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'Second-best F1 driver in the world doesn’t have 2025 seat' - GPFans Australian GP Hot Takes

'Second-best F1 driver in the world doesn’t have 2025 seat' - GPFans Australian GP Hot Takes

'Second-best F1 driver in the world doesn’t have 2025 seat' - GPFans Australian GP Hot Takes

'Second-best F1 driver in the world doesn’t have 2025 seat' - GPFans Australian GP Hot Takes

Carlos Sainz stormed to a stunning victory at the Australian Grand Prix, comfortably beating team-mate Charles Leclerc to win in Melbourne.

The Spaniard was helped by a mechanical issue on Max Verstappen's Red Bull which forced the three-time world champion to retire from the race, but a brilliant overtake on Verstappen by Sainz had put the Ferrari's nose in front even before that point.

READ MORE: F1 Results Today: Australian Grand Prix times – Ferrari DOMINATE amid Verstappen and Hamilton drama

Leclerc rounded off a great day for the Maranello-based team by bringing home a one-two, while McLaren's Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri finished third and fourth respectively, with the latter narrowly missing out on a home race podium.

Here are the GPFans team's takes on the main talking points from the third race of the season at the Albert Park Circuit.

GPFans journalists on the Australian Grand Prix

Stuart Hodge - Chief Editor

Only one man has beaten a Red Bull outright since back in the 2022 season. His name is Carlos Sainz and - time and again - the outcast Ferrari driver is proving himself to be the top challenger to Max Verstappen.

Carlos Sainz will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton in 2025

With Red Bull enduring a nightmare in Melbourne, it left the race open for the next best man to win. Once again, just as in Singapore last year, that man was Sainz.

READ MORE: Verstappen OUT of Australian Grand Prix after SHOCKING start

Charles Leclerc may be the single-lap livewire but it’s Carlos who delivers in terms of race pace. With veterans Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso probably past their best, and Lando Norris still to stand on the top step of the podium, there’s an easy case to be made that Sainz is the second-best driver in the world.

Not just that, but amid massive pressure over his F1 future and on the back of major medical surgery, once more the Spaniard showed the physical and mental fortitude to finish first.

Ronan Murphy - Social Media Editor

Finally, promising Sainz in the F1 title race. We have a World Drivers’ Championship battle on our hands!

Anyone who woke up early enough was well rewarded with a dramatic race from start to finish in Australia, as the track down under turned the WDC upside down.

All it took was a Max Verstappen retirement, but thankfully one Red Bull retiring didn’t mean a simple procession for Sergio Perez to win in his absence.

Instead with got a Ferrari-filled podium, plenty of Mercedes action and Lando Norris getting a date with the podium instead of a chicken shop.

Most importantly, we got a heroic comeback story from Sainz.

Carlos Sainz recovered from appendix surgery to win

How can anyone possibly sleep after all that excitement?

Dan Ripley - Deputy Chief Editor

Lewis Hamilton endured an utterly miserable Australian Grand Prix but once he gets over the frustration of one of his worst race weekends for Mercedes - he can reflect on how actually he is one of Sunday's big winners.

Hamilton retired early in Melbourne with an engine failure and looked utterly fed up afterwards with shortly-worded interviews as his hopes of an eighth world championship in 2024 go up in smoke thicker than that coming off the back of a faulty Verstappen right rear brake.

Lewis Hamilton had to retire from the race

READ MORE: Hamilton OUT of F1 Australian Grand Prix to cap off horror weekend

Yet, as he watches Mercedes slip further and further backwards down the grid, he must be deep down clenching his fist in delight at the prospect that he will soon be in a Ferrari, a team that are starting to get their ducks in a row in a bid to challenge Red Bull and Max Verstappen for the world championship. It looks like another well-timed career move for the Brit is in sight.

Shay Rogers - Lead Researcher

By Melbourne's standards, this installment of the Australian Grand Prix was an absolute cracker. From high-profile retirements to a different victor, fans couldn't have asked for more. The on-track action wasn't all it was made out to be though, with few battles and exciting overtakes.

The Pirelli enforced strategy battle helped to add the exact pizzazz required to generate an exciting fight upfront. But, if this race was a one-stop, I can guarantee it would have been labelled a snoozefest.

It only took three races for the quiet whispers that Red Bull may win every race in 2024 to fall silent - and if Ferrari continue a similar vein of form, there may be a few more victories coming their way.

Sam Cook - F1 Journalist

Do we have a title battle on our hands?

Common sense says no, but the top four drivers in the standings are only separated by 11 points, albeit with just three races gone.

Ferrari seemed to have the much better race package in Melbourne and, even without Verstappen's DNF, would have likely been able to win the race, particularly having two drivers right at the front as opposed to Red Bull's one with Perez starting down in sixth.

At the very least, this has proved that there are certain tracks that Ferrari will be a serious threat for race victories, now the question is how many. Carlos Sainz claimed one victory last season, and it turned out to be the only non-Red Bull victory of the campaign.

Shout out to Sainz for what was a stunning drive considering he had to sit out the last race due to appendix surgery, his stock certainly will have risen over the first three races of this season, and he is surely going to be driving a very fast car next season.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Newey 'one hour' from forming all-champion F1 line up


Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen Ferrari McLaren Carlos Sainz Charles Leclerc
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