The 2016 Formula One season will kick start this weekend with Melbourne’s Albert Park playing host to the 2016 Australian Grand Prix. It will be the 19th time in the last 21 seasons that Australia has been the venue of the opening race. Australia was added to the F1 Championship in 1985 but has a long history prior to that as a non-Championship race.
Mercedes-Benz enter this weekend as serious favourites having won the last two seasons with great dominance. World Champion Lewis Hamilton is the defending champion here and is just one pole position short of becoming the third driver to reach 50 pole positions – after the legendary Aryton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Odds of $1.73 at William Hill make him the favourite to retain his crown.
Hamilton’s biggest threat comes from his own team as Nico Rosberg looks to continue his stupendous form from the end of the last season. Having won the last three races in 2015 after taking six pole positions, the German will be looking to join an exclusive club of drivers to take seven pole positions consecutively. Can he do the onerous task of side-stepping his compatriot? He is offered at odds of $3.50 at William Hill to win the race.
On the other hand, McLaren will hope to come out of its worst nightmare of last year after placing ninth in the constructors’ championship to record its worst finish since 1980. The team has reasons to believe that the preparations are much better than 2015 but much will depend on Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard missed last year’s Australian race as a result of concussion but has an impressive record at Albert Park. He has never retired in 13 starts in Australia and has not finished lower than fifth, including a win in 2006. Can he do an encore? At odds of $101 at William Hill he is definitely a rank outsider but don’t rule him out yet.
Ferrari, the indisputable giant of yesteryear, will also be desperate to shape its comeback. Sebastian Vettel will be keen to challenge for top honours while Kimi Raikkonen will not be eyeing a supporting role.
All eyes will be on the Renault-powered cars and the Honda-powered McLarens and reports from the pre-season training indicate that Red Bull Racing and Renault could surprise many in Australia. The new qualifying format may be one of the other surprises for the drivers with Pirelli allowing the teams to pick from three different compounds instead of two, which could end up being an inspired move.
The overall view is that the field is definitely closer than last year which points to a humdinger of a race this weekend.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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