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Mario Andretti confident: Ferrari's strong start signals Formula 1 title contention

Legendary racing driver Mario Andretti has expressed confidence in Ferrari's Formula 1 title bid following their performance in the Australian Grand Prix.

Andretti, a former Formula 1 champion himself, believes that Ferrari's showing in Melbourne demonstrates their capability to challenge the top contenders in the championship.

Carlos Sainz's standout performance in Melbourne, securing a front-row slot in qualifying and clinching a dominant victory, has particularly impressed Andretti. 

Speaking to Gazzetta della Sport, Andretti remarked, "They did everything right from Friday and it was nice to see Carlos at 100% after the operation, they can compete with anyone."

Andretti's optimism stems from Ferrari's evident progress over the winter, as they've made significant strides with the SF-24 car. While previously trailing behind Red Bull, Ferrari's recent one-two finish in Australia signifies a clear advancement, positioning them as genuine contenders in the championship race.

"I've always said that both [Sainz] and Leclerc are drivers who can take wins and championships," Andretti stated, emphasizing the potential of Ferrari's driver line-up. With Sainz and Leclerc showcasing their prowess on the track, Andretti sees Ferrari as a force to be reckoned with this season.

Furthermore, Andretti highlighted Ferrari's improved handling of tires and strategic decisions, which were previously identified as weak points within the team. Their comprehensive performance in Melbourne indicates a newfound strength in these areas, further bolstering their championship prospects.

"They did everything right this time with both the tyres and the strategy, those were still two weaker points within the team in the past," Andretti said.

Looking ahead, the F1 Japan Grand Prix looms as the next challenge on the calendar, scheduled for the weekend of April 5-7. With Ferrari riding high on their success in Australia, anticipation builds for their performance at the Suzuka International Racing Course.

As the championship unfolds, all eyes will be on Ferrari to see if they can maintain their momentum and mount a serious challenge for the Formula 1 title. Andretti's vote of confidence serves as a testament to Ferrari's resurgence, setting the stage for an exciting and fiercely contested season ahead.

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