2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Highlights

2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Highlights

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Introduction

 

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz took the first non-Red Bull win of the season with an impressive display during the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, taking advantage of technical trouble for Max Verstappen in the opening laps that forced the reigning world champion to retire.

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Bidding for a record-equalling 10th victory in a row, Verstappen converted his pole position advantage as the race got underway but soon reported issues behind the wheel. A compromised second lap opened the door for Sainz to get a run on him and make a move for the lead.

From there, Verstappen’s brake-related woes got worse. With plumes of smoke exiting the rear of his RB20, he pulled off the racing line to let the rest of the field overtake him before returning to the pits and retiring for the first time in two years.

Sainz went from strength to strength in Verstappen’s absence, building up a solid lead over Lando Norris, teammate Charles Leclerc, and home favourite Oscar Piastri as the race developed. He eventually took the chequered flag for the third triumph of his F1 career.

Leclerc completed an undercut on Norris in the early stages of the race to rise to a net second and back up Sainz for Ferrari’s first one-two finish since the 2022 opener, but the Briton nonetheless recorded a breakthrough maiden podium of the season for himself and McLaren.

Piastri also jumped on Norris during the initial round of pit stops, only to be asked to move aside for his teammate and then lose some more time with an off-track excursion. This left him in a lonely fourth at the finish, followed by Sergio Perez’s Red Bull.

George Russell had been pushing to complete a late move on Fernando Alonso for sixth position when he dramatically crashed out at the high-speed Turn 6/7 complex, causing extensive damage to his Mercedes and bringing out a Virtual Safety Car to the finish.

The stewards later deemed that Alonso had played a “potentially dangerous” part in the incident, dropping the Spaniard from P6 to P8 with a post-race 20-second penalty. That decision moved teammate Lance Stroll up to sixth and RB’s Yuki Tsunoda to P7—giving RB their first reward of the campaign—as Haas took a welcome clutch of points with Nico Hulkenberg in ninth and Kevin Magnussen in 10th.

Williams’ decision to put Alex Albon in Logan Sargeant’s car did not entirely result in points. He took 11th, followed by the other home driver in action, RB’s Daniel Ricciardo, and Pierre Gasly’s Alpine, who was hit with a five-second penalty for a pit exit breach.

Kick Sauber endured yet more pit stop problems on their way to 14th and 15th with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, respectively. Esteban Ocon was the final finisher in the other Alpine after Verstappen’s early retirement, Russell’s late crash, and a mid-race engine issue for Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was watching from the Mercedes garage when teammate Russell crashed. The latter—whose car was pitched on its side in the middle of the track after the left front crumbled—quickly reported over the radio that he was “okay.”

With the drivers aware of Russell’s condition, the celebrations started down at Ferrari as Sainz revelled in his journey from a hospital bed to the top step of the podium in just two weeks – shouting his trademark “smooth operator” line as he headed for parc ferme.

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:

First of all, congratulations to Carlos Sainz and everyone at Ferrari for this one-two, which once again demonstrated that in such a competitive sport, where technology is pushed to the limit, one can never take anything for granted. I’ve got nothing against Max and Red Bull, but clearly, a new name on the list of winners, after two years of almost total dominance, is good for Formula 1 as a whole, as is the fact that just eleven points cover the top four drivers in the classification.

2024 Formula 1 Australian GP

As for the race, it showed that our decision to bring a trio of softer compounds here compared to last year was the right one. Today’s race was busier compared to recent years, with tyre management making the difference. For example, one of the keys to Sainz’s success was the ability to lengthen the first stint on the Mediums, which then gave him the edge over his closest pursuers, as the two sets of Hards he used in the second and third stints were fresher. Yes, Carlos could drive a good part of his first stint with a clear track ahead of him while his team-mate, for example, was in traffic, sandwiched between the two McLarens. All the same, Leclerc managed to overtake Norris precisely because he had stopped first and could better exploit the performance of new Hard tyres in the opening laps of his second stint.

2024 Formula 1 Australian GP

In general, graining was the weekend’s leitmotif, but it was not problematic in terms of tyre performance, and in the end, those who did the better job of managing them had the upper hand.

The day on the track:

All three compounds Pirelli chose for this Grand Prix were used on the starting grid: 14 drivers went for the Medium, three (Hamilton, Ricciardo and Zhou) opted for the Soft and two (Alonso and Hulkenberg) the Hard. As predicted, the most popular strategy was the two-stop, running Medium-Hard-Hard. Ocon was the only driver to make three stops, but that was forced on him by the need to make a very early first pit stop to remove a visor tear-off from a brake duct.

2024 Formula 1 Australian GP

After making the briefest of appearances in FP3, only for scrubbing-in purposes, the C3 was the most popular choice today, used for almost 80% of the race distance by the 19 drivers on track with this compound. Graining continued to be an essential factor, and, as expected, this phenomenon did not diminish even though it was much hotter than in previous days, and it was on a track that got increasingly rubbered in. Significant graining was also evident on the Hard, which was never used on the first two days, but nevertheless, it was manageable. Regarding stint length, George Russell’s second stint ran 37 laps on the C3, and Fernando Alonso did 24 on the C4.

What’s next?

Formula 1 is back in action in a fortnight when the Japanese Grand Prix takes place from 5 to 7 April at Suzuka. At the classic Honda-owned track, the trio of compounds will be the same as in Bahrain: the C1 as Hard, the C2 as Medium, and the C3 as Soft. To see the Formula 2 and Formula 3 cars back in action, one must wait until 17 – 19 May in Imola, on the same weekend as the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Race Results

PosNoDriverCountryTeamTimePointsOverall

1.55Carlos SainzSpainScuderia Ferrari1:20:26.8432540

2.16Charles LeclercMonacoScuderia Ferrari+2.366s1947

3.4Lando NorrisGreat BritainMclaren Racing+5.904s1527

4.81Oscar PiastriAustraliaMcLaren Racing+35.770s1228

5.11Sergio PerezMexicoRed Bull Racing +56.309s1046

6.18Lance StrollCanadaAston Martin F1 Team+93.222s89

7.22Yuki TsunodaJapanVisa Cash App F1 Team+95.601s66

8.14Fernando AlonsoSpainAston Martin F1 Team+100.992s416

9.27Nico HulkenbergGermanyHaas F1 Team+104.553s23

10.20Kevin MagnussenDenmarkHaas F1 Team+1 lap11

11.45Alexander AlbonThailandWilliams Racing+1 lap00

12.3Daniel RicciardoAustraliaVisa Cash App F1 Team+1 lap00

13.10Pierre GaslyFranceAlpine F1 Team+1 lap00

14.77Valtteri BottasFinlandKick Sauber F1 Team+1 lap00

15.24Zhou GuanyuChinaKick Sauber F1 Team+1 lap00

16.31Esteban OconFranceAlpine F1 Team+1 lap00

17.63George RussellGreat BritainMercedes-AMG PetronasDNF018

18.44Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainMercedes-AMG PetronasDNF08

19.1Max VerstappenNetherlandsRed Bull RacingDNF051

20.2Logan SargeantUSAWilliams RacingDNS00

2024 Constructor Standings

PosTeamPoints

1.Red Bull Racing97

2.Scuderia Ferrari93

3.McLaren Racing55

4.Mercedes-AMG Petronas26

5.Aston Martin F1 Team25

6.Visa Cash App F1 Team6

7.Haas F1 Team4

8.Kick Sauber F1 Team0

9.Williams Racing0

10.Alpine F1 Team0

Here are the team-by-team highlights:

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Being a determined voyager, travel blogger, hospitality expert and professional champagne sipper, Thomas uses his talents to delve into the challenging world of Formula 1 and provide unique insights about the circus.


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