The Australian F1 GP, and third round of the season, is back this weekend after the pandemic forced it out of the calendar for two consecutive years. Its iconic Albert Park Circuit is set to bear witness to a very equal and uncertain battle. To make the complex and challenging layout even more exciting for the new-era F1 vehicles, this has been fully remodelled for the occasion.
So far, La Scuderia appears as the most solid team of the two, with an outstanding car and two very consistent drivers, both of which have not left the podium since the start of the campaign. For this reason, the Prancing Horse leads the team standings with 78 points, 40 more than Mercedes & 41 over Red Bull.
We’re back down under this weekend! 🇦🇺
Returning to Albert Park, Melbourne – for the first time since 2019 – there have been plenty of circuit changes for the #Fit4F1 drivers to get to grips with! 🏁https://t.co/o8RLutvpb6#F1 #AusGP #Formula1 #Pirelli #Pirelli150 pic.twitter.com/5KImdIezX6
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) April 4, 2022
The question is, Will the Italians be able to maintain their current level throughout the year? This would require a consistency that they haven’t traditionally displayed. In addition, and contrary to Red Bull and Mercedes’ plans, Ferrari is not releasing any important updates to their cars for the Australian GP.
At an individual level, the young Monegasque leads the standings with 12 points over his Spanish teammate and 20 over Verstappen is definitely showing the best version of himself. His performances have been mature and faultless.
As for his Spanish teammate, his only challenge now is to defeat his own partner, something he has been unable to do so far this year. If he doesn’t, La Scuderia could relegate him to the role of second driver, and push him out of the title bid.
Ride onboard with us for a lap around Albert Park! 🤩
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 4, 2022
Red Bull: On the hunt for Ferrari
After their double retirement in the opening race in Sakhir, the Austrian team hit back at the Italians in Saudi Arabia. Verstappen’s much-needed victory, one of the narrowest of his team in recent times (half a second), came after an intense and passionate duel. The Dutchman will try and ride the wave of his good luck and claim the top of the podium in Melbourne for the first time.
The success of the Dutchman together with the podium of his teammate Checo Pérez in Jeddah has made Red Bull optimistic again. As for the Mexican, he has experienced a great leap forward in his performance.
It was only the fateful appearance of the safety car that prevented him from fighting for glory last week and the day before, he managed to claim an extraordinary pole before the incredulous eyes of his Dutch partner.
The team of the energy drink is therefore back in the game. and Checo Pérez is in a similar situation to that of Sainz in Ferrari. During the coming appointments, he has to demonstrate that he is a serious contender for the title, otherwise, he will become the underling of Verstappen.
Not everything is rosy at the Milton Keynes’ squad, however, solving the excessive weight issues of their RB18 caqr has Christian Horner’s team working against the clock.
Mercedes: From bad to worst
The Germans don’t seem to be able to get back on the road to success, after having dominated the sport continuously since 2014. Burdened by their porpoising problems, they are currently behind Red Bull and Ferrari.
Especially worrying is the situation of Lewis Hamilton. The driver from Stevenage finished in a surprisingly disappointing 10 place in Saudi Arabia after having started in 15 for missing out on Q2. Something unheard of for the Briton.
Nobody expected a newcomer like his teammate George Russell, fifth in Saudia Arabia, to adapt much better to the flaws of the new Silver Arrow than the seven-time champion. A priori, nothing suggests that they will be able to turn things around for the Australian F1 GP.
They are, however, releasing some updates which are intended to alleviate the insidious porpoising, something their rivals have already managed to do. “To whom it may concern”: Ex Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas claimed the win at the last Australian F1 GP in 2019.
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 7, 2022
Images of Australian F1 GP: F1.com