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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Formula 1 Round 3: The 2024 Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1 Round 3: The 2024 Australian Grand Prix

Publish Date: 03/22/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Max Verstappen drives the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 during practice in the 2023 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia

Formula 1 is back Down Under for the Australian Grand Prix this weekend! If you’re eager to stay in the loop, look no further as weโ€™ve got all you need to know, right here on The Grueling Truth โ€“ your ultimate guide for any F1 race weekend ahead packed with stats, betting tips, strategy insights, and more cool stuff.

Already missed the first two practice sessions? Don’t sweat it! Let’s catch up on what’s coming up next for qualifying and the thrilling Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Here are some fun facts to get you pumped:

  • The Australian Grand Prix has been around since 1996, but its roots trace back to the first race in Adelaide in 1985.
  • The track spans 5.278km, with a lap record of 1m 20.235s set by Sergio Perez in 2023.
  • Lewis Hamilton holds the record for the most pole positions (8), while Michael Schumacher boasts the most wins (4).
  • Did you know? In 2002, nearly a third of the field retired on the first lap due to a dramatic collision triggered by Ralf Schumacher’s car flying over Rubens Barrichello’s Ferrari.
  • Keep an eye out for those DRS zones โ€“ there are now four of them!

I absolutely love the circuit. It’s a really good one for the drivers to find a rhythm. And Iโ€™m sure It’s a very atmospheric circuit to drive as well. But when it comes to strategy and set-up, Albert Park presents its own challenges:

  • Being a temporary circuit, expect bumps along the way.
  • With four DRS zones, overtaking can be strategic, especially after Turn 6.
  • It’s tough to react to unexpected events, so drivers need to stay on their toes.

Now, let’s talk current form:

Max Verstappen kicked off his latest defense of the F1 title in impressive fashion, clinching victory in both the Bahrain season opener and the following dominant performance in Saudi Arabia, where Red Bull secured a 100% one-two record.

With such strong showings, their rivals find themselves playing catch-up in the championship standings as the F1 circus heads to Australia. However, with a record-breaking 24-round campaign ahead, there’s ample opportunity for the competition to close the gap.

Ferrari has emerged as a potential upsetter, with Charles Leclerc notably qualifying on the front row in Sakhir and challenging the Red Bulls on the grid in Jeddah. The Scuderia’s podium finishes in both events underscore their growing competitiveness.

At this weekendโ€™s Australian Grand Prix, Leclerc continued to impress, setting the pace in Friday’s second practice session, signaling optimism within the team for their performance compared to earlier race weekends.

Potential Woes:

However, the weekend wasn’t without its challenges for all drivers. Verstappen faced setbacks with damage sustained during practice sessions, leading to delays and a less-than-ideal start to the Grand Prix weekend. Similarly, Lewis Hamilton struggled during second practice, expressing dissatisfaction with his performance and highlighting concerns about confidence in his Mercedes W15.

With Mercedes yet to fully grasp F1’s latest ground effect ruleset and facing stiff competition from Red Bull and Ferrari, team principal Toto Wolff acknowledged the frustrating situation for the Silver Arrows as they strive to regain their winning form.

Disaster at Williams:

Logan Sargeant found himself facing one of the toughest moments in his career when Williams asked him to relinquish his car for the remainder of the Australian Grand Prix weekend. This decision came after Alex Albon’s crash during Free Practice 1, which left the chassis too damaged for further use.

Despite Sargeant’s solid performance during the opening practice sessions, Team Principal James Vowles explained that the competitive midfield landscape prompted the pragmatic choice to hand the car to Albon, who had been instrumental in scoring points for the team in the previous season. Sargeant expressed the difficulty of accepting this decision, emphasizing the emotional challenge of stepping aside in favor of his teammate.

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