Three races down, and F1 2022 is delivering as much drama as the 2021 season.
Ferrari build their lead in both championships after Leclerc secured a grand slam at the Australian Grand Prix. The paddock returned down under for the first time since before the pandemic. The 2020 Australian Grand Prix was the race that never was after being called off at the last minute.
Melbourne offered something for every fan – DNFs from the two leading teams, an unexpected Mercedes podium, and rivalries heating up in the mid-field. Dive into our recap of the 2022 Australian Grand Prix
Leclerc’s grand slam while Sainz retires
One Ferrari driver made history, while another had a weekend to forget.
Leclerc got his championship underway by winning his second race of the 2022 season. The Monegasque driver had a flawless race. After qualifying in pole position, he led every lap and took the fastest lap point.
It was Ferrari’s first grand slam since 2010. We hear that Ferrari F1 merchandise is flying off the shelves as the Tifosi throw their support behind Leclerc. Grab the Ferrari Team Cap for the hottest item for the 2022 F1 season.
It wasn’t all sunshine for the boys in red. Carlos Sainz retired during the opening laps of the Australian GP after starting P9.
Reliability issues plague Red Bull
What should have been an easy 2nd place was snatched from Verstappen after reliability issues saw him dramatically retire from the race. It’s his second DNF within the first three races, preventing Red Bull from a much-needed double podium.
Verstappen had broken ahead of Perez and the two Mercedes, staying within a potential striking distance of Leclerc for most of the race. There appeared a handful of opportunities for Verstappen to strike before his unexpected retirement on lap 38.
His retirement allowed Leclerc to easily lead every lap of the race with Perez stepping up to take second place on what should have been a double Red Bull podium.
Not only is Red Bull behind in the championship, but it’s also shortened Verstappen’s chances of defending his title. It’s a long season, so no one is ruling out Red Bull or Verstappen with upgrades on the horizon at Imola.
Mercedes gain from Ferrari and Red Bull’s misfortunes
While Mercedes have arguably the fifth fastest car in the paddock, they’re benefiting from the misfortune of Ferrari and Red Bull. George Russell took his first podium for Mercedes because of Verstappen’s DNF.
He’s perhaps benefited most from these DNFs as he now sits P2 in the driver’s championship ahead of Sainz, Perez, Hamilton, and Verstappen respectively.
Developments and setbacks in the mid-field
What we’re enjoying most about the 2022 F1 season so far is that the mid-field is just as exciting as the front of the grid.
Saturday’s qualifying took a dramatic turn when Fernando Alonso narrowly missed out on what would have been a pole-worthy lap. The Spanish driver eventually finished P17 on Sunday.
McLaren appears back on track, with both cars finishing in the points. Norris finished P5 after Riccardo got his best finish of the season so far for his home race in P6. The grandstands were full of Australian fans showing their support in the new 2022 McLaren Daniel Ricciardo home t-shirt.
Ocon snatched P7, while Bottas recovered from a disappointing qualifying to secure P8. It was the first time in over a hundred races that Bottas didn’t make it into Q3. His Alfa Romeo teammate, Zhou, finished just outside the points in P11.
Pierre Gasly brought home points for AlphaTauri in P9. Alex Albon scored his first point for Williams after waiting for the final lap for his pit stop. Schumacher outperformed his Haas teammate by finishing in P13 ahead of Magnussen in P14. Tsunoda and Latifi finished in P15 and P16 respectively.
Aston Martin continues to struggle with Lance Stroll finishing P12 and Vettel retiring from his first race of the season. The team was plagued with issues all weekend. Both cars crashed in FP3, with Vettel having an engine issue in FP1 that saw him miss FP2. The German driver crashed on lap 23, bringing out the second safety car of the race. Aston Martin is now the only team to not have won points this season.
We’re counting down to the 2022 Imola Grand Prix. The race will give us some of the first major upgrades of the season. Will Red Bull fix their reliability problems? Will Sainz set off after his Ferrari teammates lead?
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