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Ferrari celebrated a double win in Australia – without Sauber points

Ferrari celebrated a double win in Australia – without Sauber points

Ferrari celebrates first double win in two years Image: Keystone

Ferrari benefit from Max Verstappen's technical glitch and celebrate an unexpected double win in Australia. Carlos Sainz is enjoying a stunning comeback with his third Grand Prix win as he snaps Verstappen's winning streak.

In Australia, as of all places, the world has turned upside down – how fitting. Non-serial winner Max Verstappen, devastated by a blown brake, smiles from the podium at Melbourne's Albert Park as the winner. Carlos Sainz won his third race of the year, someone who can look back on moving weeks.

A roller coaster ride of emotions

The Spaniard, currently in his fourth season with Ferrari, knew he would have to leave the Scuderia at the end of the year. With the signing of record world champion Lewis Hamilton, it became clear at the start of February that the son of the two-time World Rally Champion of the same name would no longer have a place with the Reds from Maranello. A week ago, Ferrari announced that they had extended the contract of Sainz's teammate Charles Leclerc beyond the current season.

Despite all the dire signs, Sainz made people sit up with a strong performance at the season opener in Bahrain. The 29-year-old from Madrid was fierce in wheel-to-wheel duels with Leclerc, leaving Monaco and finishing third on the podium in Red Bull's double victory.

Almost a week later, the next shock came for last year's World Cup sixth-place finisher. Sines had to undergo surgery due to appendicitis and therefore missed the second race of the season in Saudi Arabia.

Unfounded suspicions

A race against time began for him towards the Australian Grand Prix. After seven days of bed rest, he began working toward his comeback. Treatment in a hyperbaric chamber also helped him. Before the flight Down Under, Sains thought his chances of racing two weeks after surgery were slim. “I thought it wasn't going to work.”

epa11240559 Carlos Sainz of Ferrari celebrates on the podium after winning the Australian Grand Prix 2024 at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia.  EPA/JOEL CARRETT AUSTRALIA AND N ...

Carlos Sainz is set to leave Ferrari at the end of the season.Image: Keystone

But he was wrong, how! Compared to his previous history, Sains' 58 laps at the Albert Park circuit were more relaxed. He had already overtaken Verstappen on lap 2 and had no problem managing his lead over Sainz's team-mate Leclerc when the Dutchman, who started from pole position, was forced to retire from the race after four laps with brake problems.

The duo produced a major surprise, giving Ferrari their first double win in almost two years. Behind him, Lando Norris in the McLaren won a battle for third place against local and team-mate Oscar Piastre.

“I love this rollercoaster ride. “Life is unbelievable sometimes,” Sainz said after his strong effort, which gave him his third Grand Prix win in Formula 1 after wins at Silverstone in 2022 and Singapore last year. With euphoria about a new “gut feeling.” He joked: “I recommend all drivers get their appendages removed in the winter.” Regarding Verstappen's defeat, he said: “It's a shame. It would have been a good fight between the two of us. But I'll take the win with me. He's already won enough.”

Verstappen has no new records

Verstappen, who still leads the championship standings by 51 points ahead of Leclerc (47) and team-mate Sergio Perez (46), could have equaled his record streak from the previous year with his tenth straight win on Sunday. But once again the route to Australia was his downfall – two years ago, when he last missed the mark. Even then, Ferrari dreamed of winning and Italy because, like this year, it was the third race of the season – and the Scuderia had already celebrated a double victory in Bahrain.

Mechanics work to put out a fire in Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands' car during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, March 2 ...

A technical problem is needed to slow Verstappen down.Image: Keystone

It is well known that the tide immediately turned in Red Bull's favour. Verstappen then finished in the points in all 43 races and won 35 times (!). Now Red Bull must bury the dream of a perfect season early. And what's more: with Ferrari you face a strong competitor, who was quick and consistent all weekend and, above all, very reliable.

Mercedes was bad last year in 2011 and now things are completely different at Mercedes. Silver Arrows did not finish any of their cars in Melbourne. While Lewis Hamilton retired with engine failure, George Russell retired shortly before the finish after a crash. Mercedes is still waiting for its first podium spot in 2024. It was 13 years ago that the former leader had such a meager balance sheet. Given current performance, Sainz is not too keen on taking over Hamilton's vacant seat in 2025.

Next episode of Saber at Pit Stop Theater

After a brief glimmer of hope in qualifying, Sauber left the weekend empty-handed at its third grand prix of the year. Valtteri Bottas and Joe Guanyu finished 14th and 15th respectively in Melbourne. Two direct contenders entered the top ten, with Nico Hulkenberg (9th) and Kevin Magnussen (10th) from Team Haas.

epa11240554 Joe Guanyu of KickSaber in action during the Australian Grand Prix 2024 at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia.  EPA/JOEL CARRETT Outside Australia and New Zealand

Sauber missed out on points in Australia.Image: Keystone

As it had earlier in the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the Zurich racing team couldn't get its pit stop woes under control in Australia. The problems with the wheel nuts are well known at Hinville, but have not yet been resolved. So Bottas again lost a lot of time when changing tires for the first time – and with it the chance of a calculated result. A 13th place finish on the grid and the improved performance of the car would have given him a lot of potential.

His teammate Zhou Guanyu is unlucky. Starting from the pit lane and making steady progress, the Chinese stopped for a long time when his car's engine failed during the second pit stop.


All the drivers of the current Formula 1 season and their records


All the drivers of the current Formula 1 season and their records

Red Bull: Max Verstappen (26): Netherlands, 3 times world champion, 185 races, 54 wins, 98 podiums. As of: March 1, 2024.

Source: Keystone / Darko Bandik

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