Australian Grand Prix Betting Tips & Preview – Sunday 25th March 2018

Australia Grand Prix Track Guide

The 2018 Formula 1 season gets under way this weekend, as the great and good of the sport head for Australia. The opener in Melbourne sees Lewis Hamilton defending his world title, as he renews rivalries with Sebastian Vettel. The Mercedes driver is the favourite to retain the championship, but can Ferrari do anything about that?

All of the title contenders will be out for a strong start here, especially given the boost that Vettel got with a win here last year. Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas are all in contention here, but we can’t see past Hamilton. He may have had challenges across the 2017 campaign, but he finished the year in complete control. He’s likely to make a strong start here, and we think he’s going to walk away with another race win.

Top Tips

Lewis Hamilton to win @ Evens

Verstappen for a podium finish at evens

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

As far as starts go, jetting off to Melbourne in March isn’t the worst way to kick off the new campaign. The opening round is likely to be a demanding affair after a few months off, but we expect plenty of enthusiasm in the field ahead of Sunday’s 58 laps of the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.

RoundCountryCircuitRace Distance
1/21 Australia Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit 308km / 58 Laps

Schedule

 DateStart TimeFinish TimeForecast ConditionsTV Coverage
Practice 1 Fri 23rd March 01:00 02:30 Dry / 29° Sky F1
Practice 2 Fri 23rd March 05:00 06:30 Dry / 29° Sky F1
Practice 3 Sat 24th March 03:00 04:00 Wet / 27° Sky F1
Qualifying Sat 24th March 06:00 07:00 Wet / 27° Sky F1
Race Sun 25th Mar 06:10 08:10 Dry / 21° Sky F1

Last Season's Result (2017)

Last season’s opener saw Sebastian Vettel run away with the lead, as he moved from second on the grid to take maximum points. The opening weekend was a strong one for Ferrari with two top four finishes. They showed their intent with their finish in Melbourne 12 months ago, but just how will the four time champion get on this time around?

Hamilton and Bottas had a strong start together with finishes inside the top three in qualifying and in the main race, which was big for the newcomer. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso both pulled out early and missed out on any points. Both will be hoping for much better this time around, especially given how well the Australian finished last season for Red Bull.

PositionDriverCarGrid PositionPoints
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2 25
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1 18
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 3 15
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 4 12
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 5 10
6 Felipe Massa Williams 7 8
7 Sergio Perez Force India 10 6
8 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 8 4
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 9 2
10 Esteban Ocon Force India 13 1

Race News: Hamilton All Out For High Five

While there are plenty of big guns in the field this season, the focus is obviously surrounding Hamilton. This is the first ever season that two four-time world champions have started together, but the Brit’s titles are overwhelming any focus on Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.

This is a big season for Mercedes, who need to extend Hamilton’s deal beyond the end of the year. They’re set to be the pacesetters in Australia, and if that’s the case we can’t see why he’d depart the Silver Arrows. While Toto Wolff has tried to play down the dominance of his team, that seems just like an attempt to play down expectations, and it’s something he’s done before.

Analysis: Hamilton Set to Survive First Challenge

With Hamilton’s contract up at the end of the campaign, this isn’t the time to anger him. We can’t see his team giving more freedom to Valtteri Bottas this term, he’s going to have to play second fiddle for another season. We don’t think there’s going to be any big internal struggle, especially as Bottas could be departing at the end of the season if he doesn’t play his cards right.

With no Rosberg-like challenge from within, it’s all about Ferrari and Red Bull matching the speed of Mercedes, which we haven’t seen yet. While Vettel pushed for the title during part of last season, we don’t expect Hamilton to slip up here. We think he’s well priced at evens to take maximum points, so he’s who we’re backing in Australia.

Verstappen to Kick on in Melbourne

While Vettel’s challenge last season was the first sign of the pack catching up on Mercedes, there’s also Red Bull to keep in mind. They’ve been pushing forward Verstappen in the previous two seasons, and the young driver looks like he could take another leap forward here. He made a strong finish to the campaign – 110 of his points came in the last six races. That has us backing him to finish in the podium places this weekend, which is well priced at evens.

Challengers to Make Early Push

We think Verstappen will make a strong start, and the talk around Ferrari suggests that they will make a big push this season. We’re backing Vettel to get off and running with another good start in Melbourne. We can’t see him stopping Hamilton, but the German is well priced to challenge here. We’re backing him and Verstappen to finish in the top three, which is nicely priced at 7/4.

Final Verdict

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton seems good value to open his account in round 1 with a win at evens. Max Verstappen can carry through his fine form with Red Bull from last season to make a podium finish, also at evens. Verstappen can be backed at 7/4 to be joined in the top 3 by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

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