The Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne hosted Round 3 of the Formula One World Championship this year. A positive weekend for Tsunoda would see him start RB’s Constructors’ Championship fight whilst Zhou and Albon would experience a weekend of mixed fortunes. Asian Motorsport reviews all the action at the Australian Grand Prix.

By Seb Tirado

Free Practice

Albon and his FW46 after his FP1 crash | Credit: Formula One

FP1 would see a red flag flown with 20 minutes remaining when Albon would lose the rear heading out of T6, colliding with the outside wall of T7 and then to the other side of the track, eventually stopping on the outside wall of T8. As a result, he would classify 12th with a 1:19.443. Tsunoda would finish in 5th after putting in a 1:18.621 on a fast soft tyre run. Zhou on the other hand would not improve on his time, finishing 19th with a 1:19.989.

Due to his earlier crash, Albon would not participate in FP2 as his team continued to assess his crash damage. Furthermore, the team confirmed that they did not have a spare chassis, resulting in a dilemma where Williams would have to run one car and one driver for the rest of the weekend. Elsewhere, Tsunoda would again put in a fast time for RB in a qualifying sim with a 1:18.188, classifying 10th ahead of Zhou in 11th with a 1:18.421.

Albon during FP3 | Credit: Formula One

Before FP3 on Saturday, Williams would decide to run Albon for the rest of the weekend instead of his teammate Logan Sargeant. He would finish the session in 13th with a 1:17.759. Zhou would finish just behind the Thai driver with a 1:17.876 in 14th and Tsunoda would classify ahead of the two of them in 11th with a 1:17.673.

Qualifying

Q1 would see Zhou break his front wing on the outside kerb of T10 and qualify 19th with a 1:18.188. He would later be penalised with a pit lane start for having to change the specification of his front wing due to a lack of a spare. Elsewhere, Albon and Tsunoda would progress through in 7thand 8th with a 1:17.130 and 1:17.356 respectively.

Q2 would see Albon eliminated from the session, qualifying 12th on the grid with a 1:17.167. Tsunoda would progress into Q3 for the second consecutive time this season in 9th with a 1:16.791. The Japanese driver would ultimately qualify 8th on the grid with a 1:16.788.

Tsunoda during Qualifying | Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Australian Grand Prix

Lights out in Melbourne would see Albon and Tsunoda lose positions heading out of the first corner, with Zhou chasing the pack on a set of soft tyres. The Chinese driver wouldn’t run them for long however, pitting at the end of Lap 6 for a set of hards along with Albon who started on the medium tyre. Tsunoda would pit for his own set of hards on a few laps later on Lap 9. Albon and Tsunoda would eventually benefit from their early stops when the Virtual Safety Car came out for Hamilton’s mechanical retirement on Lap 17, as the reshuffling of the pitting pack saw the two move up into the Top 10. Albon would take an early second stop for a second set of hards at the end of Lap 28, coming back into the race out of the points.

Kick Sauber’s pit stop woes would continue with Zhou having another very slow pit stop at the end of Lap 35 for a second set of hards, dropping him to the back of the running cars. Tsunoda would come in a lap later for his own second set and would remain in the points in 10th. Tsunoda would soon add another point to his tally, overtaking Gasly for 9th into T11 on Lap 41. Later in the race on Lap 44, Albon would lose out to the Haas of Kevin Magnussen with a move by the Dane into T9, falling back to 12th place. This overtake would ultimately cost the Thai driver a championship point as George Russell’s crash and subsequent retirement on the last lap of the race would move Magnussen up into 10th place.

Tsunoda would score points in Melbourne for the second year running | Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Tsunoda would finish the Grand Prix in 8th place, scoring his first points of the season and lifting RB from 9th to 6th in the Constructors’ Championship. This would later become 7th after Fernando Alonso was given a 20-second post-race time penalty for causing Russell’s incident. Albon would finish in the fringes of the points in 11th and Zhou would finish his quiet race in 15th.

Formula One Drivers’ Championship Top 10

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 51
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 47
  3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 46
  4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 40
  5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) – 28
  6. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 27
  7. George Russell (Mercedes) – 18
  8. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) – 16
  9. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 9
  10. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 8

Formula One Constructors’ Championship Top 5

  1. Red Bull Racing – 97
  2. Scuderia Ferrari – 93
  3. McLaren – 55
  4. Mercedes-AMG – 26
  5. Aston Martin – 25

The Formula One World Championship takes an early trip to the Suzuka Circuit on April 7th for Round 4 and the Japanese Grand Prix.

Header image credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

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