Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc wins Formula One Australian GP
Charles Leclerc of Ferrari won the Australian GP Formula One on Sunday. The Australian GP was billed as a showdown between Leclerc’s Ferrari and Max Verstappen's Red Bulls and Sergio Perez. The Monaco driver came out as a one-sided winner in the weekend race. Riding high after the decisive victory for Ferrari in the Australian Grand Prix, Leclerc’s belief in the team's prospects is growing by the race.
The 24-year-old Leclerc extended his lead in the drivers’ championship to 34 points while claiming his second win of the season after victory in the season-opening race in Bahrain. Leclerc was able to hold off Verstappen during the opening laps and defended well mid-race under safety car conditions to pull away for a decisive 20.524-second victory.
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Leclerc became the first Ferrari driver since Fernando Alonso in Singapore in 2010 to complete a racing grand slam comprised of winning pole position, leading wire-to-wire and also posting the fastest time.
The drivers’ championship leader, who pitted on Lap 22, posted the fastest lap of one minute, 20.260 seconds with a final-lap flourish. His Ferrari was the quickest car all weekend, which he described as a pleasing surprise. “Honestly, what a car today. Of course, I did a good job all weekend, but it was not possible without the car," he said.
Leclerc is bullish on Ferrari's prospects in the manufacturers’ championship this year. “Obviously, we are only in the third race, so it is difficult to think about the championship," he said further adding, “To be honest, we have a very strong car, a very reliable car too, and for now we have always been there. I hope it continues like this and if it does, we probably have chances for the championship."
On the other hand, an engine failure forced Max Verstappen from the race on lap 38 at the Albert Park circuit, with Perez overcoming a slow start to take second ahead of the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in third and fourth, respectively. Verstappen, the world champion, never really challenged Leclerc and withdrew with mechanical failure while running second. McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth in an Australian GP.