Apr 01, 2023 at 3:40 PMUpdate: 6 minutes ago
The Australian Grand Prix is one of only three races on the current Formula 1 calendar that Max Verstappen has not yet won, but there is a very good chance that that will change on Sunday. The competition seemed to be close on Saturday, but the Red Bull driver is normally the favorite on Sunday.
The fact that the Dutchman had a hard time in qualifying had everything to do with the combination of tyres, cold weather and the asphalt of Albert Park. It was very difficult to warm up the tyres. Verstappen eventually succeeded, just like the Mercedes drivers. Ferrari missed the mark.
Nevertheless, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz should not be completely wiped out. There weren’t many long runs in the run-up to the race due to rain-soaked free practice, but Ferrari’s confidence in race pace is high.
What Mercedes can do is still a question mark, but the chance that at least Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin will pose a threat is high. And then the Ferraris will probably be added.
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Verstappen is on his own, but the surplus of speed in his Red Bull should be enough to keep the battles for the podium far away in his mirrors. After a difficult Saturday, Sergio Pérez starts from the last row. Verstappen does not expect to see the Mexican again on Sunday, and the Mercedes drivers also think that Pérez cannot move forward because overtaking is difficult in Melbourne.
Nyck de Vries hopes to be able to battle for the points from fifteenth place. AlphaTauri brought the necessary updates to Australia, and they seem to be having an effect. The point limit is therefore in sight.
Nyck de Vries. Photo: Getty Images
One stopper from medium to hard is most likely
Pirelli prescribes a one-stop strategy, with a start on the medium tires and a second stint on the hard tyre. The stop should then take place between lap 17 and lap 21. This strategy is also possible with a start on the soft tires. A third – less likely – option is a two-stop where all types of tires are used.
With Pérez starting from last place, Verstappen has a great opportunity to strengthen his leading position in the World Cup on Sunday. The Dutchman is currently one point ahead of his Mexican teammate.
The Australian Grand Prix is over 58 laps and starts on Sunday at 7 a.m. Dutch time.
Starting grid GP Australia
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) George Russell (Mercedes) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) Alexander Albon (Williams) Pierre Gasly (Alpine) Nico Hülkenberg (Haas) Esteban Ocon (Alpine) Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) Lando Norris (McLaren) Kevin Magnussen (Haas) Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri) Oscar Piastri (McLaren) Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) Logan Sargeant (Williams) Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) ) Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
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