F1 Betting: 2020 Australian GP Preview

Betfair is your home of F1 betting and the team at AUSF1 Podcast have provided their deep dive into the first race of the 2020 World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix.

Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton is the clear favourite on the Exchange, trading at as low as $2.16 three days out from the event. 2019 Australian GP winner Valtteri Bottas has remained steady around the mid-$5 mark, while local hope Daniel Ricciardo has traded as high as $350 and as low as $50.

For more analysis on the Australian GP and the remainder of the F1 season, be sure to listen to the AUSF1 Podcast.


Mercedes

After a dominant season in 2019 Mercedes are easily the favourite for 2020 in what is the last year before huge regulation changes. Innovations like DAS over the break have everyone in awe or protesting – assuming all is deemed legal, Mercedes are primed for another potential 1-2 in Melbourne. As good a $1.30 shot as any in the Constructors’ Championship this year.

Lewis Hamilton
The reigning champ needs little introduction. He is undeniably one of the best the sport has ever seen and will look to extend his legacy this year. Lewis has a habit of slow starts to his seasons, but by no means is he a slouch. He was on the podium 17/21 races last year so look for him to qualify and finish in the top 3 with a huge chance to stand on the top step.

Valtteri Bottas
Some say he is just the sidekick, but Valtteri is coming off last year’s dominant win in Melbourne and looking to repeat after claiming both the win and fastest lap. Qualifying isn’t everything in Melbourne and Bottas has shown you can win even without pole. The Finn is a good chance of a podium, the win and the fastest lap.


Ferrari

Lots of drama swirling around the Scuderia with the investigation into their fuel flow technology from last year still all over the media. They are also seemingly the team most affected by COVID-19 breaking out in Italy. Many of the team have not been able to enter Australia. This is likely to have a big impact on the weekend’s performance.

Sebastian Vettel
Don’t discount the old dog. This wily veteran is back in Melbourne and keen to show he is still the number 1 driver for Ferrari this year. The three-time Albert Park champion knows this track extremely well and will be looking to qualify in the top two rows setting up Sunday for a podium chance.

Charles Leclerc
Last year in Melbourne young Charles was a bit of a deer in the headlights, new to the big red team and looking to make friends and not rock the boat. Some adversity, some wins and some heartbreaks last year had Charles all grown up looking to supplant his teammate as the face of Ferrari.

Leclerc is strong on Saturdays – he out-qualified Seb 11 to nine last year – and he will look to continue this in 2020.


Red Bull

After a great second half of last year combined with a promising driver lineup, there’s hope that Red Bull can push them into the top 2 in the constructors’ title. Red Bull are into the second year of their relationship with Honda which was very impressive last year. With improved reliability and an aggressive driver pair, Red Bull are coming out swinging.

Max Verstappen
We forget just how young Max is. Making his debut in 2015 at 17, he is now a veteran of the sport at just 22 when drivers are just beginning their F1 careers. Max rings every drop out of Red Bull in qualifying and on race day so look for him to take every opportunity and capitalise on the mistakes of others.

Always in the hunt for a podium and fastest lap, Max is out to prove he and Red Bull have what it takes this year.

Alexander Albon
What a whirlwind rookie year Alex had – a last-minute call up from Formula E to Toro Rosso, then switching mid-season into the big boy Red Bull team. A really strong showing in Brazil 2019, looking at a podium before getting spun by Hamilton in the final laps, Albon has shown glimpses of his ability to break late and make moves.

In one of the top three teams, Alex should be getting sixth or better each week. He will be looking to split the Ferraris for fifth this week with his eyes on regular podiums.


Renault

Hugely disappointing season in 2019, mostly due to reliability issues. Renault struggled in low downforce corners but zoomed away in power sections. This, combined with Daniel Ricciardo moving into a brand new manufacture and having to learn the car early on, meant Renault fell to 5th in the constructors. Look for them to bounce back this year and be knocking on the door of third if things go their way.

Daniel Ricciardo
It is beyond obvious how important a home win would be to Riccardo. The Perth boy has been close before, but was stripped of 2nd place for fuel flow issues in 2014. Last year’s heartbreaking incident off the line will surely have the Honey Badger fired up for a great result. He has openly spoken about doing less media in the lead up to Melbourne in order to focus on his race preparations.

In the last year of his contract with Renault, Riccardo is looking to have a strong season and show everyone he has what it takes to sign that next big contract. Likely to qualify in the top 10, ‘The last of the late breakers’ will be looking to move up the grid. If you’re looking for a patriotic bet, he should be finishing just off the podium, but in the points.

Esteban Ocon
Spending last year as a reserve driver with the constructor champions Mercedes, his gap year from Formula 1 will have Ocon primed and ready to prove all those wrong who overlooked him for a seat last year. The Frenchman in the French car can only be a good thing. Ocon is a fierce competitor and refuses to back down on track. He is an all or nothing kind of driver so look for him to get in the points or put it in the wall.


Racing Point

New car looks great and based on testing results, Racing Point can compete with the top of the mid-pack. The driver lineup is where the wheels fall off. Lance Stroll last year was horrific at qualifying and could easily undo all the good work of teammate Sergio Perez if they don’t both consistently score points. This season is riding on Stroll taking a leap and being able to qualify well and score points each week.

Sergio Perez
The talk of the town after testing, ‘Checo’ in the new-look pink panther Racing Point were challenging Renault and McLaren for ‘best of the rest’. Sergio has always been a quality driver but has never quite had the car to consistently battle with the other midfield teams.

This is a hard one to pick. Based on last year’s car we would guess somewhere around 10th but this recent testing form has us thinking seventh isn’t off the cards. Look here for top six betting.

Lance Stroll
‘Son of the team owner’ is a stigma that unfortunately follows Lance everywhere he turns. Full credit to him for some solid comeback driving and executing great strategies to climb some places on Sundays. However, Lance is a terrible qualifier, being beaten 18-3 in qualifying versus his teammate Perez and only making it to Q3 once last year.

Even with the dramatic improvements of this year’s car, it is unlikely Stroll will make it out of Q2, and even less likely he will out-qualify his teammate.


McLaren

Huge comeback season for McLaren, from near the bottom to the best of the rest is a huge improvement. They are definitely on the right track and looks like the McLaren of old has returned.

This, however, is potentially a consolidation year. McLaren have locked in a switch back to a Mercedes power unit for 2021. Combined with new regulations, it’s highly likely they put all their energy into the future and let this year run with minimal input. Expect a little drop this year in the standings, but back again stong in 2021.

Carlos Sainz
Considered the ‘best of the rest’ last year. Sainz really impressed in his first year at McLaren, getting his first podium and getting some massive points hauls for the team to comfortably score them fourth in the constructors’ title ahead of Renault. Carlos really shines on race day – he is dead-even in qualifying with teammate Lando, but when it is for points Carlos wins out.

Expect to see McLaren in the middle of the pack. Many expect them to be putting a lot of energy into next year’s new car so I see Sainz hovering at the back of the top 10 in qualifying and in races.

Lando Norris
Probably the most unlucky driver last year. Poor rookie Norris was plagued with reliability issues leading to multiple DNFs and other times strategies fell apart with safety cars giving others advantages.

Lando did show great ability in qualifying, staying neck-and-neck all season with Sainz. Lando will be challenging for points this week and expect to see him through to Q3 in qualifying.


Alpha Tauri

New year, new name. Now named after the Red Bull clothing line, the team has been elevated from a Jr team to a fully-fledged team in their own right. Toro Rosso had some great results last year but lacked the consistency in the driver line up. Alpha Tauri are looking to push and compete with the top of the midfield.

Pierre Gasly
Rough year in 2019 for Gasly, getting demoted at the mid-season break back to Toro Rosso after failing to perform in Red Bull. Gasly did produce better results once back at Toro Rosso and even scored a podium in Brazil. The new Alpha Tauri looks amazing, but does it have the go under all that show? Expect Gasly to beat teammate Daniil Kvyat in qualifying and make it to Q2.

Daniil Kvyat
A great start to 2019 with some great qualifying and race results, but cooled off late in the year. Highlight of the year was a podium in the ice rink that was Hockenheim where half the grid ended up in the wall.

Daniil is on the edge of sneaking into Q2 and likely to finish in the back third of drivers this week. Also never count out the torpedo to make a move and it all goes horribly wrong. If we have a safety car this week it’s likely to have Kvyat sitting in a wall without wheels as the dust settles.


Alfa Romeo

Not much to say about Alfa. We haven’t heard much in the way of massive improvements from the team with the same lineup as the year before. It looks like business as usual for Alfa this year. Fingers crossed for a Kimi podium in the twilight of his career.

Kimi Raikkonen
Everyone loves Kimi. The most relaxed and low-key guy in the paddock, it is easy to forget he is still racing sometimes. An all-time great for sure but it seems those days are fading. After the midseason break last year it looked as though Kimi came back still in holiday mode. He’s consistent and should make it into Q2 and will finish the race outside of the points.

Antonio Giovinazzi
Very unsure about the young Italian improving much on last year. He was frequently beaten by the old veteran Kimi in qualifying and on race day. Alfa looks to stay around the same level as last year and I expect a very under-the-radar performance from Giovinazzi, maybe sneaking into Q2 and finishing around the same area.


HAAS

Very disappointing year in 2019 for Haas with drivers crashing into each other, reliability issues and a title sponsor debacle to name a few.

Haas is going to rebound massively this year and look to get back on track fighting in the thick of the midfield. If the drivers can keep from colliding with one another on race day and some technical woes have been fixed Haas could be fighting for 6th.

Kevin Magnussen
In a season fraught with technical challenges, Kmag shone as the driver of choice in the line-up. An incredible qualifier, but in a car that was unable to maintain tyres or stay cool during races. Kmag has the potential to be a top 10 driver if Haas can get the car more reliable and better in race conditions and not just over one lap. Magnussen is a strong qualifier so look for him to make Q3.

Romain Grosjean
Very hot and cold. Some weeks he can qualify in the top five, next week he is running in 18th or crashed out. This, coupled with Haas’ technical difficulties, means Grosjean is hard to predict. Two years running Grosjean has had problems forcing him to retire the car. He might be a chance for a DNF this week.


Williams

Sad to see a great historic team like Williams bringing up the rear each week. Missing the first two days of testing in 2019 and never making it out of Q1 and hoping other teams retire so you can move up some positions is not how you want to run an F1 team.

The only points collected all year were Robert Kubica who outlasted the carnage of Hockenheim where half the grid crashed out. We can expect much of the same this year for Williams with maybe the occasional appearance in Q2 by Russell.

George Russell
A frustrating year for the rookie. Last year the car was horrific which makes it really hard to gauge a driver’s talent in a car like that. What we could see is George out-qualifying his teammate every single race.

The Williams car looks much better this year and is hoping to compete and off the bottom of the standings this year. Russell is a very consistent and opportunistic driver. If an incident occurs, George is a great qualifier and is likely to beat out his rookie teammate in qualifying and in the race.

Nicholas Latifi
The only rookie we have this season. Nicholas Latifi has come from a solid background in F2 – he didn’t win the championship but has had a few years hovering around the top. Hard to see the rookie having the talent or car to give him a big result this week. Likely to see Latifi bringing up the rear unless we have some cars retire throughout the race.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Lewis Hamilton for 5 units

BACK – Max Verstappen Podium Finish for 3 units

BACK – Daniel Ricciardo Points Finish for 2 units


For further analysis on the Australian GP, have a listen to the AUSF1 Podcast.


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