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It’s hard to feel bad about a Ferrari victory.Maybe it’s the recency bias of the team’s almost perpetually shambolic race execution that makes the Scuderia seem like a loveable underdog.Maybe it’s the energy of Il Canto degli Italiani, the national anthem and the unofficial Formula 1 theme song in the early 2000s.Or maybe it’s because no matter which country F1 visits, a significant percentage of the audience will have shelled out for red merchandise.Every practice, qualifying session and race from the 2024 FIA Formula One World Championship™ LIVE in 4K. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial Today >Whatever the reason, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc’s one-two finish at the Australian Grand Prix was almost a universally agreeable result — unless you’re Max Verstappen of course. But, let’s be honest, he’s had a lot to celebrate in recent years.It’s the story Formula 1 needed after two grands prix of Red Bull Racing domination and months of off-track turmoil.And in front of a sold-out crowd of 132,106 people — adding up to a new four-day record of 452,055 — it was a timely reminder of the spectacle and vibe Australia can deliver as a season opener.SAINZ BEAT SURGERY TO DOMINATE ALBERT PARKCarlos Sainz’s third victory was his best yet.It’s not the first time he’s been the quickest Ferrari driver or won a race with a combination of pure pace and excellent race management.But it is the first time — and one can only hope the only time — that he’ll have won a race in such banged-up shape.It was barely a fortnight ago that Sainz was on the operating table having his appendix removed.He hadn’t trained in the two weeks before the Australian Grand Prix. He spent most of that time bedridden and recovering.He undertook only the most basic exercises to evaluate his ability to get in the car for practice after which he talked about the feeling of his organs moving around in his newly spacious abdominal cavity.And after practice, the entire weekend was essentially a step into the unknown.His performance was simply epic.“How nervous I was? I was confident about the first half of the race that I was going to be okay because it’s more or less the laps that I did on Friday,” he explained.“The second half of the race was a bit of an unknown.”Verstappen reacts after early retirement | 01:19His speed was his best friend on Sunday.“Once I got up in front and I had a gap, you can manage everything — you can manage yourself, you can manage the tyres, you have less pressure, you can choose your places where to push and not to push, and everything becomes a lot easier.“I’m not going to lie, the last five or 10 laps I was a bit stiff and tired, but nothing that was slowing me down too much.”There is a secondary context to all this — the one in which Sainz is out of contract but Ferrari’s better performer so far this season.The expected fluidity of the 2025 driver market appeared to be generating the bizarre situation in which Sainz could end up as the second choice for a lot of teams but the first choice of none.Performances like these — taking into account the entire weekend — will surely rectify that situation.“I think it’s not only the last two weeks,” he said of the meaningfulness of his Australian Grand Prix. “It’s the whole start to the year in general, how the year started with the news of the [contract] non-renewal.“Then you get yourself fit. You get yourself ready for the start of the season, pushing flat out.“Then you get to Bahrain. You do a good podium. You say, ‘Okay, now the season is starting well and I can keep the momentum going’.“Suddenly, boom, they’re missing a race in Jeddah and the operation. Long days in bed, not knowing if I was going to be back in time. Obviously a lot of unknowns. Am I going to be back fit? Am I going to be back feeling still good with the car?“And then suddenly you come back and win.“Life is a rollercoaster sometimes, but it can be really nice and good to you sometimes.“I’m just letting it sink in and enjoying the moment.”Russell FLIPS car in big final lap crash | 01:57RED BULL STRUCK BY MELBOURNE MADNESSMax Verstappen’s impressive 43-race finishing streak came to an explosive end in Melbourne.The last time he retired from a race? The Australian Grand Prix two years ago.You wouldn’t call it a curse, but Melbourne has a habit of generating curve balls for defending winners.From the last 11 editions of the race there have been 10 different winners. Sebastian Vettel is the only double victor, having defended his 2017 victory the following season.It’s therefore not so surprising that Melbourne should be the venue to trip up Verstappen again, having already had his turn on the top step.But it was more than just the failure. For the first time this season there was a genuine weak spot in Red Bull Racing’s game.Truthfully it was more operational than a matter of pure performance.It started with Verstappen breaking his floor on Friday, costing him track time on an unusual surface and circuit layout and with Pirelli’s super soft tyre selection.While Ferrari and McLaren arrived with cars already configured in their sweet spots, Red Bull Racing struggled to get into the zone from there, and despite Verstappen’s pole, the team was always half a step behind.“I think it’s a very front-limited circuit here,” team boss Christian Horner said, describing a characteristic track characteristic that has tended to neuter Red Bull Racing’s advantage in the last 12 months.“I think the nature of the surface as well, I think the tyre graining here in particular was something that Ferrari looked in control of. Certainly from Friday their long runs were good.“I think it was undeniable that Ferrari had been very, very strong this weekend.”Those problems meant Sergio Pérez, who started sixth with a penalty for impeding in qualifying, was unusually hamstrung in his quest for the podium, never mind victory.His day was made considerably harder when a visor tear-off lodged itself underneath his floor around halfway through the race.Horner said it cost the Mexican considerable downforce, leaving him unable to prevent his tyres from expiring at the end of his second two stints.None of this means that Red Bull Racing won’t return to its competitive best next time out in Japan.It does show, however, that there is at least one weakness, even if it’s small, that its rivals are capable of exploiting to close the gap.’Basically driving with a handbrake on!’ | 01:27ALONSO BRINGS ASTON INTO DISREPUTEAston Martin has had a patchy start to the 2024 season, but Fernando Alonso brought it into considerable disrepute in the closing stages of the Australian Grand Prix.The wily Spanish veteran was defending against George Russell to hold sixth place. The pursuing car had fresher tyres and was bearing down. No-one gets past Alonso easily, but the Mercedes driver had the momentum.It all went wrong on lap 57 of 58 on the entry to turn 6.“Alonso explained to the stewards that he intended to approach turn 6 differently, lifting earlier and with less speed into the corner to get a better exit,” the stewards document said.“Telemetry shows that Alonso lifted slightly more than 100 metres earlier than he ever had going into that corner during the race.“He also braked very slightly at a point that he did not usually brake (although the amount of brake was so slight that it was not the main reason for his car slowing) and he downshifted at a point he never usually downshifted.“He then upshifted again and accelerated to the corner before lifting again to make the corner.“Alonso explained that while his plan was to slow earlier, he got it slightly wrong and had to take extra steps to get back up to speed.“Nonetheless, this manoeuvre created a considerable and unusual closing speed between the cars.”Russell implied after the race that it was tantamount to brake testing, a grave racing sin.The evaporation of the gap between the two cars robbed Russell of front downforce and killed his momentum. He slithered off the track, hit the barriers and was tipped into the half-roll that caused the race to end behind the virtual safety car.Reviewing the data, the stewards ruled Alonso deserved to be penalised…

#Silver #lining #Dans #nightmare #Piastri #truth #spark #Aussie #rise #Talking #Pts

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