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Australian GP: Carlos Sainz Outguns Ferrari Teammate Charles Leclerc In 1st Melbourne Apply


Carlos Sainz ruthlessly outpaced Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc and world champion Max Verstappen to clock the quickest time in opening observe on the Australian Grand Prix on Friday. The Spaniard powered spherical a revamped Albert Park circuit below clear skies with a greatest time of 1 minute 19.806 seconds amongst his 24 laps, largely on smooth tyres. Early championship chief Leclerc, who received the season-opening race in Bahrain, was half a second slower on 1:20.377, fractionally forward of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Verstappen was fourth, 0.82secs off Sainz.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was seventh as his gradual begin to the season with Mercedes continued, greater than a second behind Sainz.

Haas driver Mick Schumacher, who had a spectacular crash in Jeddah, was slowest, whereas four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel’s return to motion after lacking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia with Covid went badly fallacious.

After setting some respectable instances, the German jumped out of his Aston Martin with 14 minutes left as smoke billowed from the again.

“Forget it, it’s gone,” he mentioned on the radio because the pink flags got here out and he grabbed a fireplace extinguisher to cope with the issue.

Sainz, who was second in Bahrain and third in Saudi Arabia, demonstrated pace and management on the parkland circuit, which has seen vital modifications this yr to make it sooner, with extra overtaking alternatives.

Valtteri Bottas in an Alfa Romeo was first out and set the maiden lap time of the new-look Melbourne circuit, clocking 1:26.761.

But Verstappen quickly powered clear with a 1:21.625 forward of McLaren’s Lando Norris — who completed fifth-fastest — and Leclerc.

There was some early aggro with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll on the workforce radio complaining “Hamilton impeded me”, with replays displaying the British driver transferring slowly on the racing line.

The observe was briefly stopped when some bodywork flew off Perez’s automobile, quickly after Verstappen clocked 1:20.909 to enhance his benefit.

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Verstappen was nonetheless main on the half-way mark earlier than Leclerc pipped him, then Sainz put in two scintillating laps.

It was an eventful observe with Fernando Alonso spinning his Alpine, and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Leclerc each hitting the gravel earlier than catastrophe struck Vettel.

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