Verstappen’s Fiery Exit as Sainz Clinches Sensational Win

Carlos Sainz achieved an astonishing triumph, marking his third victory in Formula 1, while Max Verstappen’s 43-lap streak concluded dramatically with a fiery exit at the Australian Grand Prix.

Just a short while ago, Sainz underwent an appendix operation, sidelining him from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Despite not being in peak condition, Sainz returned to the track, witnessing the impressive debut of 18-year-old Oliver Bearman.

However, Sainz, feeling less than 100% fit, courageously reclaimed his position behind the wheel of his Ferrari. Despite the physical discomfort caused by extreme G-forces, the Spaniard persevered and clinched the checkered flag.

Starting from second place on the grid, Sainz swiftly seized the lead from Verstappen on lap two.

Verstappen’s race took a disastrous turn as he encountered an unusual right-rear brake issue, igniting a fire as he headed to the pits at the end of lap three, leading to his first retirement since the Melbourne race two years prior.

Sainz, aware of his impending departure from Ferrari at the end of the season, cruised to victory, leading a Ferrari one-two finish alongside Charles Leclerc, a feat not achieved since the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Lando Norris and local favorite Oscar Piastri secured third and fourth place respectively, with Sergio Perez finishing fifth, marking Red Bull’s lowest points accumulation since the Sakhir race two years prior.

The race concluded dramatically with Mercedes’ George Russell crashing on the final lap while pursuing Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, resulting in a virtual safety car deployment.

The race commenced smoothly for Verstappen, who adeptly maintained his position at the front, fending off Sainz. Behind them, Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton made progress, with Russell overtaking Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for sixth place and Hamilton passing Fernando Alonso for tenth.

Notably, Hamilton started on soft tires, contrary to Alonso’s choice of hard tires, a decision Hamilton later regretted.

Verstappen’s race began to unravel as Sainz effortlessly overtook him with the assistance of DRS. Verstappen soon reported concerns about the handling of his car, with smoke emerging from the rear, indicating a problem with the right-rear wheel.

Forced to slow down, Verstappen limped into the pits, where a fire erupted from the damaged brake shroud, prompting his retirement. With Verstappen out of contention, Sainz extended his lead over Norris.

Hamilton’s strategy of starting on soft tires backfired, leading to an early pit stop for hard tires after six laps. Russell followed suit two laps later, along with Leclerc and Piastri. However, Norris and Perez opted for a later pit stop, resulting in Norris losing track positions.

Hamilton’s woes continued as he retired due to an engine failure, triggering a virtual safety car period. Alonso capitalized on the opportunity to switch to medium tires, gaining fifth place.

The remainder of the race proceeded without major incidents, with Sainz maintaining a comfortable lead over Leclerc. Despite tire degradation concerns, Sainz and Leclerc pitted again, with Sainz retaining his lead.

The race concluded with Sainz securing victory, followed by Leclerc, Norris, Piastri, Perez, and Alonso. Russell’s last-lap crash allowed Lance Stroll to claim a seventh place, followed by Yuki Tsunoda and a double-points finish for Haas with Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen in ninth and tenth respectively.