Sainz wins in Australia as brake issue costs Verstappen

Carlos Sainz returns from appendix surgery to secure Ferrari's first win of 2024

55 SAINZ Carlos (spa), Scuderia Ferrari SF-24, action during the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2024, 3rd round of the 2024 Formula One World Championship from March 22 to 24, 2024 on the Albert Park Circuit, in Melbourne, Australia - Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Carlos Sainz made a winning return from appendix surgery as he secured victory at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The Ferrari driver’s victory came after a brake issue cost Max Verstappen early on, leaving Sainz to take the win ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc, with McLaren’s Lando Norris completing the top three.

Verstappen made a bright start from pole as he looked to continue his perfect start to the season, but he soon came under pressure from Sainz, who used DRS to move ahead of the Red Bull.

Shortly after the overtake, Verstappen started to report issues with the rear end of his car, while smoke could be seen coming from the right rear.

The smoke got worse over the next few corners, with Verstappen reporting a brake fire. As he brought the car into the pit lane, flames could be see pouring from the tyre, with marshals quickly showering the car with fire extinguisher as he brought it back to the Red Bull pit box to retire from the race.

Most of the front runners made early pitstops, but Sainz, Norris and Perez all stayed at longer, while Fernando Alonso climbed up the order having started on hard tyres.

Lewis Hamilton became the second driver the retire from the race when he reported an engine failure. He managed to pull over to the side of the track, but a virtual safety car was needed while the stricken Mercedes was pushed to safety, allowing Alonso to make his pitstop while the race was neutralised.

Sauber has issues during their pitstops, with the team struggling with a wheel nut problem, resulting in long stops for both of their drivers.

In Verstappen’s absence, Sergio Perez tried to pick up places, but the Mexican didn’t have the pace to catch the McLarens.

There was late drama as George Russell ran wide and collided with the barrier, leaving his Mercedes stuck on its side on the final lap, meaning the race finished under the virtual safety car.

Russell’s crash meant both Haas drivers picked up points, while Leclerc set the fastest lap of the day late on to secure the bonus point.

Provisional classification:

1 Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

3. Lando Norris (McLaren)

4. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

6. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

7. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

8. Yuki Tsunoda (VCARB)

9. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

11. Alex Albon (Williams)

12. Daniel Ricciardo (VCARB)

13. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

14. Valtteri Bottas (Sauber)

15. Guanyu Zhou (Sauber)

16. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)


George Russell (Mercedes)

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Max Verstappen (Red Bull)


Logan Sargeant (Williams)

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