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Racing Down Under: A Recap of the Australian Grand Prix

The drivers have finally made their way down under to the natural wonders of Australia. The third race of the season provided lots of excitement and action for the average F1 fan.

The action-packed weekend began on Friday during the first free practice session of the weekend. Tragedy struck for Alex Albon when he crashed his car into the barriers at the Albert Park Circuit. Albon lost control on turn six and crashed the car entering turn seven, which resulted in the destruction of the chassis. Since Williams was not prepared for the worst, Logan Sargeant had to sacrifice his car and allow Albon to drive his car for the rest of the weekend. Williams’ team principal, James Vowles, believed that this was the best solution for the team during this race weekend.

Albon admitted that Sargeant showed a true commitment to the team and was a team player since this type of decision was not easy to make.

"Logan has always been a consummate professional and a team player from day one, and this won't be an easy one for him to take,” said Albon.

During the qualifying it was no surprise that for the third time in a row this F1 season, Max Verstappen qualified in first place. The unexpected was Carlos Sainz qualifying for second after receiving appendicitis surgery 12 days prior to the Australian Grand Prix. Closing out the final three was the other Red Bull driver Sergio “Checo” Pérez. 

Courtesy of Qian Jun/MB Media

At last, race day had begun, and Verstappen seemed to have a good pace ahead of Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris. During the second lap, the drag reduction system (DRS) was enabled which allows the driver to open their rear wing in order to reduce drag and increase speed which helps with overtaking.  It was at this time that Sainz was able to overtake Verstappen and become the race leader. While Sainz was leading the race, it was during the fifth lap that Verstappen let his team know that his right rear brake caught on fire. The fire ultimately led to Verstappen retiring from the race, making it his first retirement since the Australian Grand Prix in 2022. Later on, during the 17th lap Lewis Hamilton began to experience engine failure resulting in his inability to continue the race.

Sainz had control for the rest of the race and remained the leader up until the beginning of the last lap. It seemed like déjá vu as George Russell lost control during turn six at the circuit and ran into barriers. Having the same fate as Albon, the race had to end under a virtual safety car due to Russell’s car laid out in the middle of the track.

Courtesy of Getty Images/Joe Portlock

In the end, the Ferrari drivers were left standing in the first two steps of the podium due to a Ferrari first and second brought in by Sainz and Leclerc with Norris finishing off the top three spots of the podium. Seeing as it is Sainz’s last season with Ferrari, fans can only hope that this will not be the last time they see the pair on the podium together.

Courtesy of Kym Illman/Getty Images

Edited by: Kendall Merriett

Social Content Created by: Callista Carreiro

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