After two thrilling races to start the season, Charles Leclerc wins the Australian Grand Prix in commanding style. Even without his retirement, world champion Max Verstappen would not have stood a chance. The Dutchman is plagued by unusual worries.
After only three of 22 races, Charles Leclerc already has a 34-point lead over second-placed George Russell in the Mercedes in the Formula 1 overall standings. World champion Max Verstappen is already 46 points behind and fears further retirements after the disaster at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday. For the two German drivers, too, little has gone right at the start of the season.
Whoever wants to become world champion has to beat Leclerc
Two wins from three races, a comfortable lead in the world championship standings and undoubtedly the best car. Charles Leclerc can dream of his first title early in the year after his success in Australia. The Ferrari driver from Monaco impressed in Melbourne without any mistakes and was not to be beaten at any time. Overall, the Scuderia is doing a strong job and can look forward to plenty of support at the upcoming home race. There could be Ferrari feasting days at the Grand Prix in Imola, Italy, in a fortnight’ time. “It’s great to start the season like this, but we have to keep in mind that we are still early in the season. We can’t afford to rest,” said Leclerc.
Unexpected worries for defending champion Verstappen
In the past, Max Verstappen has rarely had to worry about the reliability of his Red Bull. But two retirements in the first three races have now given the world champion from the Netherlands a scare. According to his team, the failures in Bahrain and Australia had very different causes, which should only worry the 24-year-old even more. And Ferrari already seems so far behind that Verstappen and Co. will have to improve significantly. “The gap is already quite big,” said Verstappen, who crashed out in second position for the second time on Sunday: “We still have a lot of work to do as a team.”
Vettel sits in the weakest car of the field
Sebastian Vettel would probably prefer to quickly erase the trip to Australia from his memories. For the Hessian, nothing went right in Down Under. The driver from Heppenheim made a driving mistake which led to an early retirement. The 34-year-old also had to realise that the Aston Martin is the weakest car in Formula 1 right now. The British carmaker is the only one not to have scored a World Championship point yet, and improvement does not seem to be in sight. “There are many things we want to improve, but we don’t have the solutions yet,” said the Hessian.
Still not enough for points for Schumacher
Mick Schumacher had arrived with great hopes of finally scoring his first World Championship points. But nothing came of it. The 23-year-old in the Haas again failed to finish in 13th place. “We were too far away with our speed,” said Schumacher. At least he finished ahead of his team mate Kevin Magnussen for the first time, who came 14th. The Dane had already made it into the top ten twice, thus giving the Americans points. In his second Formula 1 year, Schumacher now wants to make up for that quickly, and the car seems capable of doing so if everything fits. “We have learned a lot, hopefully we can take something with us and do better in Imola,” said Schumacher.