Australian Grand Prix

2020 Australian GP Preview

POSTPONED DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK.

It’s time to start your engines as the long wait is nearly over. The traditional curtain raiser to the new Formula One season goes off in Melbourne on Sunday with the running of the Australian Grand Prix.

A usual run of driver changes has been confirmed in pre-season but the main teams are largely unchanged. Will we see an incredible seventh world title for Lewis Hamilton or is this the time that we will finally see a genuine challenge from the chasing pack? We’ll certainly have some clues after the chequered flag comes down this weekend.

Outright Markets

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Until such time as the two season-long bets have been decided, we will be bringing you outright updates for the Drivers’ Championship and the Constructors’ Championship. No points are on the board as yet but regular F1 fans will have already guessed the market leaders.

Firstly, we’ll start with the drivers’ market where Lewis Hamilton is the clear favourite to claim another world title. The Mercedes number one driver is on offer at best industry odds of 4/7 with William Hill and that figure gives him a clear lead over the chasing pack.

Hamilton’s teammate Valterri Bottas came home in second place last year but the Finn is some way down the outright betting market. In his place, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen slots in as second favourite at a top price of 5/1 with Ladbrokes and 10Bet and then we come to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at a best of 7/1 with SportingBet.

So it’s the key number one drivers who come in ahead of Bottas who is on offer at best odds of 8/1 with William Hill. It’s virtually impossible to see beyond that list of four names but if you want to consider other number two pilots for the big teams, Sebastian Vettel is available at best odds of 12/1 with Coral and Betway and then we move all the way out to Alexander Albon at 100/1 with SportNation and VBet.

In terms of Constructors’ Championship betting, it’s even more clear cut with Mercedes leading the way at best odds of 2/7 with William Hill. Following on as a distant second favourite are Red Bull at 9/2 with Unibet and Coral and then we come to Ferrari at a top price of 13/2 with VBet.

At this stage, we’re not going to commit to the driver but it would appear that Mercedes should be a safe bet. Odds of 2/7 aren’t exactly thrilling but they’re only going to shorten from here so you may want to grab them early.

Race Winner

With the long-term markets out of the way, it’s time to focus on the 2020 Australian Grand Prix itself and we’ll start with the race winner. Leading the way as we head into Sunday is Lewis Hamilton and the world champion is available at best industry odds of 11/10 with Coral and SportingBet.

Valtteri Bottas actually won in Melbourne last year but Hamilton’s teammate is one of two joint second favourites and you can claim the Finn at a top price of 4/1 with BetFred and Betway. Also available at that best of 4/1 - this time with Ladbrokes and Coral - is Max Verstappen and then we move out to Charles Leclerc at 7/1 with SportingBet.

According to the bookmakers, the only other driver in with a sniff of a win in Melbourne is Sebastian Vettel who is quoted at 9/1 with Unibet and VBet and then we move out to Alexander Albon at best odds of 50/1 with SportNation and 10Bet.

Beyond the top six, the chasing field starts with Lando Norris at a top price of 250/1 with William Hill but we’re certainly not going to look that far down. It’s an interesting market and there could be some value in Australia but before we make our verdict, let’s look at some alternative options.

Side Bets

charles leclerc

Charles Leclerc

The fastest lap is one of our favourite side bets and it has the potential for some decent profits. At this early stage of the season, it’s going to be much tougher to call but we’ll certainly give it a go. The bookies have spoken and the favourite once again is Lewis Hamilton who is on offer this time at 9/4 with Coral and Unibet. The chasing pack begins with Valtteri Bottas at best odds of 9/2 with William Hill and Betway before we come to Alexander Albon at a top price of 13/2 with Unibet and 888Sport.

Albon is an interesting inclusion and, as we’ve seen, he’s some way down the race winner markets. Clearly, however, the sportsbooks feel the Red Bull driver has the capacity to open up and deliver in this fastest lap betting.

Behind Albon, Charles Leclerc is available at best odds of 15/2 with VBet while Max Verstappen can also be picked up at a top price of 15/2 with William Hill.

Our other favoured side bet is on the fastest qualifier and the man who will subsequently take up pole position at the front of the grid. Needless to say, it’s Lewis Hamilton once again and he can be backed at best odds of 10/11 with William Hill.

Behind the favourite, Valtteri Bottas is the loyal back up man and he is on offer at a top price of 3/1 with Betway.

We move through the usual suspects as we come to Max Verstappen who is quoted at a best of 7/2 with 888Sport followed by Charles Leclerc at 8/1 with 10Bet and VBet. Competing our ‘top six’ are Sebastian Vettel at best odds of 12/1 with SportingBet and Alexander Albon at a top price of 66/1 with VBet and William Hill.

We’ll end it there for our first Grand Prix of the season so let’s now move and and see if we can pick out a winner.

Verdict

At the Australian Grand Prix of 2019, Lewis Hamilton started on pole position but he eventually had to concede victory to his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Max Verstappen trailed home in third place while Bottas also recorded the fastest lap around this Melbourne circuit.

F1 betting doesn’t provide a lot of choice in terms of winning drivers and that’s why a lot of punters like to get involved. Across the 2020 season, we’re really only going to be focussing on three constructors - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - and their teams.

It’s tempting just to avoid the first race and wait to see how it develops but we will commit. Lewis Hamilton hasn’t always enjoyed a fast start to the season and, in fact, he’s only won twice in Australia - in 2008 and 2015. Prior to Bottas’ win last year, Sebastian Vettel claimed the chequered flag in 2017 and 2018 but his performances dropped last season.

It’s a bit of a punt but we’ll take Bottas for a repeat as he is a consistent driver who will push his teammate as hard as possible once again. Max Verstappen for the fastest lap is the other race pick while a safe bet for the season could be on Mercedes to win yet another Constructors’ Championship.

Best Bets:

  • Mercedes to win the 2020 Constructors’ Championship at 2/7 with William Hill
  • Valtteri Bottas to win the Australian Grand Prix at 4/1 with BetFred
  • Max Verstappen to record the fastest lap at 15/2 with William Hill

2019 Australian GP Preview

The waiting is almost over and the flag is about to go up on the 2019 Formula One season. Melbourne is the destination for our traditional curtain raiser and we’re all set for the Australian Grand Prix which goes off this Sunday.

A number of changes have been made to team line ups which we’ll cover in the next section. As for the calendar, we still have 21 races with the campaign ending in Abu Dhabi in December and the only change sees the Mexican and United States Grand Prix switching places on the schedule.

With that in mind, let’s move on and check our first set of outright prices for 2019.

Outright Betting

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

There have been some significant driver changes during the close season but there’s no change at the very top. Defending World Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton is the chief pilot for Mercedes and the Englishman is also favourite to retain his crown.

Hamilton can be claimed at best industry odds of 11/8 with Black Type and that puts him just ahead of his great rival Sebastian Vettel who is quoted at 15/8 with William Hill. Vettel’s position as number one driver at Ferrari is also unchanged and once again, he seems the man most likely to challenge Lewis Hamilton to the title.

Last season, we had a top six of drivers that comprised Hamilton, Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. We rarely looked beyond them in any betting markets but the first person to break into that group for 2019 is Charles Leclerc. The 21 year old from Monaco was with Sauber last season but he now switches to Ferrari as back up to Sebastian Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

Leclerc is on offer at a top price of 5/1 with 188Bet to win the Drivers’ Championship this season and then we move out to Max Verstappen who is available at 9/1 with Ladbrokes and Royal Panda.

From this point, the market really starts to move out and our fifth favourite for the 2019 Drivers’ Championship is Valtteri Bottas at a best of 25/1 with Coral and 10Bet. The Finn stays with Mercedes but he’s very much a number 2 to Hamilton and will be expected to cede to the Englishman at any possible opportunity.

Taking over from Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull is Pierre Gasly who can be picked up in this market at 50/1 with SportingBet and Black Type. Ricciardo is now with Renault and the Aussie is available at best odds of 80/1 with Ladbrokes and SportingBet and then we move out to Kimi Raikkonen, now with Alfa Romeo, at a top price of 150/1 with Unibet and Royal Panda.

A title win from that distance would seem unlikely to say the least so we’ll move on and quickly round up the Constructors’ Championship.

Mercedes have dominated here in recent years thanks largely to Lewis Hamilton and previous World Champion Nico Rosberg. It’s therefore no surprise to see them heading this season-long market and you can pick up the German manufacturer at best odds of 19/20 with Ladbrokes and Coral.

The second favourites here are equally predictable with Ferrari coming in at 11/8 with William Hill followed by Red Bull at 6/1 with BetFred and Betway. We then move out to a very distant chasing pack led by Alfa Romeo at a best of 300/1 so we will now head to Australia and won’t spend any more time in these long term markets.

Race Winner

We saw that for much of 2018, even when Lewis Hamilton dominated the second half of the season, Sebastian Vettel started as favourite for many Grand Prix. Well, it’s happened again: Hamilton may be favourite in the Top Three and Points Finish markets but somehow it’s Vettel who leads the way in the race winner market at 15/8 with BetFred.

Lewis Hamilton then follows at best odds of 5/2 with Ladbrokes and Coral and then we have a small gap to Charles Leclerc at a top price of 11/4 with Unibet and 888Sport. Next up is Max Verstappen who ended 2018 in strong fashion and he can be backed at 8/1 with 10Bet and RedZoneSports.

Followers of Valtteri Bottas may be surprised to see the Finn out at 12/1 with Unibet and BetFred but he’s set once again to play second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton and to only come through if his teammate retires. After that point, we’re very much into the ‘also rans’ with Pierre Gasly on offer at 40/1 with Betway and Black Type.

Other Side Bets

Last season we saw some longer priced wins from the Fastest Lap market in particular and we’ll take another look at that for Australia. On many occasions, the profit wasn’t delivered by the driver who won the race but the bad news was that it was difficult to follow any sort of pattern.

For Melbourne, it’s Sebastian Vettel who heads this market at best odds of 9/4 with SportingBet, followed by Lewis Hamilton at a top price of 11/4 with William Hill and BetFred. Other names to consider might include Charles Leclerc at 10/3 or Max Verstappen at 15/2 - both with William Hill.

The other bet we favoured was for Pole Position and this week, the bookies have been a little slow to declare their prices in this respect. 888Sport are the first to come forward and they show Vettel as favourite at 6/4, followed by Hamilton at 9/5 and Leclerc at 11/2.

Verdict

Before getting into our tips for the race, we’re going to claim that 19/20 price on Mercedes winning the Constructors’ Championship. There will be challenges but Ferrari have a new driver on board while Mercedes’ established pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas should combine again for a comfortable win. 19/20 may be as good as it gets so our advice would be to claim it now.

In terms of the Drivers’ Championship, getting behind a Lewis Hamilton win would be the obvious choice. It’s been a procession for Mercedes in recent years and unlike the battles between Hamilton and Rosberg, there isn’t quite the same rivalry with Valtteri Bottas on board. However, we won’t commit to that bet just yet.

As for the race itself, we remember that Sebastian Vettel has started the last two campaigns in strong fashion and he took the chequered flag ahead of Hamilton in Melbourne 12 months ago. Lewis Hamilton had started on pole that day while Daniel Ricciardo recorded the fastest lap in the Red Bull.

Clearly, the bookmakers are expecting good things from the drivers who have stepped up. There are some short prices on Charles Leclerc, both for the Australian Grand Prix and for the 2019 Drivers’ Championship but it’s too early for us to commit.

So, we’ll just opt for Lewis Hamilton to start on pole position as he did for much of last season. We have a slight preference for Vettel as race winner but we want to avoid another favourite so we’ll stay with these tips for Sunday.

Season Long Bets:

  • Mercedes to win the Constructors’ Championship at 19/20 with Ladbrokes

Best Bets for Australian Grand Prix 2019:

  • Lewis Hamilton to finish on Pole at 9/5 with 888Sport

About Australian GP

History

The 2019 edition of the Australian Grand Prix was the 84th running of the competition and, like many of its preceding races, it produced a thrilling finish. Held in Melbourne, the GP is now a traditional curtain raiser and it has often enjoyed a pivotal place on the calendar.

The Australian Grand Prix was first held back in 1928 at Phillip Island in Victoria. This would prove to be one of a number of venues for the race and having passed through Adelaide, it has taken place at Albert Park in Melbourne since 1996. Previously, while at Adelaide, the Australian GP was the final race on the Formula One schedule but currently, it opens the new season and will often set the tone for the campaign that lies ahead.

Winners

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

Two men jointly share the record for most Australian Grand Prix victories. Home favourite Lex Davidson won the race on four occasions between 1954 and 1961 and they were his only four victories in this level of competition. In the modern day, the great Michael Schumacher joined Davidson on four wins when he took his last chequered flag here in 2004.

Schumacher dominated the race at the turn of the century, winning his four titles in a five-year period between 2000 and 2004. Since his retirement from the track, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel have both won on three occasions and they join Alain Prost plus Jack Brabham and four other drivers who have taken out the Australian GP on three occasions.

Lewis Hamilton has won the event twice while the 2019 edition was claimed by Valtteri Bottas who will go into 2020 as the defending champion.

Fastest Lap

With F1 cars getting faster every year, it’s no surprise that the Fastest Lap record gets broken on an almost annual basis. At the time of writing, the record in this respect was set by Lewis Hamilton in the most recent, 2019 edition of the race.

Hamilton also finished on pole in the Mercedes and he went round in 1:20.486.

Interesting Facts

This may be a historical event but the Australian Grand Prix is, in fact, only the second oldest motor race in the country. The honour of being the oldest race belongs to the Alpine Rally which was first held way back in 1921.

The current, Melbourne circuit, has played host since 1996. The venue had switched from Adelaide which had previously held the Australian GP from 1985 from 1995.

Across the three days of the event, more than 300,000 spectators are likely to be in attendance. This figure includes some 100,000 fans who will turn up on the final race day.

Home drivers had a good early record at the Australian GP prior to it being added to the World Championship in 1985. Since heading to Melbourne, no Aussie has made it to the podium with Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo both finishing fourth in that time.

The lowest position on the grid from which a driver has come through to win is 11th. David Coulthard completed this victory back in 2003.

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in 2019. In doing so, he completed his sixth straight pole in this race but as we’ve seen, he’s only converted one of those poles into a winning drive.

Design

australian grand prix map

Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit

The Melbourne Grand Prix circuit uses parts of the road that circle Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. The lake itself is actually man-made and it contributes to what is one of the more picturesque venues on the Formula One calendar.

The area shuts down before and after the race itself with spectator stands and other areas being set up some two months ahead of the event and they aren’t taken down until six weeks after the final day.

The drivers involved often state that this is one of the easier courses to negotiate and it can also be one of the fastest. The position of the corners means it’s easy to learn but there are no long straights at Albert Park so overtaking isn’t necessarily that simple.

The speed is there but perhaps spectators aren’t treated to the entertainment of constant passing and may have to wait for pit stops for race positions to change hands.

The Future

The Formula One schedule can be something of a fluid one: Soon, we’ll see new venues added such as the one in Vietnam but amidst all the changes, the future of established Grand Prix seems certain.

The Australian Grand Prix has been on the calendar, in one form or another, since the 1920s and the fact that this is the season’s curtain raiser underlines its importance. In terms of a confirmed contract, it is under license to F1 until 2023 but in all probability it will extend far beyond that existing arrangement.