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What the teams said – Race day in Australia

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull

Ferrari

Sainz made a great start and put Verstappen under immediate pressure, breezing past on the second lap. From there he looked unstoppable, never in any real danger as he cruised to an incredibly impressive victory considering he was only two weeks past surgery to have his appendix removed. As for Leclerc, he pitted early to undercut Norris and although he briefly looked like he might try and challenge his team mate, on older tyres than Sainz he soon faded, seeming content to settle for second.

READ MORE: ‘Life is crazy sometimes’ – Sainz overjoyed after ‘rollercoaster’ ride from hospital bed to Australian GP victory

Carlos Sainz, 1st

"What a rollercoaster! I’m extremely happy! I felt good in the car right from lap 1 and after overtaking Max (Verstappen), when I was in free air, I started setting a strong pace that took me all the way to the finish line, bringing home the first win of the season. I’m also happy that George is OK after the heavy crash.

"The team deserves this one-two, we did a fantastic job all weekend, from FP1 to the last lap. We executed a perfect race, nailed the strategy and the mechanics were incredible delivering precise and quick pit stops every single time. Congratulations to everyone! Let’s carry this momentum to Japan! Vamos!"

Charles Leclerc, 2nd

"It was a really good weekend for the team. We maximised our points and left nothing on the table, bringing home a 1-2 finish and the fastest lap.

"Carlos did a solid job today. On my side, I had a good first stint and we managed to get ahead of Lando (Norris) during the pit stop. I struggled a bit with graining on my first set of hards and had a stronger pace on the last stint on the second set of hards, managing the gap to Lando.

"We’ve started out the season with three weekends in which we have made the most of our potential, which feels really good and is a testimony to all the hard work that our team has put in over the past months."

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"Today, I want to congratulate the whole team, because everyone did a perfect job and this one-two is the reward for the amazing work which began last season and is now ongoing both at the track and back in Maranello. Of course, Carlos deserves a special mention because a little over two weeks ago he was undergoing surgery. Now it’s as if that never happened and he managed to stay focussed throughout, to round off a sensational weekend.

"Charles also produced a solid performance because, after a less than perfect qualifying, he had to manage the tyres, but he was able to fight back thanks to the performance he got from the car. He did really well in the first and last stints and the fastest race lap he picked up right at the end confirms the progress we have made in terms of tyre management.

"We have been quick all weekend right from the first free practice and I think we have made a good step forward compared to where we were one year ago, when we left Melbourne having failed to score points. We were not disappointed with our results in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, nor are we getting carried away because of this one-two finish. We must continue with this approach in the coming races because that’s the only way we are going to get the results we want."

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Race winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari and Third placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren celebrate in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

McLaren

Norris ran second in the early stages, but was undercut by his own team mate who stopped early to cover off the threat of Russell. With Norris then behind on fresher tyres, the team opted to swap their two drivers. They looked like they might come back together late on, but Piastri made a costly mistake and ran wide by himself, buying his team mate a few valuable seconds and from there any chance of a podium was gone for the home star with Norris comfortable in third until the end.

Lando Norris, 3rd

“Our first podium of the season! It was a very good day for us. P3, P4 and lots of points in the championship. I think our pace was strong today, but Ferrari and Carlos did a very good job, so hats off to them. They’ve been fast all weekend. The car felt good, and I could manage the tyres very well today, and that was a good step.

“It’s clear that this circuit suits us a little bit more, so we’ve been able to push and unlock a little bit of speed. But Ferrari and Red Bull are still one or two steps ahead of us, so we need to catch up. A big thanks to everyone in McLaren, they’ve been working incredibly hard. We’re getting closer to our target. I wasn’t expecting to be on the podium but it’s nice to be back, I’m very happy and proud of our team. Hopefully, we can have many more.”

Oscar Piastri, 4th

“P4. A good result for us. I think the pace was good the whole way through. I struggled a little bit on the first set of Hards, I just grained them a little bit and then had a little bit of a moment. I think it was a very good day in terms of points for the team. I don't think there was too much we could have done on my side, so yeah, I’m pretty happy. So close to a podium but it will come. Lando did a great job today getting the P3. All in all, a successful week at home.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

“Our first podium of the season has come with a very strong performance here in Australia. Albert Park definitely seemed to suit the MCL38 but finishing P3 and P4 also required the team to do an amazing job delivering performance and reliability, while the drivers were excellent today in how they coped with the tyres.

“It is a big team effort, on both sides of the world. I would like to thank all the men and women at McLaren and HPP who have worked very hard so far to consolidate and continue the positive journey that we started in 2023. I hope the team at home, and our partners, enjoy this podium as much as the trackside team. We now look ahead to our next double header starting in Japan.”

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Race winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari, Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Third placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren celebrate on the podium duringthe F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Red Bull

Verstappen started from pole and led off the line – but he was overtaken on the second lap and seemed immediately to be struggling. It transpired his brake had been stuck on since the lights went out, and when smoke appeared the issue was clearly terminal. He limped back to the pits with his car on fire for his first retirement in two years. That left Perez to rescue something for his team, but that three-place grid drop proved really costly. Stuck in traffic, he had to fight back past Russell and Alonso, and lost too much time to try and catch up to the front runners.

READ MORE: Verstappen explains 'really weird' cause of early retirement from Australian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen, DNF

“It is unfortunate about what happened today, but we can see so far in the data that as soon as the lights went off the right rear brake just stuck on and locked. It was basically like driving with the hand brake on so, of course, the temperature just kept on increasing and then I could see smoke appear as it had caught fire. This at the time was very confusing as the car was really weird to drive in some corners. At turn three, I braked and lost the rear end of the car; it felt weird on the rear axel, then on turn six and seven it snapped on me. The Team will investigate and we will see if there are any answers but there are some things you can’t control. It’s a shame as the car felt really good in the laps to the grid, but you cannot control these issues and these things happen. Of course, I am disappointed we didn’t finish the race as we had a good shot at winning and the car has been improving throughout the weekend. We knew a day like could come at some point so we need to be proud that we have had a great run with nine races in a row and we can come back stronger for Suzuka.”

Sergio Perez, 5th

“I don’t think it was an ideal weekend for us, since Friday we had struggled quite a bit with the long run and we tried different solutions and compromises for Saturday but we couldn’t get a total handle on it. In the first stint the balance was super neutral, I didn’t have any rear grip and we completely destroyed the rear tyres and then the second stint I completely destroyed the front tyres. It wasn’t a nice balance out there, it was a bit of surviving mode with the degradation we had, and we didn’t match up to Ferrari or McLaren. The grid penalty also harmed us because without that we could have ended up a lot further up. I think today was track dependent, so hopefully when we go to Japan we are back on top.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Our first DNF since 2022 which coincidently was also here in Melbourne. It was not the race we were looking to run. Firstly with Max’s car it was obviously really disappointing to have that brake issue. I think actually from the start of the Grand Prix, it felt like the brakes were locked on which obviously created an issue as it is effectively like having the handbrake on throughout the race. And then with Checo, we picked up some floor damage, he lost quite a lot of downforce from the underside of the car and we just became hard on the tyre which is very unusual for us. So yeah, really frustrating to get our first DNF in two years, a lot to understand from that race but disappointing to be leaving here with just a bit less than usual. Huge respect for Carlos though, coming back from surgery and putting in a drive like that is remarkable. It was a great performance from him and Ferrari, they took their opportunity and got the result they deserved.”

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-24 and the rest of the field at the start of the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Mercedes

Mercedes suffered a very difficult day. A gamble to start Hamilton on the softs didn’t fully play out when the former world champion pulled off early on with an apparent PU failure. Russell tried an ambitious one-stop strategy, but switched to a more traditional two-stop late on. On fresh rubber he was chasing Alonso late on when he got too close to his rival, picked up some understeer and veered off through the gravel and into the barriers in a dramatic looking incident that left his car on its side on track on the very final lap.

READ MORE: Hamilton brands Melbourne weekend ‘a real struggle’ even before Lap 17 retirement

Lewis Hamilton, DNF

"My race was going OK up until the point we suffered the Power Unit failure. It’s quite tough to overtake here but we had gained some positions early on with the Soft tyre. It was unfortunate that we had to retire as there was still a long way to go. I was beginning to press on, but the Power Unit just stopped. These things happen and I know we will bounce back.

"We will also improve the car as the season goes on. We have done so in previous years, and I am confident we will do so again. It is tough that we are not as competitive as we would like at the moment, but we will keep working hard. I am focused on doing that with the team. In the short term, I expect we will still find it difficult to challenge further up but we will see what we can do in the medium term."

George Russell, DNF

"I’m OK after the accident fortunately. I don’t really know how to explain what happened. I was half-a-second behind Fernando (Alonso) 100 metres before the corner and then suddenly he came back towards me extremely quickly. It was clear that he braked earlier than he had done on previous laps and then got back on the throttle. I wasn’t expecting that, and it caught me by surprise. I hit the wall and had a dramatic few seconds after that.

"It was a disappointing end to a difficult race. Our pace wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We showed spells of good lap times but ultimately we’ve got work to do to catch those ahead. We will be focused on how we can make improvements ahead of Japan in two weeks’ time."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"That was a disappointing race to end a difficult weekend. After taking a brave decision to start on the Soft tyre, Lewis had made good progress initially. Unfortunately his race came to an end shortly after. We will send the Power Unit back to Brixworth and investigate what caused the failure. For George, it was clear that Alonso braked earlier than he had on previous laps. It is now with the stewards to determine what caused that. Nobody feels positive about where we find ourselves right now, but we are focused on turning this around. It is tough to take but we will remain calm and composed. We have seen others who have shown that when you get it right, things can turn around quickly. That is what we are aiming to do."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"That was a very disappointing end to a tough weekend, with a significant amount of accident damage to remedy ahead of Japan in two weeks’ time. We went into the race hoping to make progress forward from our grid positions: with Lewis, that involved starting on the Soft, which helped him gain positions on the opening lap, and George on the Medium. Lewis’s race was cut short by a sudden and unexpected Power Unit failure; we had no warning of it and will need to investigate further when the PU returns to Brixworth. For George, he knew he had to complete two long stints on the Hard and find the right balance between pushing the tyre and stretching out its life. It was clear that we were unable to fight with the three teams in front, and he was racing for P6 after Alonso had pitted under the VSC for Lewis’s retirement and gained track position. George had an opportunity to get the place back on the final stint and was clearly caught by surprise by the unexpected deceleration in front on the penultimate lap.

"It has been a bruising weekend for us, during which we were unable to compete on a single lap or the long runs, and we will be continuing to trawl through the data in the coming days, to see what isn’t working and why we are only currently able to deliver flashes of performance from the car. It’s clear that we have much to work on, to give both drivers a better tool to work with at the race weekends. We now need to get our heads down, work through the challenges one by one, and aim to deliver a stronger showing next time in Suzuka."

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes looks on from the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Stroll gained a position off the line at the start, and from there had a reasonably quiet race despite being surrounded by drama. The same couldn’t be said for his team mate, who climbed up the order after extending his first stint on the hard tyres. Running the mediums in the middle of the race, he made up ground and although he lost out to Perez, he was holding Russell at bay until the very final lap when the Mercedes behind crashed out. The stewards had a look at the incident, and handed Alonso a time penalty for potentially dangerous driving, which dropped him from sixth at the flag to eighth.

READ MORE: Alonso hit with post-race time penalty in Australia over ‘potentially dangerous’ driving before Russell crash

Fernando Alonso, 8th

"We were a little lucky with the timing of the Virtual Safety Car when Lewis [Hamilton] retired. Then I was pretty happy sat behind Checo [Perez] because I could use the DRS to pull a gap. I lost a lot of time when Charles [Leclerc] came out from the pits – but those seconds we gained proved to be gold dust at the end.

"In the closing laps, George caught me quickly. I knew that he was coming, then he was in DRS range for five or six laps, so I was just doing qualifying laps to stay ahead. I wanted to maximise my exit speed from Turn Six to defend against him. That's what any racing driver would do, and I didn't feel it was dangerous. It's disappointing to get a penalty from the stewards for what was hard but fair racing. Still, I'm glad that George is okay. It was not nice to see his car in the middle of the track.

"This wasn’t the best weekend for us in terms of pace, but our race was well executed: good strategy, incredible pit-stops, great reliability. I think we probably scored more points today than our pace merited – but we'll take that."

Lance Stroll, 6th

"It was a solid race today and I'm pleased to pick up a few points. I had a strong start, gaining a couple of places on the first lap, and then settled into a good rhythm. As expected, managing the tyres was the biggest challenge due to the high degradation, but I looked after them well and the team did a good job with the race strategy. We still have some more pace to find in the car, but I think we leave Australia knowing we made the most of the package we have."

Mike Krack, Team Principal

"A strong race in Albert Park today and we have scored 12 championship points. Full credit to both drivers, who converted our grid positions into points, making use of two very different tyre strategies.

"Lance has driven well all weekend and carried that form through to the chequered flag. Fernando's race benefited from the Virtual Safety Car – it was surprising to see him drop to P8 with the post-race penalty, but we have to accept the decision. This will not distract from a positive day. The calls from the pit wall were spot on and operationally the whole team has been excellent."

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

RB

Tsunoda lost a place off the line but was running there or thereabouts in the top 10 for much of the race. He kept his Grand Prix clean and tidy and was able to benefit when Russell crashed out to pick up eighth and some very valuable points - a result that became seventh when Alonso's post-race penalty was applied. Ricciardo started last on the grid and opted for the softs for a fast getaway. With high degradation, he pitted very early and was slightly out of sync with the rest. Like his team mate, he showed that the car has good pace – but he started too far back to capitalise and get closer to the points.

RACE START: Watch the getaway in Australia as Verstappen holds the lead before forced retirement

Daniel Ricciardo, 12th

"After last night, I let go of the frustration and put it aside coming into the race. I tried to get the most out of today and there were some good stints in there. A lot of drivers pitted early like me, but starting from the back of the grid, we had to try something. I think in the first stint on the hard compound I lost a little bit of time as the graining came up pretty soon with the VSC, but the second one was definitely more competitive. I was able to drive on a low 1:21 as a lap time before we got some blue flags, so there were certainly some good and encouraging moments throughout the race. Nevertheless, I think we’re still missing some things as sometimes I feel like and I’m not carrying enough speed in some corners. During the race, I marked some points that are good for gathering data and will help us continue understanding our car. Obviously, I would have loved to have a better weekend and start to the season, especially after the preparation I had coming into it. However, there’s no panic, we continue keeping our eyes on the prize and working together. I feel like the car itself has not really changed from last year, it’s an update but the characteristics are very similar. There’s some confidence in that and I don’t think we have to change everything, so we’ll find something in one of the next weekends to continue the positive performance trend.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 7th

“Finally, a top 10 finish, the team definitely deserves it, and I’m very happy! We were very consistent throughout this weekend and the car felt good straight away, so we just had to put it all together and have a clean race to score points in this tight midfield, and we were able to achieve that today. We didn’t make any mistakes and it’s important for the team and me to have that confidence going into the next races. To have a clean race sounds easy, but the last two races have been frustrating for us, so finishing P8 today, after a productive restructuring, was definitely deserved. The team did a fantastic job, and I can see the team is significantly improving every race. The difference in the car between the same time in Melbourne last year and this year is impressive. The amount of work we put into that car was massive and the work definitely paid off. To be honest, the race wasn’t so easy because other teams actually picked up their pace quite a bit, but I’m very happy we were able to maximise our performance and opportunity, and glad to hear that George is okay in the end. The whole weekend is a great way to go into Japan, especially with this result under the belt, and at least, I’m able to give some hope to the Japanese fans. I haven’t scored any F1 points at my home Grand Prix, but the car looks good, so let’s try again this year. I’ve been resetting myself every week and our car has been very consistent which is different compared to last year, so that’s a strength. For myself, I just learn from previous races and focus on what I can do better to help the team. Now it’s time for us to analyse, reset and push again in Japan!”

Jody Egginton, Technical Director

“After some frustrations in the first two GP’s, where we showed some positive signs but did not manage to put it all together, it’s very satisfying to have delivered a solid event here at Albert Park, with all of the hard work trackside, in Bicester and Faenza being rewarded with points today. Yuki has been strong all weekend here, finishing the job off with a very mature and confident drive in the race, which is very satisfying to see and something I am sure he is very happy about! Daniel’s weekend has been less straightforward, but credit to him. He has got his head down and worked very hard together with his engineers to get the car more towards his liking. Although the result does not show it, there are some good signs of progress, which I expect we can start to capitalise on in the next events, with the target of getting him into the fight at the sharp end of the mid-field battle as soon as possible. Looking at the first three events, overall, I feel we are building a solid understanding of our car and are looking forward to the next phase of the season. However, with the midfield being very tight, we will be focused on making each update count and executing weekends like this one to build on this solid result.”

Laurent Mekies, Team Principal

“It’s a very positive result for us today. Yuki executed a fast and well-controlled race to top the whole midfield group and got us our first points of the season. He did not put a foot wrong all weekend, and with calm and determination got faster session after session. Daniel’s pace was also strong, and we can only regret that we had to start from the back. He fought his way back to P12, and there were certainly points available today for him as well, had he started from a better position. The team performed very well all weekend and it was only by getting a near-perfect weekend that we could score points here, given how tight the mid-field is. So, a big well done to everyone in Faenza, in Bicester, and at Honda. We go to Japan with some good encouragement from the Australian round here, and we are very conscious of how hard we will need to push there to get again a very tiny edge onto the midfield.”

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Haas

Double points were scored on what turned out to be a very good day for Haas. Hulkenberg ran a long first stint on the hard tyres, which jumped him up the order as he was able to pit under the brief VSC. He was in a tight fight with Albon for P10, and was helped by the Williams man being unable to get past on fresher tyres when the Williams team tried to undercut the German. Magnussen showed the car had decent pace when he picked off Albon for P11, and was in the right place at the right time to inherit P10 and a point when Russell crashed out on the last lap.

Nico Hulkenberg, 9th

“The first VSC helped me and I overtook a car at each of my stops at the pit exit and that really made my race today, that together with the VSC and our teamwork – so I’m really happy. Getting P9 and P10 with one top car crashing out and Verstappen having to retire, it’s still the case where if the top five teams finish, there’s not much left. I feel more encouraged today that the car felt better than in qualifying yesterday, which is different from last year, but it’s practical to have it this way around.”

Kevin Magnussen, 10th

“We got both cars in the points with great teamwork once again. The VSC didn’t help me, but on the flipside, it helped Nico so we could get him back into the battle and it’s fantastic to get three points here. It’s very encouraging and it’s a different way to go racing; last year we woke up on race day knowing it’s not going to be good. Today, I woke up knowing we would have a chance to fight, and it was true. We were stronger with our race pace than qualifying, and we just need to keep working in this direction.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

“It was a great day with a double points finish, the first time since Austria 2022. Especially after yesterday’s qualifying, I said we expected to have better race pace – but to be able to get double points is better than expected – so it just goes to show that you need to be there. You need to do everything perfect to be able to pick up those last available positions. It wasn’t perfect today, so there’s some things that we need to improve, but overall, I’m so happy for the team. Both drivers drove a brilliant race, and the pit stop crew, when it was critical, they delivered, they got our drivers out in front of the competition. What a great team effort, I’m very happy.”

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari in the Pitlane during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Williams

In a race that saw three front running cars retire or crash out, the decision to run Albon not Sargeant seemed to be justified for Williams, especially when the Thai driver was running in the top 10. But he struggled on his tyres more than the Haas duo, pitting very early for his final stop. Coming out behind Hulkenberg, it was vital he get past to build a gap – and he was unable to do so, which cost him his chance of points, as he also lost out to Magnussen late on as well. Close but no cigar, on a day where two rival teams picked up vital points in Melbourne.

Alex Albon, 11th

"Our early pit stops were disguising our lack of race pace today; we tried to stay in the race by pitting early and getting back track position but ultimately the pace of our competitors was too strong. Every time I tried to match the pace with the cars around me, I would grain and when I could do my own race, I was three and a half tenths off the pace. We had a lot of graining and were fighting the car everywhere, so we need to have a good look at why. With three of the top teams retiring, it’s frustrating that we couldn’t capitalise on this and our rivals did, but it shows our pace wasn’t quick enough to still be sitting outside the points.

"It’s been a tough weekend for us at Williams but we’ve pulled through quite well and really come together as a team. Everyone at the track has really dug deep so I can only thank them for their hard work and dedication and of course to Logan for being a true team player. Truthfully, I’m quite happy with my performance considering the circumstances but we’re going to continue to rally as a team and hopefully come back fighting in Japan."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

"Having not done any meaningful high fuel running until today, we started the race on the backfoot. We knew that graining would be an issue, especially after the mandated tyre pressures were increased on Friday night, however, we didn’t do enough to mitigate the issue and this left Alex stuck between front graining and rear tyre degradation.

"The car wasn’t quick enough in race trim this weekend, which left Alex having to find the laptime by pushing the tyres, which accelerated the degradation and left us unable to fight with the cars that we should be able to race with. For this to coincide with a race with so many fast cars retiring is even more frustrating as there is no reason why, with more experience from Friday, we couldn’t have been fighting Yuki for P8.

"It has been a difficult weekend for obvious reasons and whilst the attitude throughout the team has been very impressive, we all leave Melbourne disappointed by today’s result. We will be in Japan in two weeks’ time, and we look forward to tackling the very different demands of the great track in Suzuka."

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW46 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Alpine

Not to be for Alpine, who had an eventful race down the order. Ocon was forced into an early stop with overheating brakes caused by a tear off, and thus had to pit three times in the end. Gasly meanwhile was on a more traditional two-stop strategy, but was handed a five-second time penalty for crossing the line on pit exit – the same offense he committed and was reprimanded for in qualifying.

Esteban Ocon, 16th

“It was an unfortunate race today, as we had to make an extra stop to remove a tear-off stuck in the rear brake duct. Before the pit-stop I was running in a group with Alex [Albon] and Kevin [Magnussen], and in front of Nico [Hülkenberg]. Without that extra stop, we were probably in with a chance of scoring points looking at how the race unfolded. Today, and this weekend in general, the car felt a bit better and shows that we’re making some progress. We need to take it step-by-step and keep pushing ahead of Japan, which is a race I’m really looking forward to, as it’s one of my favourite tracks and the fans there make it extra special.”

Pierre Gasly, 13th

“There is no satisfaction to take from today’s result as finishing outside of the points is never where we intend to finish races. We made some progress, though, and we tried to maximise what we had and I’d say we did that today. I tried my best inside the car, it was a difficult race at times, but we stuck with it right to the end. We will all continue our collective hard work. We have some parts coming soon as we keep closing the gap to those ahead of us. It’s been a busy week in Australia and I already look forward to racing in Suzuka, one of my favourites on the Formula 1 calendar.”

Bruno Famin, Team Principal

“While we did not score points in today’s race, we are making progressive steps forwards. There are many areas we must improve – and will improve – as it was far from a clean race for both cars today. That said, we probably maximised the result with what we could control. We must keep closing the gap to our rivals by chipping away in improving across all areas. Both drivers continue to work collaboratively with the team, so credit to them again for their very good efforts. The next race is Japan where we intend to continue showing progress.”

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Alpine F1 A524 Renault on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Kick Sauber

Once again, any chance Kick Sauber had of climbing through the field was marred by pit stop woes. They suffered two very slow stops, one for each driver and to make matters worse, a wheel nut was seen bouncing across the pit lane after one of Bottas’ stops, which the stewards investigated. Until they can find a fix for their pit stop problems, the team will be on the back foot at every Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas, 14th

“It’s never great to see a good race come to nothing: it’s frustrating as, until the pit stop, things were going really well. We had a good start, most importantly we had strong pace and we should have got points. It’s obvious that we still have to work to solve the issues affecting us: what we have done so far has reduced the incidence a lot, but the risk is still there – as we have seen today. There’s an element of bad luck there, and there’s nothing the pit crew could have done differently, it’s a technical issue that needs to be solved. We can still find some positives – our performance is improving, we have made a step forward with the upgrades the team has brought and we should have been in the points. We were fighting with Fernando in the opening stages, and I believe P8 or P9 would have been within reach. We keep working hard: there will be more upgrades coming soon and I think we can make an even bigger step in Japan.”

Zhou Guanyu, 15th

"This weekend was a difficult one. Starting from the pit lane is always tricky, and being stuck in a DRS train made it difficult for me to overtake. There were some points up for grabs for the team today, but, unfortunately, we did not manage to be up there, fighting for them. During my second pit stop, I experienced an issue, outside of my control, related to my gearbox – when I called for the gear, the car stalled which cost me plenty of time. Overall, our race pace continued to look quite strong and competitive with the teams around us. It’s been a lost opportunity, but as a team, we’ll continue our work to bounce back in Suzuka.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

“First of all, we need to apologise to our drivers, especially to Valtteri, who in the first part of the race showed he could match the top ten drivers and was clearly fighting for a points finish, thanks to a good start and strong pace. As we said before the race, we had implemented mitigation measures for our pit stop issue, something that has improved the situation but, as we have seen, not completely solved the problem: what happened to Valtteri is a slightly different, but linked, issue compared to what happened in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, but one for which we paid a really high price and that completely ruined Valtteri’s race. We clearly lost a big opportunity to score points, as he would have been there or thereabout with Tsunoda by the end of the race. Zhou, starting from the pit lane, had a different issue as we saw problems with his gearbox throughout the race: when he came to the pits, he was unable to select the gear, before the car finally stalled. It was not the driver’s fault but another frustrating circumstance that damaged our race. As a team, we need to take our responsibilities when these things happen: it’s the only way we can improve. It’s really tough not to score points when we had the potential to do it, as we saw we had the performance to be ahead of Haas, RB and our other direct competitors. We need to keep working hard, even harder to fix these problems. We regroup, we stay united with our drivers and our team back home in Hinwil and trackside, and together we do all we can to come back stronger in the next race.”

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Zhou Guanyu of China and Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber and Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber wave to the crowd on the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Pirelli

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director

“First of all, congratulations to Carlos Sainz and everyone at Ferrari for this one-two which once again demonstrated that in such a competitive sport, where technology is pushed to the limit, one can never take anything for granted. I’ve got nothing against Max and Red Bull, but clearly a new name on the list of winners, after two years of almost total dominance is good for Formula 1 as a whole, as is the fact that the top four drivers in the classification are covered by just eleven points.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from a dramatic Australian Grand Prix as Sainz wins while Verstappen retires

"As for the race, it showed that our decision to bring a trio of softer compounds here compared to last year was the right one. Today’s race was busier compared to recent years, with tyre management making the difference. For example, one of the keys to Sainz’s success was the ability to lengthen the first stint on the Mediums, which then gave him the edge over his closest pursuers, as the two sets of Hards he used in the second and third stints were fresher. Yes, Carlos was able to drive a good part of his first stint with a clear track ahead of him, while his team-mate for example was in traffic, sandwiched between the two McLarens. All the same, Leclerc managed to overtake Norris precisely because he had stopped first and was able to better exploit the performance of new Hard tyres in the opening laps of his second stint.

"In general, graining was the leitmotif of the weekend, but it was not problematic in terms of tyre performance and in the end, those who did the better job of managing them had the upper hand.”

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