrain and the abandonment of Saudi Arabia due to another fault in its power unit. Continuous errors that are not allowing Fernando Alonso to demonstrate the potential he has at the wheel of this car, causing frustration that increases every weekend and that if a solution is not found, it will compromise the Asturian’s campaign and, perhaps, also his future in Alpine and in Formula 1 .
5) Albon and Williams embarrass Pirelli after the 2022 Australian GP
After three races, both the teams and Pirelli still lack data related to the new 18-inch tyres. But at the Australian Grand Prix, Alex Albon and Williams embarrassed the Italian Formula 1 supplier.
The Thai driver started from the last position after being disqualified from the qualifying session and because of this they decided to bet on the harder tire, but what neither they nor anyone else expected was to complete 57 of the 58 laps with the same set of gums.
Surprising in itself, even more so is the fact that during his last 25 laps on the hard, Albon managed to outrun some of his rivals who had superior cars and much newer tyres, leaving visible the deficiencies of a compound that should have worsened as the degradation increased.
Thanks to that strategy and that unexpected performance coming from a tire that was faster on the tarps than on good rubber, Albon and Williams took their first point of the season, but did not leave Pirelli in a very good place.