Charles Leclerc Wins 2022 Australian F1 Grand Prix; Lewis Hamilton Finishes 4th

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 10, 2022

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco leads the field into turn two after the start of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, April 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)
AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Charles Leclerc continued his impressive start to the 2022 Formula One season with a victory at Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc @Charles_Leclerc

It’s a win ❤️ <br>Soooo happy! Perfect weekend. <br>Forza Ferrari <a href="https://twitter.com/ScuderiaFerrari?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ScuderiaFerrari</a> <a href="https://t.co/Hzhab92JwQ">pic.twitter.com/Hzhab92JwQ</a>

The Ferrari driver posted a time of 1:27:46.548 over the 58 laps, more than 20 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez in second place. George Russell finished in third while Lewis Hamilton could only manage fourth.

Leclerc won the pole and led every lap, also producing the fastest lap on the way to his second win of the year. He now has a commanding lead on top of the driver standings through three events. 

Formula 1 @F1

DRIVER STANDINGS 📊<a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Leclerc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Charles_Leclerc</a> increases his championship lead to a larger margin than anyone did in 2021! 🤩<br><br>And, <a href="https://twitter.com/GeorgeRussell63?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GeorgeRussell63</a> makes a move into P2 👀<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusGP?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusGP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#F1</a> <a href="https://t.co/uKUgMpR1UT">pic.twitter.com/uKUgMpR1UT</a>

Leclerc was dominant throughout the race at Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. His biggest challenge came from Max Verstappen, who was on his tail for much of the day.

Verstappen saw his chances come to an end on the 39th lap when car troubles forced him to the side:

Formula 1 @F1

Heartbreak for Max Verstappen in Australia 💔<br><br>An podium opportunity missed for the Dutchman after a strong showing ended prematurely with a car problem 😫<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusGP?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusGP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#F1</a> <a href="https://t.co/DXeOAe1r4X">pic.twitter.com/DXeOAe1r4X</a>

It led to a DNF for Verstappen, his second in three races to start the season. The Dutch driver still sits sixth in the standings, but he has a lot of ground to make up.

Leclerc faced no other challengers from there, pulling away from the field for an easy win. He posted his fastest lap on the final lap of the day.

Perez, who started in third, cruised into second place once Red Bull teammate Verstappen was eliminated.

Hamilton won eight races in 2021 but is still seeking his first win of the year after finishing no better than third in his three starts.

The drivers will now head to Italy for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on April 24.