Sainz wins F1 Australian GP after Verstappen retires early

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Ferrari team celebrates the race win of Carlos Sainz, front center, of Spain, and second-placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco following the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday. (AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia, March (AP): Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz ended Red Bull’s Formula 1 winning streak Sunday when the Spaniard took advantage of Max Verstappen’s early retirement to win the Australian Grand Prix just two weeks after missing the previous race in Saudi Arabia due to an emergency appendectomy.

Sainz, who started on the front row alongside Verstappen, kept his place into turn one but passed the Dutchman on lap two at turn nine for the lead and took control once his rival retired two laps later with a fiery mechanical failure.
Verstappen had won the first two F1 races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and was on a nine-race winning streak.

Sainz finished ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc for Ferrari’s first 1-2 result since the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, with McLaren’s Lando Norris finishing in third for his first podium at Albert Park.
His teammate, Australian Oscar Piastri, was fourth.

Sainz, who will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari in 2025, was thrilled to get his third career win against the odds, his first since last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.
“I felt really good out there,” he said. “Of course, (I felt) a bit stiff, especially physically. It wasn’t the easiest, but I was lucky that I was more or less on my own so I could just manage my pace, manage the tires, manage everything.

“Life sometimes is crazy, you know. What happened at the beginning of the year, then the podium in Bahrain, the appendix, the comeback, the win, it’s a roller coaster. But I loved it.”
Leclerc, on the podium for the second straight race, was encouraged by Ferrari’s pace, and its ability to take the fight to rival Red Bull during its period of dominance.

“We knew that pole position and the race win was possible because we had very good tire degradation, very good pace,” he said. “That is a very encouraging sign. However, if you look at the first three races, two out of the first three races, they (Red Bull) had the upper hand in the race, so we still have a lot of work to do.”

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