The 2018 Formula One campaign is set to start at Albert Park this week with millions of sports betting fans around the world anticipating an action-packed race.
Numerous rule changes have been put into effect this year that will certainly affect the betting odds on the drivers and constructors. Most notably, the number of power units allowed per driver was reduced from four to three, thereby emphasising the need for engine reliability.
Pre-season testing in Spain has also ended a couple of weeks ago, ensuring that both drivers and their cars are ready for the big live betting affair.
Australian Grand Prix
As expected, Mercedes and star man Lewis Hamilton are the favourites to win in Melbourne. The Silver Arrows have dominated F1 the past four years and are now aiming for an unprecedented feat of a fifth straight drivers’ and constructors’ championship double.
Also, Hamilton could become only the third driver in F1 history to win five titles—a result which would earn him motorsport immortality alongside Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.
The British star can make a statement in the Australian GP, and he is at odds of 1.70 to do just that.
However, it won’t be as easy as it sounds, especially with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff predicting a three-way battle between his team, Ferrari and Red Bull this campaign.
Hamilton’s biggest threat in Australia is Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who is the second favourite to win at 4.50. The German was neck and neck with the Brit last season and was even on the lead up until the second half of the campaign.
Vettel heads into Melbourne after a remarkable pre-season testing that saw him record the best time in Barcelona. And he’ll be high in confidence knowing that he won the opening race last year with a nine-second lead over Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (6.00) and Daniel Ricciardo (8.00), of course, shouldn’t be counted out. Not with their new Renault-powered RB14 that has been impressive so far.
Even Hamilton is cautious of the Red Bull driver as he cited that they thrive in a “high downforce circuit” like Albert Park.
There’s also the fact that home-hero Ricciardo, in his contract year, will be looking to impress.
Besides the four drivers, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (7.00), Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen (23.00) and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (53.00) could well be in the running for a podium finish, especially if they get good results in the qualifying sessions.
The Australian race is still expected to be much closer, thanks to the track that features a mix of braking and quick sections as well as tighter parts that require good traction. With that said, drivers from Renault, Haas, Force India, Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber could also find some opportunities to break into the top spots.
Click for more motor sports betting options.