Guest Post from Daniel Murphy
The long wait is finally over for motorsport fans around the world as the teams and drivers prepare for the first round of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship.
Who will take to the track come free practice one Friday is possibly more of a mystery than who will be standing on the podium come Sunday. With ongoing legal battles between drivers and teams, a phoenix like resurrection from Manor Marussia, and the very late arrival of Force India’s 2015 challenger there has been an unusual amount of focus on the back of the grid coming into Melbourne.
Add to this Fernando Alonso’s mysterious testing crash which has forced him to miss the season opener, and its been quite the month leading into the new season.
But beneath the mystery and intrigue and usual ducks and drakes that is pre-season testing there are some form lines to read for those willing to risk the uncertainty and have a bet this weekend.
While we won’t fully know the relative pace of each car until qualifying on Saturday, it is safe to assume that the two silver arrows will again lead the field at Albert Park.
Clearly the fastest package in testing, the two Mercedes of World Champion Lewis Hamilton and 2014 runner up Nico Rosberg should be dueling out the top step of the podium. Currently making up around 70% of the market, a bet on Mercedes to win the race at anything above$1.40 should provide value. Anything above $2.00 for Hamilton to secure pole position is also worth considering.
Who has the second fastest car in the field is less clear, and it seems to be a very even race between Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Williams are hoping to build on their impressive 2014 and have a driver lineup capable of a title tilt. Valtteri Bottas is maturing into one of the championship’s top shelf drivers, while the vastly experienced Felipe Massa is still a threat to win races. Both are genuine podium chances, and could snag a victory if circumstances fall their way.
How quickly Ferrari’s new signing Sebastian Vettel can challenge for race wins is yet to be seen and this uncertainty makes it impossible to tip him, or team mate Raikkonen in Melbourne. Ferrari did look strong in testing however (as they always seem to), so they are certainly under a watch for future races.
Hometown favourite Daniel Ricciardo will be looking to atone for last years disappointing disqualification by again challenging for a podium position. Ricciardo seems the man most likely to challenge Mercedes for the title, however currently listed at $76.00 for the win team mate Daniil Kvyat seems overs and for those looking for a bit of value he is worth considering for a podium. Red Bull’s junior development program is second to none, and Kvyat’s swift promotion to partner Ricciardo certainly suggests the team have a high opinion of the young Russian.
For those looking for an interesting proposition bet for the weekend it is worth having a look at the odds available for whether there will be a safety car appearance at Albert Park. With 5 appearances in the past 7 years it seems quite likely it will be back again. If you can find a price above $1.40 for yes, or $3.51 for no its definitely worth a punt and should spice up the race for those watching!
Good luck to all those having a punt this weekend.