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Australian GP: Carlos Sainz leads Ferrari sweep Down Under while Max Verstappen retires

Ferrari teammates Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc survived a dramatic race to finish first and second at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Max Verstappen suffered a brake failure after just four laps of Sunday's 58-lap race at Melbourne's sun-cooked Albert Park to end his winning streak which stretched back to September's Japanese Grand Prix.

Sainz took advantage of Verstappen's first retirement in 43 races to claim just the third win of his career a fortnight after he was ruled out of the previous round in Saudi Arabia with appendicitis.

Charles Leclerc finished second to complete a Ferrari one-two with Lando Norris next up as the British driver landed his first podium of the year.

Lewis Hamilton's miserable start to his final season with Mercedes continued after he retired on lap 17 with an engine failure.

Hamilton, who is leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari at the end of the season, has taken just eight points from the opening three rounds – the worst start of his 18-season career.

Both Mercedes cars failed to make it to the end in Melbourne after George Russell crashed out on the penultimate lap. Russell's Mercedes ended up on his side but the Englishman was able to walk away from the accident.

More than 132,000 spectators were crammed into Albert Park anticipating another Verstappen victory after the Dutch driver took pole position here on Saturday.

And when the 26-year-old held off Sainz at the start, and ended the opening lap one second clear of the Spaniard, Verstappen looked on course to take his third victory from the opening three rounds.

But to the amazement of the record crowd in Australia, Sainz sailed past Verstappen on lap two before smoke began pouring out the back of his Red Bull machine.

"I have smoke," he said over the radio "Fire, fire, brake, my brake."

Verstappen was falling back through the pack and the crowd cheered his demise. He managed to get his wounded machine back to the pits before his right-rear brake temporarily caught fire.

Verstappen remonstrated with performance director, Tom Hart at the back of the garage – appearing to say "that is f***** stupid" – before heading to his changing room and putting on his Red Bull civvies and taking the long walk through the paddock to the media pen.

"The brake stuck on from when the lights went off," said Verstappen. "The temperatures kept on increasing until the point where it caught on fire.

"Having one brake caliper on was like driving with the handbrake on. I didn't know at the time but I could feel the balance in the car was off."

Asked about his exchange with Hart, he replied: "That was related to us doing a pit stop while the car was on fire!"

It was a bad day for the winners of the past seven world championships after Hamilton's miserable weekend here ended with him stopping on track as his engine expired.

Hamilton started 11th and was running in ninth before his Mercedes gave up the ghost.

Hamilton's previous worst start to a season had been back in 2009 when he was disqualified at the first round before finishing sixth and seventh. Before today's retirement, Hamilton had started the season with a seventh and ninth in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

But for Sainz, the man making way for Hamilton at Ferrari next year, he had an afternoon to remember by leading home a Ferrari one-two from Charles Leclerc with Lando Norris completing the podium.

Sainz took his win under the virtual safety car after Russell's Mercedes dramatically ended up 90 degrees to the floor after he thudded into the wall in his pursuit of Fernando Alonso.

Russell reported over the radio that he was "OK" and was able to walk away from the crash. Oscar Piastri took fourth for McLaren ahead of Sergio Perez's Red Bull with Alonso sixth.

Australian Grand Prix Results:

1    Carlos Sainz    ESP    Scuderia Ferrari    58 Laps
2    Charles Leclerc    MON    Scuderia Ferrari    +2.366s
3    Lando Norris    GBR    McLaren F1 Team    +5.904s
4    Oscar Piastri    AUS    McLaren F1 Team    +35.770s
5    Sergio Perez    MEX    Oracle Red Bull Racing    +56.309s
6    Fernando Alonso    ESP    Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team    +80.992s
7    Lance Stroll    CAN    Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team    +93.222s
8    Yuki Tsunoda    JPN    Visa Cash App RB F1 Team    +95.601s
9    Nico Hulkenberg    GER    MoneyGram Haas F1 Team    +64.553s
10    Kevin Magnussen    DEN    MoneyGram Haas F1 Team    +1 lap
11    Alex Albon    THA    Williams Racing    +1 Lap
12    Daniel Ricciardo    AUS    Visa Cash App RB F1 Team    +1 Lap
13    Pierre Gasly    FRA    BWT Alpine F1 Team    +1 Lap
14    Valtteri Bottas    FIN    Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber    +1 Lap
15    Zhou Guanyu    CHN    Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber    +1 Lap
16    Esteban Ocon    FRA    BWT Alpine F1 Team    +1 Lap
17    George Russell    GBR    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team    +1 Lap
18    Lewis Hamilton    GBR    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team    DNF
19    Max Verstappen    NED    Oracle Red Bull Racing    DNF

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