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Podium: Race winner Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
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Analysis

Why Sainz could have won F1's Australian GP even in a Verstappen head-to-head

The early retirement of Max Verstappen from the Australian Grand Prix left the way clear for Carlos Sainz to lead home a Ferrari 1-2. While it can never be proved for certain, Sainz and Charles Leclerc both believed that the Ferrari's long run strength proven in practice would have been enough to see off even a healthy Red Bull

“When I was about to catch the flight to come to Australia, I was still in bed,” reflected Carlos Sainz, on his recovery from appendicitis that ruled him out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “I could barely use my abdominal [muscles] to move. And I was like, this is not going to happen. But I took the flight, and suddenly when I landed in Australia, the feeling was a lot better…”

A little over two weeks after going under the knife in Jeddah, Sainz was busy trying not to be too disappointed about having missed out on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix. A couple of miniscule mistakes, allied to a turnaround in Max Verstappen’s pace as Red Bull initially struggled for performance at the Albert Park venue, proved to be the difference between the two positions on the front row.

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