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Are Verstappen's F1 title hopes already fading?

Formula 1’s return to Australia looked set to offer the latest chapter in the early fight between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen for supremacy in 2022.

Watch: Are Verstappen's F1 Title Hopes Already Fading?

Yet instead it was a race that saw the momentum swing firmly in Leclerc and Ferrari’s direction as Verstappen suffered his second DNF in three races following another fuel system issue.

Leclerc may have been out of reach for outright pace, yet Red Bull was still left licking the wounds of more dropped points, with Verstappen now trailing by 46 points at the top of the standings. Leclerc is 34 points clear of MercedesGeorge Russell, who is a surprising second place in the championship after three races.

It has left Red Bull not only pondering what fixes it needs to implement and resolve the recurring issues, having only reached the chequered flag on three out of six occasions this year, but also what impact the early losses could have on its title hopes.

In the latest edition of Autosport’s Paddock Packdown series, Luke Smith reports direct from Albert Park with all the latest updates from Red Bull, and considers whether Verstappen’s hopes of defending his title are already fading.

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