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Wayne Lumbasi

Charles Leclerc took his second win of the season as he dominated the Australian Grand Prix with a lights-to-flag victory, as his potential championship rival Max Verstappen hit more technical issues in a worrying run of form.

Sergio Perez overcame a slow start to take second ahead of the Mercedes’ combination of George Russell, who secured his first podium finish for the season, and Lewis Hamilton.

McLarenpair Orlando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth. It was a wild Australian Grand Prix with two safety cars and a virtual safety car deployed on Sunday afternoon. With chaos around him, Leclerc never looked bothered at the front of the field.

The Ferrari driver was gushing about his car and his team after taking his second win of the year -the fourth of his career.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco leads Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday/AP/

With the race returning after a two-year absence because of the pandemic, Leclerc’s triumph was delivered at Albert Park in front of a capacity crowd reveling in the return of racing.

Attended by 420,000 people it was the biggest sporting weekend in Australian history, reflecting the surge in popularity of F1.

 Charles Leclerc celebrating after winning the Australian GP /Getty Images/

F1 has just one week off before its first European race of the season. This was a race that was added back to the calendar as a pandemic fill-in event but has already become a series mainstay all over again.

Leclerc became the first Ferrari driver since Fernando Alonso in Singapore in 2010 to complete a racing “grand slam” comprised of winning pole position, leading wire-to-wire and also posting the fastest time.

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Wayne Lumbasi

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