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The second victory of the year arrived for Charles Leclerc, who dominated to win in front of Sergio Perez and George Russell. 

Title candidates Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz both failed to finish the race, creating a big turnaround and leaving Leclerc with a comfortable lead at the top of the championship. 

Charles Leclerc – 10

Leclerc is fully showcasing his talent in 2022 and offered another sublime performance, taking home a grand slam. He led every single lap, after Saturday’s pole position, and never looked at risk if not for a sloppy second safety-car restart. 

The Monegasque, this time, had even stronger machinery to his disposal and his race pace was much quicker than everyone else’s. 

The championship, after just three races, is solidly in his hands, with Verstappen’s and Sainz’s retirements meaning that his closest rival is George Russell, 34 points behind. It is the biggest lead for a Ferrari driver in more than nine years. 

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Sergio Perez – 8

For Perez it wasn’t a flawless performance, but it can be said that luck partially paid him back after the misfortunes of Saudi Arabia. 

It is brilliant to see the Mexican close to matching Verstappen in 2022, something he couldn’t do regularly the previous season. After narrowly missing out in qualifying, however, he had another one of his poor starts and lost the chance to fight the front duo. 

He had to overtake a Mercedes driver three times and did so well, earning the most number of points he could have hoped for this weekend. This finally means that he is in front of Verstappen in the championship for the first time since the two share teams. 

George Russell – 8.5

First podium in Mercedes colours and second place in the championship. A very positive weekend for Russell, who is demonstrating that he is a proper match for Lewis Hamilton. 

He lost out on qualifying to Hamilton by a tenth, and chased him during the first stint, in which he moved past Lando Norris for P5. 

A safety car was deployed as he was yet to box, donating him a chance to move as high as P3. A stoic defence on Perez failed, but Verstappen’s retirement promoted him to a podium place after driving well to the end. 

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Lewis Hamilton – 8

After going from years of domination to a series of starts from further back, the only good thing is that this is making Hamilton’s qualities stand out. 

He picked himself up after an awful weekend in Saudi Arabia, claiming P5 in qualifying and having a super start that put him in P3. He looked like a good match for Perez, but was unlucky when the safety car allowed his team mate to move in front. 

In the second-half of the race he only had to take the car home, having to settle in fourth, but more due to bad luck than to anything he did wrong. 

Lando Norris – 8.5

McLaren partially resurged in Australia and Norris pulled a surprising P4 on Saturday, with an excellent lap. With the car apparently more suited to the Australian track, Norris returned to fighting for the positions he was used to last year. 

A poor start denied him a possibility to fend off the two Mercedes cars, who still appeared much quicker on Sunday. All he had to do was clear the progressive traffic that hurdled his way to P5, doing so whilst limiting the threat from his teammate behind. 

At the end, it was a smooth performance and he collected 10 points that helped his team up to fourth position in the standings. 

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Daniel Ricciardo – 8

And so they come. His first points of the season were well-deserved, with Ricciardo finally proving to be a match for Norris and delivering a top 10 performance for the entire weekend. 

Despite scoring only four times at this track, which is known to offer some bad luck to its home heroes, the Honey Badger was determined to score his first points. 

He did so by qualifying and running in P7 for most of the race, following Norris to the flag in a McLaren parade. 

Esteban Ocon – 7

Australia was not his brightest performance, but even so, Ocon continued his streak of top seven finishes since the season started. 

Fernando Alonso, his teammate, looked quicker, but Ocon still managed eighth in qualifying and chased Ricciardo for most of the race. 

The competitiveness of the car is helping his cause, but for the Frenchman it was a trouble-free performance. Scoring six points despite not being at his best, is something he will be happy about. 

Valtteri Bottas – 7.5

He lost his impressive record of 103 consecutive Q3 appearances, as his Alfa Romeo only managed 12th on Saturday, still with a big margin in front of teammate Guanyu Zhou. 

Valtteri Bottas remained in P12 in the early laps, but jumped a couple of places with a stop under the safety car. As he tried to clear the slower Lance Stroll, he was pushed off and lost the place to Pierre Gasly. 

Thanks to a mistake from the Alpha Tauri driver, he could return in P8, which is a promising result for his team, who looked a bit slower than they were in the opening two rounds. 

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Pierre Gasly – 6.5

With a car not at its best, Gasly wasn’t able to offer his typical standout performances. He still managed a decent P11 in qualifying and featured at the back of the top 10 for the first stint. 

The safety car proved penalising, as he stopped before, and dropped to 14th. However, he made up places with retirements and other cars stopping, only to make an unforced error which cost him the place to Bottas.  

Alex Albon – 9

A rating he shares with the team, who had the bravery to keep him out with a bold and brave strategy call. Albon spent 57 of the 58 laps on his starting hard tyre, stopping on the last lap to clinch an incredible P10 result. 

The race looked hard, when he was disqualified in qualifying for not having enough fuel at the end of the session, after managing to enter Q2. 

With the safety cars promoting him into the top 10, as he was yet to stop, the team saw the opportunity to attempt a different strategy. Albon was quick and nursed his tyres for what are the team’s first points of the season. 

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Guanyu Zhou – 5.5

The Chinese driver is demonstrating he can keep error-free and can compete regularly with other cars, but is yet to match his teammate Bottas.

He spent the majority of the race outside of the points and, despite trying to make his way up, he came one position short. 

Lance Stroll – 5

Even if, eventually, he finished 12th, Stroll was racing in P9 despite starting from 19th place, with his team opting to clear the medium tyres under a safety car, only to strategically go back on the hards. 

He even moved past Bottas at the restart, but it was a manoeuvre when defending on the Finn that cost him an attempt to score points, with five seconds due to be added as he weaved excessively on the straights. 

It could have been redemption, after being penalised in qualifying for crashing with Nicholas Latifi, as he failed to see his fellow countryman’s car in his mirrors.

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Mick Schumacher – 5

For the first time, Mick Schumacher finaly competed in front of Kevin Magnussen, who still suffered some problems. 

The Haas was nowhere near as quick as the opening two rounds and for Schumacher points were hard to get. He didn’t help his cause with a few mistakes that dropped him down the order and to a 13th place finish.

Kevin Magnussen – 5

After two great weekends, Magnussen moves down to earth and never appeared in contention for points, despite featuring in the top 10 when yet to stop. 

Having started on the hard tyres, the two safety cars penalised his strategy and, even if he was racing in P7 for some time, and defended well on the two McLarens, he couldn’t make up enough time after his pit stop. 

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Yuki Tsunoda – 5

Yuki Tsunoda lived another struggle, as he can’t seem to get the edge of teammate Gasly. 

He was also penalised by a pit stop just before the safety car, which dropped him to 16th, but from then on, he couldn’t make his way forward, unlike his teammate, who rescued two points despite being only a couple of places ahead. 

Nicholas Latifi – 4

Poor Nicholas Latifi’s woes continue, with another shunt in qualifying, due to a misunderstanding that led to a crash with Stroll. 

After starting from 18th, Latifi lost out in the early stages with an early pit stop that put him at the back, from where he couldn’t climb up any further. 

The biggest disappointment has to be that Albon’s sister car was quick and managed to snatch a point and, whilst Latifi might be happy to see there is potential, he will want to step up. 

Fernando Alonso – 7

Not quite everything that could have gone wrong this weekend for Alonso did, but the Spaniard proved rather unlucky, after showing some great pace all throughout.

He was fast in qualifying, but his gearbox broke whilst setting the fastest middle sector of the session and he was condemned to a 10th place start. 

Alonso opted to be one of few to start on the hard tyres and it proved costly when the two safety cars and a pit stop exit in traffic ruined his race. 

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Max Verstappen – 8

Verstappen was set to finish second best to his championship rival Leclerc, but like in Bahrain, he was forced to retire in the final stages. This proves costly and drops him to an enormous -46 in the standings. 

Verstappen isn’t quite as sharp as he looked in 2021, especially within his Red Bull garage, but was still salvaging 18 points, which would have been much better than 0. 

Another non-finish might also mean that the reliability woes could look rather worrying. 

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Sebastian Vettel – 4.5

Not the way in which Sebastian Vettel hoped to kickstart his season. After missing the opening rounds, the German had issues in free practice and his running was limited. 

A crash during third practice further limited his appearance on track, before finishing the race against the wall. 

Two spins in the race was clearly not what he hoped for, even if (somewhat) justified by a poor car and serious lack of running. 

Carlos Sainz – 4

Sainz was unlucky, but quite unusually, he entered a loop of mistakes after the unfortunate situation. A red flag in qualifying came at the worst moment, cancelling his first flying lap. 

He got it all wrong on his final attempt, which meant he started ninth, only to lose even more places with a poor getaway. He spun out early on when hurrying past a Haas, ending a streak of 31 consecutive finishes. 

The pressure is visibly mounting for Sainz, whose worst nightmares might soon turn true if he is forced to be number two within his team to aid Leclerc’s case. 

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July 2024