Australian GP: Charles Leclerc takes dominant win as Max Verstappen suffers another Red Bull DNF

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Leclerc extends early-season title lead to a healthy 34 points; Sergio Perez second but finished 20 seconds behind winner; George Russell completed the podium for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton fourth

Last Updated: 10/04/22 7:38am


Max Verstappen retires after engine issues causes him to pull off the track at the Australian GP.

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Max Verstappen retires after engine issues causes him to pull off the track at the Australian GP.

Max Verstappen retires after engine issues causes him to pull off the track at the Australian GP.

Charles Leclerc took an impressive runaway victory for Ferrari at the Australian GP, as race and championship rival Max Verstappen suffered another disastrous retirement with a Red Bull issue in Melbourne.

Verstappen, who also had a reliability DNF at the Bahrain season-opener, was running second when he was told to stop his Red Bull with 18 laps remaining, as smoke then poured from his engine as he exited the car.

But the world champion still wouldn’t have been a match for Leclerc, who was utterly dominant on Sunday and has now extended his early-season title lead to a healthy 34 points.

Leclerc led from pole and was rarely troubled – minus a Verstappen attempt following a second Safety Car restart – with Ferrari utterly dominant with their pace.

“The car was incredible today,” said Leclerc, who put the cherry on top of his display with a last-lap fastest lap to give him the maximum 26 points.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen battle for the lead on the safety car restart of the Australian GP.

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Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen battle for the lead on the safety car restart of the Australian GP.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen battle for the lead on the safety car restart of the Australian GP.

Sergio Perez was second in the other Red Bull after managing to overtake both Mercedes cars, although finished 20 seconds off Leclerc.

George Russell completed the podium for Mercedes and is now Leclerc’s closest challenger in the championship, with a frustrated Lewis Hamilton fourth.

More to follow.

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