Charles Leclerc has extended his championship lead, winning the Australian Grand Prix, as Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen who entered the round second and third failed to finish.
Leclerc took the lead of the race into turn one, though it was Lewis Hamilton that made a strong start moving from fifth on the grid to third into Turn 1.
After dropping back early on, Carlos Sainz ran off track, getting stuck in the gravel trap bringing out the first safety car of the race.
Leclerc kept control of the race after the race restart, building a small lead over Verstappen while Hamilton in third held up Perez who would make the pass a few laps later, though he was just over 6 seconds off the lead.
The safety car made its second appearance for an incident that saw Fernando Alonso hit the wall on the exit of Turn 4 stopping on track.
The second restart of the race was close as Leclerc struggled to build a gap on Verstappen, who looked for a gap to take the lead early on. The red Bull driver stayed in second as Leclerc began to extend the gap back to second, through the second half of the lap.
Verstappen stopped off the side of the track on lap 40 with what appeared to be a mechanical issue forcing the retirement of the Red Bull car.
“We’re already miles behind, I don’t even want to think about the championship fight at the moment. I think it’s more important to finish races,” Verstappen said after the race.
The retirement moved Perez into second, and George Russel on the podium in third at the end of the race, while Leclerc crossed the line with a sizable 20-second lead.
The fourth round of the championship the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix takes place on April 22-24.
- Charles Leclerc
- Sergio Perez
- George Russell
- Lewis Hamilton
- Lando Norris
- Daniel Riccardo
- Estaban Ocon
- Valtteri bottas
- Pier Gasly
- Alex Albon
- Guanyu Zhou
- Lance Stroll
- Mick Schumacker
- Kevin Magnussen
- Yuki Tsunoda
- Nicholas Latifi
- Fernando Alonso
- Max Verstappen
- Sebastian Vettel
- Carlos Sainz