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As the new Formula One season gets set to race into life, our F1 tipster is here to bring a few ante post thoughts as well as his tips ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
F1 Season Preview
The British driver is bidding to become only the third driver in history to win the title more than four times and based on pre-season testing, Mercedes are very much the team to beat.
They appear to have the beating of the opposition on the timesheets and their reliability and strategic nous should ensure a smooth passage to a fifth successive constructors’ championship for which they are 33/100.
It’s Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas that I fancy to win this year’s championship though.
He performed creditably as a last-minute replacement for the outgoing Nico Rosberg in 2017, winning three times and playing a solid, if unrecognised role, in Mercedes’ fourth successive constructors’ title.
Bottas outperformed his teammate in a number of races before Hamilton got comfortable with the car. A mid-season dip tainted the Finn’s record slightly, but he recovered to finish only 12 points behind Sebastian Vettel in third place in the drivers’ standings.
Hamilton is very much the one to beat and it’s a slight stab in the dark with Bottas, but the fact only two people have won more than four world titles shows how big of a task Hamilton has on his plate.
Another bet I’m interested in is the number of races the Finn will win this year. I’m confident that with a full year in F1’s benchmark team under his belt, Bottas will improve again. He’s had all summer to get the new car tweaked to his liking and so should easily be able to match last season’s win tally.
Back him to win over 2.5 races during the season at 9/10.
Australian Grand Prix Preview
Lewis Hamilton topped the speed charts in practice and inevitably is the hot favourite at 7/10 to win the race for a third time. A victory in Melbourne would be the 63rd of his career.
Last year, the Ferrari’s fared best at street circuits like Melbourne but the car has undergone significant changes over the off-season and based on practice so far, that advantage may have been ironed out.
Pre-season testing is always a prevalent method when deciphering the early-season races and based on that, I’m once again going to look at Bottas at 7/1 to win in Australia.
The performances of each car in testing suggest that Mercedes have maintained their small but significant edge on race pace. While the Albert Park street circuit is a very different to Montmelo, I would be surprised if both Mercedes cars were not on the podium come Sunday. Lewis Hamilton is the more likely winner but at the prices, I have to side with his teammate.
Bottas was placed in 13 of 20 races last season, including at Melbourne and he is generously priced at 7/1 to do the same on Sunday.