Sainz Breaks Verstappen's Win Streak for Second Time, Claims Victory in Australian Grand Prix

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Sainz Wins Australian GP, Verstappen Crashes EarlyKym Illman - Getty Images

The Australian Grand Prix was anyone's to win on Sunday after the biggest competition was sidelined. Max Verstappen suffered a right rear brake failure on his way to retiring early from the third race of the 2024 Formula 1 season.

Verstappen would record a 19th-place finish as the first to retire since Logan Sargeant did not have a car to drive in this weekend's race.

Problems were persistent for the Dutch driver from the start, and Carlos Sainz, who qualified second, was able to capitalize and overtake him on the second lap of the GP.

With clean air, the race was in Sainz's control, which was a reprieve for the Spanish driver who had just undergone appendix-removal surgery 16 days prior to the race. Sainz was clearly still uncomfortable during the race weekend but was able to gut it out for a second-place qualifying result that put him in the ultimate position to benefit from Red Bull's early failure. This was Sainz's second podium of the season.

On lap 17, Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes W15 suffered a power-unit failure, and the seven-time champion was the second to retire from the GP.

Sainz has now been the driver to end a Verstappen win streak twice. Last season, Verstappen had a record-breaking 10-race win streak before Sainz's second career victory at Singapore. He had just worked back to 10 in a row when Sainz won again in Australia.

Going into the 2025 season, Sainz is without a seat, and he is driving his SF-24 like every race is an audition because, with so many falling puzzle pieces going into next year, it is.

After the race, he joked that this win would help in his job search.

Sainz qualified and finished on the podium in both race weekends that he participated in (fully), finishing third in Bahrain behind a Red Bull one-two.

Sainz entered the final lap with a three-second lead and felt he had to fight to maintain it when the yellow flag was waved and the virtual safety car deployed.

While battling Fernando Alonso for sixth, George Russell hit the wall, and his car was left scattered across the race track on its side with the driver stuck inside. Russell was gaining on the slower Aston Martin when Alonso slowed down, entering turns 6/7. The driver was okay and able to exit the vehicle on his own once the cars had safely passed.

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George Russell exits crashed car after the conclusion of Australian Grand Prix.PAUL CROCK - Getty Images

In a panic, Russell begged on his radio for a Red Flag to be thrown so he could safely exit the track.

After the race, Alonso was hit with a 20-second penalty, moving him from sixth to eighth.

Sainz was chased by his teammate Charles Leclerc for the majority of the Grand Prix. If Leclerc could've made a pass on his teammate, he would've left the race weekend as the Championship points leader three rounds into the season. Both drivers were on different tire strategies and it was clear from around the middle of the race that Sainz had the car and position to beat.

After the race Leclerc was asked if he thought a better qualifying position would've put him in the same position as his teammate.

"I'm not going to answer that because the end result is the end result," Leclerc told Sky Sports. "And it is for a reason. That is my fault if I hadn't been good enough yesterday.

The car was feeling good but it is true also to say that today I didn't find the feeling I was expecting to feel back from Friday. I'll be looking at it because from Saturday, I lost a little bit of the feeling overall, and I struggled a little bit more."

The two Ferriari's were followed by the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. This was Norris's 14th podium, and with this, he extended his record for podiums earned before a first Grand Prix win. Piastri's fourth place was his second in a row and his best at his home track, an improvement on eighth last year.

When one Red Bull is struggling, the second is supposed to continue the battle, but due to a three-place grid penalty at the start of the race, Sergio Perez started in sixth and made little progress, finishing in fifth.

Lance Stroll was upgraded from seventh to sixth place after his Aston Martin teammate's 20-second penalty. Followed by Racing Bull's Yuki Tsunoda, who gained a much-needed six points for Red Bull's secondary team.

Haas had a great showing for the struggling team, with both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen collecting points with their 9-10 finishes.

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