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 Ferrari's Carlos Sainz wins Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix; Verstappen, Hamilton retires

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz clinched victory at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, marking a triumphant comeback just two weeks after undergoing appendicitis surgery. The race witnessed a dramatic turn as Red Bull's reigning world champion, Max Verstappen, faced his first retirement in two years.

Sainz, who secured the only non-Red Bull victory last season, fended off competition from teammate Charles Leclerc. The final-lap crash involving Mercedes driver George Russell triggered a virtual safety car, clearing the path for Sainz's decisive win.

Reflecting on his remarkable performance, Sainz expressed his elation, stating, "It was a really good race. I felt really good out there." Despite physical challenges, he managed to maintain his pace and clinch victory. "But very happy, very proud of the team, and happy to be in a one-two with Charles here," added the jubilant Spaniard.

Meanwhile, McLaren's Lando Norris secured third place, dashing the hopes of teammate Oscar Piastri, who aimed to secure Australia's first podium at the F1 event.

Verstappen, who had triumphed in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, faced early setbacks, retiring on the fourth lap due to a brake malfunction. The Dutch driver lamented his experience, stating, "That's why already it felt the car was really weird to drive in some corners. It was just very snappy."

The race also witnessed disappointments for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who retired early due to a power unit issue, and his teammate George Russell, who crashed into barriers, prompting the virtual safety car.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez claimed fifth position, with Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin finishing sixth. Alonso faced scrutiny from stewards regarding Russell's crash.

Yuki Tsunoda secured eighth place, earning Red Bull their first points, while Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen of Haas rounded out the top ten.

Williams endured challenges, with Alex Albon finishing outside the points in teammate Logan Sargeant's car, following a directive to swap cars due to Albon's Friday practice incident.

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