The first advantage with a stable F1-75 helped Ferrari’s Monaco driver to finish first on the Albert Park racetrack on April 10. This is Ferrari’s second victory after the past three stages of the season. Starting first, setting the fastest-lap, leading the entire 58 laps, Leclerc had complete control of the race, while Red Bull rival Max Verstappen was once again forced to retire due to a problem with the fuel system. . The distance between the two drivers is now 46 points.
Leclerc won overwhelmingly at the Australian Grand Prix
Leclerc’s leading position thanks to winning the pole seemed to be constantly threatened by the safety car. But Verstappen was not strong enough to attack the Ferrari driver. Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz made the safety car early for the first time by losing control of the F1-75 while trying to overtake on Turn 9. As the race resumed, Leclerc easily edged away from Verstappen, then soon increased the distance when the Red Bull driver started having tire problems.
The second time the safety car appeared was due to the accident of Sebastian Vettel, and Verstappen was given another chance. Leclerc, who had not long returned to the pit for a new tire change, struggled to maintain traction with the new set of tires when the race started again. Verstappen tried to attack the F1-75 at the first corner, but the Ferrari driver defended successfully, then soon created a gap of about half a second per lap before Verstappen’s car suffered a technical problem.
With Leclerc ahead by more than seven seconds – a gap he’d made after about 11 laps since the safety car left the track, Verstappen complained he could “smell some weird liquid smell”. Red Bull therefore asked the Dutch driver to give up to ensure safety. This latest incident once again raises doubts about the stability of the RB18 vehicle.
At the opening stage, both Red Bull cars had to give up in the final laps because of fuel system problems. Verstappen thus lost second place to Leclerc. And in Melbourne on April 10, Verstappen lost another huge number of points. Red Bull team leader Christian Horner thinks the problem could be due to a “fuel leak”, but they need to investigate the car to be sure.
“We can’t accept giving up,” Horner said. “We expect to be a lot closer to Ferrari in terms of speed, although they still can’t be caught today. Obviously we have some work to do. We need to be clear on what exactly. caused the problem today”.
Contrary to the instability of Red Bull, Mercedes, despite not having a powerful car early in the season, is showing progress with a reliable car. Lewis Hamilton started well and jumped to third against Sergio Perez on Turn 1 and held the Mexican driver for 10 laps before being unlucky with a safety car situation that emerged due to Vettel’s accident.
Hamilton returned to the pit just before the safety car was deployed, while Russell benefited from a tire change while the safety car showed up and passed the senior driver. Hamilton tried to close Russell at the end of the race, but still could not get past his teammate. However, the fact that Russel first went to the podium under the Mercedes shirt helped the German racing team continue to stand above Red Bull in the collective standings.