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Carlos Sainz may well have given Ferrari management some second thoughts about their driver roster in 2025 after a dominant win at the Rolex Australian F1 Grand Prix.

An early retirement for Max Verstappen left the Spaniard with a handy lead over Lando Norris and was one that Sainz was not about to relinquish.

The biggest issue for Sainz was his post operative recovery after having his appendix removed during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with his seat only confirmed as the teams prepared for opening practice.


Verstappen placed his Red Bull RB20 mid track as he looked to protect his lead from Sainz and Norris on the run towards the first corner. The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver headed Sainz, Norris, Leclerc and Piastri through the opening corners of the race.

It became a McLaren 3-4 shortly after as Piastri moved ahead of the second Ferrari while Verstappen looked to be already in control of the race.

That changed with the introduction of DRS and complaints from Verstappen that his car was ‘loose’. Sainz snatched the lead as Verstappen began to slow. In a matter of moments the wheels had literally fallen off the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver’s race.

Verstappen pulled into the pitlane as fire began to billow from the right rear of the #1. Marshals rushed to the Oracle Red Bull pit bay to extinguish the flames before they took hold.


Tyres became a factor with a two stop strategy the preferred option after noticeable tyre degradation was noticed during long practice runs.

Daniel Ricciardo had started on the soft compound tyres in an alternate strategy, though he found it difficult to make progress in those early laps and was amongst the first to pit for the white wall hard tyres.

Lewis Hamilton was the next to encounter problems and parked his Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 around the back of the circuit after an engine related issue brought the car to a halt.

The VSC was employed as marshals removed the stranded car.

Pit stops followed soon after and it was during this cycle that Leclerc was able to move ahead of both Piastri and Norris using the undercut. Piastri also gained a place at the expense of his teammate after his stop.


That set the scene for the remainder of the race.

Norris closed on Piastri and was given free passage past the Australian, much to the disappointment of a parochial local crowd, whilst a later moment for the young Australian placed him too far behind Norris for a later switch.


The battle for the final points held the interest of the racing pundits as Stroll, Tsunoda, Albon, Hulkenberg and Magnussen fought for position. Albon had held a strong top 10 place throughout the middle stages of the race, but was unable to hold off his rivals as the race wore on. An eventual 10th place brought no rewards for the team, who had replaced Logan Sargeant with Albon after a P1 crash had destroyed his chassis.

There was drama in the closing laps of the race as George Russell attempted to overhaul Alonso for sixth place. Russell was forced into avoiding action at Turn 6 after Alonso has seemed to slow. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver swerved to avoid the Aston Martin, ran across the gravel and into the outside wall. The force of the impact tore a wheel from the car which continued back on track and then tripped over the errant wheel to end up on its side.

Sainz went on to take the win from Leclerc and Norris. Piastri, Perez, Alonso, Stroll, Tsunoda, Hulkenberg and Magnussen completed the Top 10.

Daniel Ricciardo just missed out on a points finish in eleventh place.

“I got a decent start from the dirty side of the grid. After that it was a very strategic first lap and a half looking after the tyres to avoid graining,” Sainz explained at the media conference.

“It is a very strong DRS track and I knew that I could stay with him. When he made a small mistake on the third lap I had the opportunity.”

“We need to be there more often if we want to win.”

“I think our car worked really well this weekend, but it will be difficult at the different track without an upgrade after what we saw in Bahrain.”

“From the moment we hit the track here in Australia, the car was fast.”

Asked about the effect of his appendix surgery and impact on his body, Sainz offered the following:

“I knew from practice that I would be okay physically, it was the second half that I wasn’t so confident about. The last five laps were really the hardest.”


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