F1 guru backs Safety Car to show and McLaren woe in Australia

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After months of talking and speculation, it is time for answers when Formula 1 returns with the first race of the 2017 season this weekend in Melbourne.

Two weeks of testing have increased expectations that there will be a real fight for the championships between at least two different teams this season, as Ferrari set the pace in pre-season.

You’re unlikely to get big returns on whether the Mercedes dominance will continue at the Australian Grand Prix or not, so I’ve picked out three alternative markets worth your attention this weekend at Albert Park.

The safety car to make an appearance @ 1/3

A safety car appearance is always likely on a street track and the temporary nature of the Albert Park circuit falls into that category.

The chances of the race being neutralised are heightened by the fact it is the first of the season and teams are still ironing out reliability problems with their new cars.

The safety car has also appeared in each of the last three Grand Prix in Melbourne, and four of the last five in total.

And a tight Turn 1 with 20 all-new, wider cars only increases the likelihood of an incident that will require the safety car once again.

A Williams to finish top three in qualifying @ 12/1

Mercedes has certainly been hiding pace, but it is one of its customer teams that has caught the eye in pre-season. Williams endured a tough first week but showed strong pace in the second test.

The car looks quick over one lap, and the Mercedes power unit has traditionally been able to deliver its best performance in qualifying. Felipe Massa was third in qualifying two years ago here, so why not bet on history repeating, especially at a handy 12/1?

You could also punt for Massa each-way in qualifying at 80/1, while Lance Stroll to land a mega debut on Saturday is 125/1.

Both McLarens to retire @ 2/1

McLaren had a nightmare pre-season, with the Honda power unit proving to be both underpowered and unreliable.

The team has not completed more than 12 laps in one go, but will need to 58 laps to complete the race distance.

With executive director Zak Brown admitting a good result would be seeing the chequered flag, there’s every chance reliability could rule both cars out of a race that often sees a high number of retirements.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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