The new Formula One season kicks off this weekend and with the sport under new management and new technical rules coming into force this season, there’s added intrigue and excitement for F1 fans. As usual, the championship begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
With Nico Rosberg retiring after winning the Drivers’ Championship last year, Britain’s Lewis Hamilton is favourite to reclaim his title this year and he’ll be looking to put down a marker in Melbourne on Sunday. Read on to get all the latest tips and odds for the first Grand Prix of the season!
With his great rival Rosberg out of the picture, Hamilton is now the main man in Formula One and is the bookies’ favourite to win on Sunday. The 32 year-old is one of only two drivers on the line-up to have won this race on more than one occasion before (the other being Kimi Räikkönen), having triumphed in 2008 and 2015.
The three-time world champion is 5/4 with Ladbrokes to finish first in the 58-lap race, and 11/10 with bet365 to be in pole position when the main event begins at 6am UK time. Sebastian Vettel is considered to be Hamilton’s main challenger this season, and he is second favourite among the bookies to win in Melbourne. He dominated the sport from 2010-2013 and at the age of just 29, he’ll feel that he has more titles in him.
Now with Ferrari – although he’s been linked in the media with a move to Mercedes next year – Vettel recorded the fastest times in testing earlier this month. The German’s only previous win on this circuit came in 2011 but he’s recorded podium finishes in five of the last six years. Punters can back him at 7/2 with William Hill.
Replacing Rosberg as Mercedes’ second driver this season is Valtteri Bottas. Having failed to win in 77 race starts over three years with Williams, the 27 year-old Finn has big boots to fill. In three previous starts in Melbourne, his best result was fifth place in 2014. However, with a better car and a stronger team, Bottas could make the step up and he is best-priced at 6/1 with William Hill to win, or 5/7 with NetBet to finish in the top three.
As mentioned, Kimi Räikkönen is the only driver other than Hamilton among the 20 competitors in Sunday’s race to have won the Australian Grand Prix on multiple occasions. However, his last win was back in 2013 – in fact, that was the last race he won – and in the last two years he has retired. He is 8/1 with bet365 to claim a third Melbourne title but Coral’s odds of 5/1 on the Ferrari driver not to finish look more appealing.
For those punters looking for a dark horse, Daniel Ricciardo is predicted by many to do well this season. The 27 year-old Red Bull driver has finished third in the Drivers’ Championship behind Hamilton and Rosberg in two of the last three years, finishing on the podium in eight of last year’s 21 races. The Australian finished fourth in his home Grand Prix last year (his best finish to date) and is 10/1 with Coral to claim the fifth win of his career, and 2/1 to get on the podium.
Of course, it’s not just about the drivers but also the teams, and Mercedes have dominated at the Albert Park circuit in recent years. The Brackley-based team have provided the winning driver three years in a row and are 8/11 with Ladbrokes to make it four. With the top four favourites coming from the same two teams, the 2017 Australian Grand Prix, and the whole Formula One season, are both looking like a contest between Mercedes and Ferrari.
With Vettel and Räikkönen going for Ferrari, they are 2/1 with Ladbrokes to end Mercedes’ run in Melbourne, with Red Bull behind them at 9/2. For the best choice of F1 betting and other motorsports betting markets, head to Ladbrokes now where new customers can currently get a Price Boost to a £50 Free Bet!