Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix News
The Australian Grand Prix will continue to be held in Melbourne until 2035 after the race organisers signed a new 10-year agreement, Formula One announced on Thursday.
Melbourne was back on the calendar this year after missing out in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions.
Leclerc blew away his rivals at Australian Grand Prix at a revamped Albert Park, starting from pole and taking the chequered flag by more than 20 seconds from Red Bull's Sergio Perez.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said they were leaving Melbourne in a better state than when they arrived with "more lessons learned, more data to analyse and more points on the board".
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is 34 points ahead of Mercedes' George Russell in the standings and 46 ahead of Red Bull's Verstappen.
Lewis Hamilton said his Mercedes was driving "like a rattlesnake" but the Briton tamed his car on Saturday to qualify fifth for the Australian Grand Prix in a much-improved performance.
Verstappen, who won in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, said he had struggled with car problems since arriving in Melbourne for the third race of the campaign.
It is a second pole of the year for Leclerc after the season-opening race in Bahrain, where he went on to win.
Formula 1 2022: McLaren's Norris tops scrappy third and final practice ahead of Sunday's Australian GP
In a session in which Sebastian Vettel slammed into a wall, Britain's Lando Norris posted a blistering one minute 19.117 seconds around Melbourne's Albert Park, 0.132 ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.
The four-time world champion jumped on a scooter to make his way back to the paddock after abandoning his broken down Aston Martin, which had smoke belching from the rear, in the first practice session at Albert Park.
Leclerc had a time of 1 minute, 18.978 seconds on the revamped Albert Park layout, with Verstappen .245 seconds behind. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who led after the first practice session, was third-fastest.
The four-time world champion jumped on a scooter to make his way back to the paddock — in violation of the rules — after abandoning his broken-down Aston Martin.
The Spaniard powered round a revamped Albert Park circuit under clear skies with a best time of one minute 19.806 seconds among his 24 laps, largely on soft tyres.
Formula 1 2022: ‘Got several piercings that I really can’t take out’, Hamilton reacts to no-jewellery rule
The ruling was included in the event notes for this week's Australian Grand Prix issued by new FIA race director Niels Wittich. It is not a new regulation, but reportedly follows some drivers being spotted wearing jewellery while in their cars.
F1 drivers are preparing for a new Albert Park layout at the Australian Grand Prix — they won't drive on the redesigned, resurfaced circuit until Friday’s two practice sessions ahead of qualifying Saturday
Formula 1 2022: Covid-free Sebastian Vettel keen to start season, says feeling resembles 'arriving late to school'
Germany's four-time world champion was ruled out of the Bahrain and Saudi Arabia grand prix last month with coronavirus.
Qatar has also signed a 10-year deal to host Formula One from 2023.
Organisers planned to stage the races in October and November, but have hit roadblocks over Australia's requirement for overseas arrivals to undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
Formula 1: FIA planning to postpone Australian, Chinese Grands Prix due to COVID-19 pandemic, say reports
The Italian circuit of Imola, which returned last year as the calendar was hastily rearranged in the face of the pandemic, is expected to fill China's slot, AFP learned on Monday, confirming information from several specialised media.
Australian race, the traditional season curtain-raiser, was called off last year just hours before the first practice session after a McLaren team member tested positive, with drivers scrambling to leave the country.