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Carlos Sainz 7/4 to beat Charles Leclerc in 2024 after Melbourne triumph

For the first time this season, it wasn't Max Verstappen who was celebrating on the top step of the podium.

Bidding for a record-equalling 10th victory in a row, brake failure curtailed the race for the three-time world champion and Carlos Sainz swept past to seal the first non-Red Bull win of the year.

Sainz led home his teammate Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari one-two, the first for the prancing horse since Bahrain 2022 and the greatest evidence yet they're the team to challenge Red Bull for honours at the front.

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It's been a whirlwind seven weeks for Sainz and success in Melbourne will be of immense satisfaction to the Spaniard, who takes his tally of career wins to three.

Earning the nickname 'Smooth Operator' for his vocals in the 2019 British Grand Prix, Sainz continues to defy expectations in the face of adversity.

At the start of February it was announced that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had signed a lucrative multi-year contract with the Scuderia from 2025 and Sainz had consequentially been axed from the Maranello firm.

Rather than allowing it to deflate his confidence, the Spaniard has elevated his performances and in a Bahrain Grand Prix dominated by Red Bull, Sainz finished best of the rest to chalk up his first podium of the campaign.

He was absent from the second race in Saudi Arabia after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix but just 16 days after his operation, Sainz defied medical advice to reign supreme at Albert Park.

The result leaves Sainz fourth in the standings, only seven points adrift of teammate Leclerc despite participating in one fewer race.

He was nearly three tenths quicker than Leclerc in qualifying and the former McLaren driver managed the race tremendously to finish ahead of the Monegasque, who had no answer to Sainz's exceptional speed.

Sainz is 7/4 to finish higher of the two Ferrari drivers, with Leclerc the 2/5 favourite in our Season Match-Ups market.

Even at this stage of the season, the betting suggests a fourth world title for Verstappen is a foregone conclusion at 1/10.

For those that believe Sainz is capable of finishing the year in second, the 29-year-old is 6/1 in the To Win Without Max Verstappen market, behind Sergio Perez and Leclerc.

And with one race win under his belt, Sainz is 1/2 to win another before the campaign is out and 7/2 to win three or more races in 2024.

With Ferrari delivering a car that is capable of competing with Red Bull over one lap, expect to see Sainz consistently challenging at the front as he looks to secure a drive for next year.

All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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