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Red Bull tension watch as Alonso targets magic number three - what to expect at the Australian GP

Red Bull tension watch as Alonso targets magic number three - what to expect at the Australian GP

F1 News

Red Bull tension watch as Alonso targets magic number three - what to expect at the Australian GP

Red Bull tension watch as Alonso targets magic number three - what to expect at the Australian GP

F1 returns to Australia with Red Bull in the ascendency following two dominant performances in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Max Verstappen heads team-mate Sergio Perez by a single point after the Mexican took honours at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit two weeks ago.

With rivals racing to try and close the gap to the RB19, GPFans takes a look at what to expect from the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull trouble to ease?

Red Bull may well be dominant but the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix made clear that not all is rosy for the championship-leading constructor.

A driveshaft failure in qualifying left Verstappen 15th on the grid and the Dutchman raised eyebrows when levelling criticism at his team in the aftermath of the event.

Underlying tension between Verstappen and Perez was born again after the two-time champion stole the fastest lap bonus point on the final lap despite instructions to hit a target delta.

With Red Bull likely to again comfortably secure victory this weekend, all eyes will be on the dynamic between the team and two drivers. Will the return to Albert Park play out smoothly?

Aston Martin and Alonso aim for magic number three

Fernando Alonso has insisted Aston Martin has its feet firmly on the ground ahead of the trip to Australia, but the reality is that his form behind the AMR23 makes a third podium in as many races more than likely.

The team was comfortably faster than Ferrari in Jeddah whilst Alonso ensured the Mercedes could not get close to him after Lance Stroll retired from the race.

Alonso was scintillating for Alpine here last season before a hydraulics failure put paid to his chances of a front-row start, do not be surprised if he is again best of the rest behind the Red Bull duo.

Mercedes positive but results will have to wait

The sounds from Mercedes regarding upgrade performance for the W14 at the team's Brackley base are encouraging, but that won't help in Australia.

Instead, the best the team can hope for is a similar battle to the one it had with Aston Martin last time out. Whilst its customer team remains ahead, George Russell was in striking distance of Fernando Alonso for much of the race.

The other good news for Mercedes is that Ferrari has, at least for now, fallen back off the pace over a race distance, at least meaning one rival has been disposed of.

How different things will be this weekend remains to be seen, but it is hard to believe there will be smiles at the Silver Arrows come Sunday.

McLaren to bounce back

No one would have expected McLaren to be at the foot of the table after two races but the dismal start to the season was underlined by lap one misfortune in Saudi Arabia.

But positives must be taken from Oscar Piastri's qualifying performance to reach Q3 and with the Australian marking his first home race in F1, a wave of support should raise morale for the Woking-based outfit.

Points should be on the cards for McLaren to kickstart the season.

End to race start penalties

Two curious incidents in each of the first two races led to penalty chaos for Esteban Ocon and Alonso.

Both drivers were caught outside their grid boxes at the start, picking up a five-second penalty each which subsequently led to further controversy later in each race.

To combat the issue, grid boxes have been extended to help the drivers, who behind the wheel are unable to see the ground around their cars.

Fingers crossed this will solve the problem.

READ MORE: Australian GP chief reveals night race desire

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