F1 Melbourne 2022: The 2022 Australian Grand Prix was won by Charles Leclerc, consolidating his and Ferrari’s championship leads, while Max Verstappen retired for the second time in three races. Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez finished second, with Mercedes’ George Russell rounding out the podium.
Melbourne’s first Australian Grand Prix in 1,100 days drew a sell-out crowd to Albert Park. On Sunday afternoon, they were treated to another exhilarating show after an action-packed free practice and qualifying session.
F1 Melbourne 2022: Leclerc keeping red bull at bay
The driver of the Day Leclerc kept his opponent Verstappen at bay thanks to two Safety Cars: the first on Lap 2 after teammate Carlos Sainz spun out from P14, and the second on Lap 23 following Sebastian Vettel’s crash. On Lap 39, the threat vanished as Verstappen came to a halt with his engine on fire, allowing the Ferrari driver to cruise to victory over Perez while also setting the fastest lap.
George Russell meanwhile took P3 after having pitted following the crash of Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton lost yet another podium by two seconds in P4. Mercedes, however, leads ahead of red bull in the constructor’s standings.
Lando Norris was a few tenths ahead of local hero Daniel Ricciardo in a strong performance for the team in orange, with Esteban Ocon eight seconds back in P7.
Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri dropped from P8 to P9 after a penultimate corner lock-up on Lap 54, while Valtteri Bottas earned an extra position to take P8 after starting 12th. The Alfa Romeo driver took advantage of Gasly’s error, Sainz’s retirement, and Fernando Alonso’s poor race (P17 after a late pit stop for the fastest lap).
F1 Melbourne 2022: Verstappen’s frustration with mechanical failure
On Lap 12, Verstappen experienced a lock-up into the right-hand Turn 11 in F1 Melbourne 2022 , resulting ingraining on his left-front tire. The one-stop plan was still in effect when Leclerc was told to drive long on his medium tyres. On Lap 19, Verstappen was summoned to the pits for a set of hard tires, and he finished seventh.
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s medium-speed pace had shifted, and Perez was now under pressure from the seven-time champion. At the start of Lap 21, both the Mexican and Norris were summoned to the boxing ring.
On Lap 27, the race was resumed with the entire field on hard tyres, but Leclerc’s start was glacial out of the final corner, with Verstappen nearly behind him into Turn 1. As the hard tyres warmed into their window, the Ferrari hung on to the lead, albeit only by a hair, allowing Russell to attack the Red Bull. However, the top three remained unaltered.
Perez, Hamilton, Magnussen, and the McLarens were now in front of Alonso in a train from P4 to P9. On Lap 30, Perez gently pulled P4 from the Alpine coming into Turn 4, with Hamilton following one lap later with DRS to take a position from Alonso.
The three retirements were Verstappen, Vettel, and Sainz – but it was the former’s DNF that gave Leclerc a free run on Sunday, extending his and the Scuderia’s championship leads.