Teams' reaction after the Ferrari-dominated Australian Grand Prix

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The nail-biting Australian Grand Prix saw Scuderia Ferrari snatch their 86th one-two finish in Formula One with Carlos Sainz emerging on top, having delivered a sensational performance on his return after his recent surgery.


Ferrari could have hardly made a better job than what they have done at the Australian Grand Prix. Having just returned from his surgery, Carlos Sainz controlled the race from the start, taking his third grand prix victory. Although it was a tough race for the Spaniard phisically, it was his first dominant victory after the hard-fought wins that he secured in Silverstone (2022) and Singapore (2023).

At the other side of the garage, Charles Leclerc delivered a faultess performance, although his race was compromised by his start position that forced him to pit early. This strategy decision that was taken in order to undercut Lando Norris meant that he was forced to complete a very long middle stint. As a result, the Monegasque was unable to challenge his team-mate, but he showed his pace by setting the fastest race lap in Melbourne despite being on slightly older tyres than his direct rivals.

Carlos Sainz, 1st
"What a rollercoaster! I’m extremely happy! I felt good in the car right from lap 1 and after overtaking Max (Verstappen), when I was in free air, I started setting a strong pace that took me all the way to the finish line, bringing home the first win of the season. I’m also happy that George is OK after the heavy crash.

"The team deserves this one-two, we did a fantastic job all weekend, from FP1 to the last lap. We executed a perfect race, nailed the strategy and the mechanics were incredible delivering precise and quick pit stops every single time. Congratulations to everyone! Let’s carry this momentum to Japan! Vamos!"

Charles Leclerc, 2nd

"It was a really good weekend for the team. We maximised our points and left nothing on the table, bringing home a 1-2 finish and the fastest lap. Carlos did a solid job today. On my side, I had a good first stint and we managed to get ahead of Lando (Norris) during the pit stop. I struggled a bit with graining on my first set of hards and had a stronger pace on the last stint on the second set of hards, managing the gap to Lando.

"We’ve started out the season with three weekends in which we have made the most of our potential, which feels really good and is a testimony to all the hard work that our team has put in over the past months."


McLaren have scored their first podium of the season with Lando Norris finishing third behind the two Ferraris. Their MCL38 has been very consistent and quick all through the weekend with the Albert Park circuit's medium- and high-speed corners having favoured the car's strengths.

After Oscar Piastri elected to pit early for fresh hards, he was on the back foot compared to his team-mate. It was therefore no surprise that the team asked the Australian to swap position with Norris in order to let the Briton chase Charles Leclerc.

Lando Norris, 3rd
“Our first podium of the season! It was a very good day for us. P3, P4 and lots of points in the championship. I think our pace was strong today, but Ferrari and Carlos did a very good job, so hats off to them. They’ve been fast all weekend. The car felt good, and I could manage the tyres very well today, and that was a good step.

“It’s clear that this circuit suits us a little bit more, so we’ve been able to push and unlock a little bit of speed. But Ferrari and Red Bull are still one or two steps ahead of us, so we need to catch up. A big thanks to everyone in McLaren, they’ve been working incredibly hard. We’re getting closer to our target. I wasn’t expecting to be on the podium but it’s nice to be back, I’m very happy and proud of our team. Hopefully, we can have many more.”

Oscar Piastri, 4th
“P4. A good result for us. I think the pace was good the whole way through. I struggled a little bit on the first set of Hards, I just grained them a little bit and then had a little bit of a moment. I think it was a very good day in terms of points for the team. I don't think there was too much we could have done on my side, so yeah, I’m pretty happy. So close to a podium but it will come. Lando did a great job today getting the P3. All in all, a successful week at home.”

Red Bull

Red Bull have had a weird weekend. They appeared to be strong from the first laps onwards on Friday, but Ferrari looked closer to them than in the opening two rounds of the season. The Scuderia topped the second and third practice as well as the opening and the middle segment of qualifying before Verstappen secured pole position from Carlos Sainz.

In the race, the Dutchman led the way after the start, but Sainz overtook him on Lap 2 before he was forced to retire with a mechanical issue. It emerged that his brake had been stuck on since the lights went out, which led to a fire on the right rear corner of the RB20. Verstappen was forced to limp back to the pits with his car on fire for his first retirement in two years.

At the other side of the garage, Sergio Perez had a quiet race. The Mexican started only from P6 after receiving a three-place grid drop penalty for holding up Nico Hulkenberg in the opening qualifying session. Alongside a minor floor damage, the five-time race winner appeared to lack race speed and suffer from graining on his front tyres just as he did on Friday.

Max Verstappen, DNF

“It is unfortunate about what happened today, but we can see so far in the data that as soon as the lights went off the right rear brake just stuck on and locked. It was basically like driving with the hand brake on so, of course, the temperature just kept on increasing and then I could see smoke appear as it had caught fire.

"This at the time was very confusing as the car was really weird to drive in some corners. At turn three, I braked and lost the rear end of the car; it felt weird on the rear axel, then on turn six and seven it snapped on me. The Team will investigate and we will see if there are any answers but there are some things you can’t control. It’s a shame as the car felt really good in the laps to the grid, but you cannot control these issues and these things happen.

"Of course, I am disappointed we didn’t finish the race as we had a good shot at winning and the car has been improving throughout the weekend. We knew a day like could come at some point so we need to be proud that we have had a great run with nine races in a row and we can come back stronger for Suzuka.”

Sergio Perez, 5th
“I don’t think it was an ideal weekend for us, since Friday we had struggled quite a bit with the long run and we tried different solutions and compromises for Saturday but we couldn’t get a total handle on it. In the first stint the balance was super neutral, I didn’t have any rear grip and we completely destroyed the rear tyres and then the second stint I completely destroyed the front tyres.

"It wasn’t a nice balance out there, it was a bit of surviving mode with the degradation we had, and we didn’t match up to Ferrari or McLaren. The grid penalty also harmed us because without that we could have ended up a lot further up. I think today was track dependent, so hopefully when we go to Japan we are back on top.”


Mercedes continued their weird start to the season. The Brackley-based outfit showed flashes of great speed at various points of the weekend, but they were unable to deliver when it really mattered. They lacked one-lap speed in qualifying which meant that Hamilton and Russell qualified only 11th and 7th respectively.

During the 58-lap race, the seven-time world champion was forced to retire with a power unit issue on Lap 17 while Russell lacked race pace before enduring a huge crash in the closing stages of the race.

Lewis Hamilton, DNF
"My race was going OK up until the point we suffered the Power Unit failure. It’s quite tough to overtake here but we had gained some positions early on with the Soft tyre. It was unfortunate that we had to retire as there was still a long way to go. I was beginning to press on, but the Power Unit just stopped. These things happen and I know we will bounce back.

"We will also improve the car as the season goes on. We have done so in previous years, and I am confident we will do so again. It is tough that we are not as competitive as we would like at the moment, but we will keep working hard. I am focused on doing that with the team. In the short term, I expect we will still find it difficult to challenge further up but we will see what we can do in the medium term."

George Russell, DNF
"I’m OK after the accident fortunately. I don’t really know how to explain what happened. I was half-a-second behind Fernando (Alonso) 100 metres before the corner and then suddenly he came back towards me extremely quickly. It was clear that he braked earlier than he had done on previous laps and then got back on the throttle. I wasn’t expecting that, and it caught me by surprise. I hit the wall and had a dramatic few seconds after that.

"It was a disappointing end to a difficult race. Our pace wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We showed spells of good lap times but ultimately we’ve got work to do to catch those ahead. We will be focused on how we can make improvements ahead of Japan in two weeks’ time."

Aston Martin

Aston Martin endured a difficult qualifying, but they could capitalize on the misfortunes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to score twelve points in Australia. However, it was a rather difficult ride for the Silverstone-based outfit down under in Melbourne. While Lance Stroll sounded delighted after the race, Fernando Alonso had an eventful race.

The Spaniard was clearly the faster Aston Martin driver in the race, but he was hit with a twenty-second penalty for changing his driving style in an “extraordinary” way which led to George Russell's huge crash. As a result, the two-time world champion dropped down the order to P8 behind his team mate and RB racer Yuki Tsunoda.

Fernando Alonso, 8th
"We were a little lucky with the timing of the Virtual Safety Car when Lewis [Hamilton] retired. Then I was pretty happy sat behind Checo [Perez] because I could use the DRS to pull a gap. I lost a lot of time when Charles [Leclerc] came out from the pits – but those seconds we gained proved to be gold dust at the end.

"In the closing laps, George caught me quickly. I knew that he was coming, then he was in DRS range for five or six laps, so I was just doing qualifying laps to stay ahead. I wanted to maximise my exit speed from Turn Six to defend against him. That's what any racing driver would do, and I didn't feel it was dangerous. It's disappointing to get a penalty from the stewards for what was hard but fair racing. Still, I'm glad that George is okay. It was not nice to see his car in the middle of the track.

"This wasn’t the best weekend for us in terms of pace, but our race was well executed: good strategy, incredible pit-stops, great reliability. I think we probably scored more points today than our pace merited – but we'll take that."

Lance Stroll, 6th
"It was a solid race today and I'm pleased to pick up a few points. I had a strong start, gaining a couple of places on the first lap, and then settled into a good rhythm. As expected, managing the tyres was the biggest challenge due to the high degradation, but I looked after them well and the team did a good job with the race strategy. We still have some more pace to find in the car, but I think we leave Australia knowing we made the most of the package we have."

Visa Cash App RB

The Visa Cash App RB squad had a strong weekend in Australia. Yuki Tsunoda qualified 8th, beating the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Although he needed some misfortunes for Hamilton, Alonso, Max Verstappen and George Russell, he was able to capitalize on those incidents and went on to score a valuable haul of points for the Faenza-based outfit.

Home favourite Daniel Ricciardo looked strong in qualifying, but a track limits infringement meant that he was knocked out at the end of the first qualifying segment. Although he showed flashes of encouraging pace, especially during his last stint, he ended the race down in P12, five places behind his team-mate.

Daniel Ricciardo, 12th

"After last night, I let go of the frustration and put it aside coming into the race. I tried to get the most out of today and there were some good stints in there. A lot of drivers pitted early like me, but starting from the back of the grid, we had to try something. I think in the first stint on the hard compound I lost a little bit of time as the graining came up pretty soon with the VSC, but the second one was definitely more competitive.

"I was able to drive on a low 1:21 as a lap time before we got some blue flags, so there were certainly some good and encouraging moments throughout the race. Nevertheless, I think we’re still missing some things as sometimes I feel like and I’m not carrying enough speed in some corners. During the race, I marked some points that are good for gathering data and will help us continue understanding our car. Obviously, I would have loved to have a better weekend and start to the season, especially after the preparation I had coming into it.

"However, there’s no panic, we continue keeping our eyes on the prize and working together. I feel like the car itself has not really changed from last year, it’s an update but the characteristics are very similar. There’s some confidence in that and I don’t think we have to change everything, so we’ll find something in one of the next weekends to continue the positive performance trend.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 7th
“Finally, a top 10 finish, the team definitely deserves it, and I’m very happy! We were very consistent throughout this weekend and the car felt good straight away, so we just had to put it all together and have a clean race to score points in this tight midfield, and we were able to achieve that today. We didn’t make any mistakes and it’s important for the team and me to have that confidence going into the next races. To have a clean race sounds easy, but the last two races have been frustrating for us, so finishing P8 today, after a productive restructuring, was definitely deserved.

"The team did a fantastic job, and I can see the team is significantly improving every race. The difference in the car between the same time in Melbourne last year and this year is impressive. The amount of work we put into that car was massive and the work definitely paid off. To be honest, the race wasn’t so easy because other teams actually picked up their pace quite a bit, but I’m very happy we were able to maximise our performance and opportunity, and glad to hear that George is okay in the end. The whole weekend is a great way to go into Japan, especially with this result under the belt, and at least, I’m able to give some hope to the Japanese fans.

"I haven’t scored any F1 points at my home Grand Prix, but the car looks good, so let’s try again this year. I’ve been resetting myself every week and our car has been very consistent which is different compared to last year, so that’s a strength. For myself, I just learn from previous races and focus on what I can do better to help the team. Now it’s time for us to analyse, reset and push again in Japan!”


Having struggled with tyre wear all through last season, Haas have clearly made huge inroads in terms of tyre management for 2024. The American outfit finished in the points with both cars in Melbourne, capitalizing on the misfortunes for Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and George Russell.

The team's two drivers, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen sounded relieved and optimistic that they have a much better platform to build on in races this year after often having dropped down the order in races last year due to heavy tyre wear.

Nico Hulkenberg, 9th

“The first VSC helped me and I overtook a car at each of my stops at the pit exit and that really made my race today, that together with the VSC and our teamwork – so I’m really happy. Getting P9 and P10 with one top car crashing out and Verstappen having to retire, it’s still the case where if the top five teams finish, there’s not much left. I feel more encouraged today that the car felt better than in qualifying yesterday, which is different from last year, but it’s practical to have it this way around.”

Kevin Magnussen, 10th

“We got both cars in the points with great teamwork once again. The VSC didn’t help me, but on the flipside, it helped Nico so we could get him back into the battle and it’s fantastic to get three points here. It’s very encouraging and it’s a different way to go racing; last year we woke up on race day knowing it’s not going to be good. Today, I woke up knowing we would have a chance to fight, and it was true. We were stronger with our race pace than qualifying, and we just need to keep working in this direction.”


Williams have endured a very difficult weekend after Alexander Albon had suffered a heavy crash in Free Practice 1. The Thai driver lost control of his FW46 with the incident causing significant damage to the chassis of his car. The team decided to withdraw Logan Sargeant and hand over the Miami-born driver's car to Albon, believing that they have better chances to score points with the former Red Bull driver at the Albert Park circuit that usually becomes a festival of incidents and interruptions.

The team's decision looked justified during the race as Albon was set to score points before running out of tyres in the final part of the grand prix. In the meantime, the team has sent the Thai drivers' chassis back to Grove and it is hopeful that it can repair the damages it has sustained ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Alex Albon, 11th
"Our early pit stops were disguising our lack of race pace today; we tried to stay in the race by pitting early and getting back track position but ultimately the pace of our competitors was too strong. Every time I tried to match the pace with the cars around me, I would grain and when I could do my own race, I was three and a half tenths off the pace. We had a lot of graining and were fighting the car everywhere, so we need to have a good look at why. With three of the top teams retiring, it’s frustrating that we couldn’t capitalise on this and our rivals did, but it shows our pace wasn’t quick enough to still be sitting outside the points.

"It’s been a tough weekend for us at Williams but we’ve pulled through quite well and really come together as a team. Everyone at the track has really dug deep so I can only thank them for their hard work and dedication and of course to Logan for being a true team player. Truthfully, I’m quite happy with my performance considering the circumstances but we’re going to continue to rally as a team and hopefully come back fighting in Japan."


Alpine had a very difficult start to their season after realizing that they have slipped down to the bottom end of the pecking order. However, the team has shown some improvements over the Melbourne weekend. Esteban Ocon managed to get himself through into the second qualifying segment, but a tear-off got stuck in the rear brake duct of his car in the race which forced him to perform an extra stop.

The Enstone-based squad intends to introduce a few upgrades in the coming races which should help them to close the gap to their direct rivals, Haas, Kick Sauber, Williams and RB.

Esteban Ocon, 16th
“It was an unfortunate race today, as we had to make an extra stop to remove a tear-off stuck in the rear brake duct. Before the pit-stop I was running in a group with Alex [Albon] and Kevin [Magnussen], and in front of Nico [Hülkenberg]. Without that extra stop, we were probably in with a chance of scoring points looking at how the race unfolded.

"Today, and this weekend in general, the car felt a bit better and shows that we’re making some progress. We need to take it step-by-step and keep pushing ahead of Japan, which is a race I’m really looking forward to, as it’s one of my favourite tracks and the fans there make it extra special.”

Pierre Gasly, 13th
“There is no satisfaction to take from today’s result as finishing outside of the points is never where we intend to finish races. We made some progress, though, and we tried to maximise what we had and I’d say we did that today. I tried my best inside the car, it was a difficult race at times, but we stuck with it right to the end.

"We will all continue our collective hard work. We have some parts coming soon as we keep closing the gap to those ahead of us. It’s been a busy week in Australia and I already look forward to racing in Suzuka, one of my favourites on the Formula 1 calendar.”

Kick Sauber

Another promise and another disappointment! Kick Sauber had a fairly good qualifying with Valtteri Bottas while Zhou Guanyu was forced to start the race from the pit lane after reverting to an older specification front wing. However, the team encountered issues during the pit stop in the third consecutive race.

The Hinwil-based outfit has made precautionary tweaks to the hardware for this weekend, but they were unsure whether the modifications would be enough to overcome all the issues. While Bottas was held up in Bahrain and Zhou in Jeddah, it was the Finn's turn in Melbourne to face pit stop issues once again. The team lost a wheelnut that popped out of the gun and rolled into the fast lane and thus potentially into the path of other cars.

Valtteri Bottas, 14th
“It’s never great to see a good race come to nothing: it’s frustrating as, until the pit stop, things were going really well. We had a good start, most importantly we had strong pace and we should have got points. It’s obvious that we still have to work to solve the issues affecting us: what we have done so far has reduced the incidence a lot, but the risk is still there – as we have seen today. There’s an element of bad luck there, and there’s nothing the pit crew could have done differently, it’s a technical issue that needs to be solved.

"We can still find some positives – our performance is improving, we have made a step forward with the upgrades the team has brought and we should have been in the points. We were fighting with Fernando in the opening stages, and I believe P8 or P9 would have been within reach. We keep working hard: there will be more upgrades coming soon and I think we can make an even bigger step in Japan.”

Zhou Guanyu, 15th
"This weekend was a difficult one. Starting from the pit lane is always tricky, and being stuck in a DRS train made it difficult for me to overtake. There were some points up for grabs for the team today, but, unfortunately, we did not manage to be up there, fighting for them.

"During my second pit stop, I experienced an issue, outside of my control, related to my gearbox – when I called for the gear, the car stalled which cost me plenty of time. Overall, our race pace continued to look quite strong and competitive with the teams around us. It’s been a lost opportunity, but as a team, we’ll continue our work to bounce back in Suzuka.”