Australian F1 Grand Prix
2014 Formula One P+L: 0 points
So after all of the excitement of preseason testing, what can we expect when they line up in Melbourne at the weekend? Last year Sebastian Vettel took pole during qualification (shock!) with Kimi Raikkonen beating Fernando Alonso and the German come the chequered flag. Before that, Jenson Button had won 3 out of 4 and Vettel has won here just once in his career after having some terrible luck down under.
Melbourne is a 5.3km track with 16 turns and it is very similar in type to Montreal. The races here in the past have produced a high-speed contest with smooth drivers being rewarded. There have been more than a handful of big crashes so let’s hope all drivers stay safe whatever happens. The ideal profile to look for here seems to be a consistent driver who is going to avoid most of the trouble and get his car round in one piece. Finding such individual in the first race of the year after a tumultuous preseason is going to be a challenge but we’ll give it a go!
The bookmakers have installed Lewis Hamilton (9/4) and Nico Rosberg (4/1) as the two favourites here. This is hardly surprising after testing and it may not be a profitable strategy to try and avoid them. Out of these two, I’d certainly rather be with Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton is undoubtedly quicker than his teammate but he is also prone to a mistake or two and at the current prices it wouldn’t be a risk I’d want to take. Alonso (9/1), Massa(11/1) and the track specialist Button (14/1) come next in the market. All three warrant serious consideration. I’d be wary that Felipe Massa may just find one or two too good for his Williams car and he would need an awful lot of luck to finish top of the podium. I would advise not backing any Ferrari cars until we see how the new partnership works out and at 9/1, I’m more than happy to let Fernando Alonso go. It’s harder to dismiss his partner at 16/1 but we will do.
Jenson Button at 14/1 is of major interest. Obviously he has great form at the track and the Mclaren cars have been really firing during testing. He will be out to make a point this year to supporters, pundits and his own teammate that last season was a horrible one-off. If he wants to prove that he is still a live contender, this is his best chance to show it. Good memories breed confidence and confidence breeds success (hopefully!) and I’ll certainly be getting involved in the outright winner market for Jenson. With rain forecast on Saturday (during qualifying), it all looks set up for him to go from well up the grid and bring it home in the first race of the year. Whatever the case, he is overpriced here and is worth a play.
Of the rest, we have Bottas, Vettel and Magnussen all at similar prices(16/1-20/1). Bottas is interesting due to the success of Williams and Magnussen for the same reason in his Mclaren. Vettel can not be confidently backed but you’ll very rarely see 18/1 about a 4 time defending champion! It would be foolish to confidently say he won’t win and has no chance but you’d also be brave to firmly believe Red Bull will have ironed out all of their running issues. The rest are all massive prices and we won’t even consider a complete shock!
I’ll be playing in the podium finish market with Felipe Massa (discussed above) as well as Button as the winner. If rain does indeed come on Saturday, I’d be monitoring the “pole position” markets but it’s not something I’ll be overly excited about so early in the season.
There is no doubt that the two Mercedes cars are the ones to beat and they could indeed romp the field (similar to the Mclarens back in 1998 when Coulthard and Hakkinen lapped every other rival) but their prices really don’t excite me. I couldn’t talk anybody out of backing them if they really fancied them but 9/4 and 4/1 are not for me with all the question marks surrounding this season and the running of the cars.
If you haven’t already, give my overall season preview piece a read to let you know the basics of the new rules and who is lining up for which team this year. It is located here
1pt win Jenson Button 14/1 (BetVictor)
1pt podium finish Felipe Massa 11/4 (Skybet)
I’ll certainly be keeping stakes low for the first few races while the teams and the drivers get to grips with the new regulations and the new season. Hopefully, Jenson will get us off to a great start and we’ll see a profitable 2014 season. Tweet me or comment below with your best bets for this weekend’s action.