Australian Grand Prix: Can Charles Leclerc maintain title lead in Melbourne?

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc has a get and a next put from the two races this period

World Championship chief Charles Leclerc believes his Ferrari group will be at a downside in comparison with rivals Red Bull at the Australian Grand Prix.

Melbourne’s Albert Park track has been modified for Formula 1’s return to Australia for the initially time in two decades and is now significantly quicker than it employed to be.

“Overall the observe features below are not fitting extremely nicely with our [car], but almost everything is to enjoy for,” Leclerc claimed.

“I nonetheless assume we will be in the mix – it will however be pretty close.”

Leclerc has a acquire and a second location from the two races so much this season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and prospects the drivers’ championship by 12 factors from Ferrari group-mate Carlos Sainz, with Pink Bull’s Max Verstappen a additional eight factors guiding.

So far, the Red Bull has appeared to have an advantage on the straights as opposed with the Ferrari, so Leclerc and Sainz imagine the modifications to Albert Park – which involve getting rid of a chicane and widening some of the remaining corners – will favour Crimson Bull.

Leclerc has tried out the new structure in the Ferrari simulator and claimed it is “a lot, a lot faster”.

“I believe the previous a single would have suited us far better,” Leclerc said. “But it is the way it is and we will attempt to maximise all the things as usually and ideally Imola [host of the next race] will be a observe that fits us a tiny bit better.

“It is not like it is heading to be a big gap. If we do the ideal position, every thing is feasible.”

Sainz claimed: “Our vehicle has been robust in all the circuits we have been to so far, but it is true in Jeddah with more straight-line [speed] the Crimson Bull seemed like the much better vehicle, and the far better harmony in terms of top speed and corner pace. So, presented how very long the straights have turn into below, probably they are a little bit a lot more up for it. But I feel we can nonetheless do a superior task.”

Both races so considerably in 2022 have highlighted near battles among Leclerc and Verstappen in which the DRS overtaking aid performed a large aspect.

Leclerc managed to fend off the earth winner in Bahrain ahead of Verstappen’s retirement, but in Jeddah the Red Bull’s straight-line speed advantage compared with the large range of DRS zones inevitably compensated and Verstappen was in a position to make a pass adhere a couple laps from the end.

In each races, Leclerc played tactically with the DRS detection points to be certain he was behind at important elements of the keep track of and could advantage from the subsequent overtaking zone to repass Verstappen.

He said he anticipated very similar methods to be essential in Australia on Sunday.

“We have seen in the previous two races this system with DRS and I am petty guaranteed we will see it even additional here, due to the fact fundamentally all the straights have a DRS zone so overtaking will be a point and clever racing can make a large big difference here,” Leclerc claimed.

Are the observe adjustments beneficial?

This will be the initial time F1 has raced in Melbourne given that 2019. The activity flew to Australia for the start of the 2020 time, but the weekend was abandoned right before a automobile had been operate as the pandemic took keep throughout the globe.

Australian Grand Prix organisers and F1 determined to make the modifications to Albert Park due to the fact the keep track of experienced produced a popularity as one where by it was challenging to overtake.

But Haas driver Kevin Magnussen explained he was not certain that the changes to the Melbourne circuit would have much impact.

The most significant improve is the removal of a chicane about midway all around the monitor – the former Turns 8 and 9. This creates a long, curving, flat-out portion from Transform Six to the 155mph still left-correct at what are now Turns Nine and 10.

Magnussen said: “When I noticed the layout on this track, [I thought] that maybe some of it was above the leading.

“Taking away Turns Nine and 10, I really don’t assume they needed to do that but they have built a big effort to make the show superior. It’s a fantastic matter for the monitor to try out to do their most effective to enhance racing and let us see how it goes in the race.”

Magnussen reported he imagined the keep track of would be “a tiny little bit superior” for overtaking, but questioned the benefit of the choice to clear away the chicane.

Magnussen claimed he was also sceptical as to irrespective of whether the development for increasing the selection of DRS zones on tracks was positive for F1.

“There are diverse thoughts of what is actually good racing,” the Dane explained. “Far too-effortless overtaking can be negative as very well. It puts every person in their proper situation in terms of speed.

“It really is a harmony. Some tracks have the suitable stability to have some racing but also some possibility to protect. If you can’t protect, if you get overtaken if you are just a very little bit slower, that’s not a very good point.”

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