Ominous is probably the best word to use after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ensured another Mercedes lockout on the front row of the grid for the first race of the 2015 Formula One season.
The Mercedes teammates were on the front row together for the final eight races of last season and it will be more of the same in Melbourne.
If anything, the gap to the chasing pack looks even bigger this year at the Australian Grand Prix, so don’t be surprised if this is a common feature at all 20 races on the Formula One calendar.
It was Hamilton that was supremely dominant as he posted a time over 0.5 seconds quicker than Rosberg. Felipe Massa’s Williams was almost a further second slower in third spot.
For Hamilton, it’s the 39th pole position of his career and it is no surprise that he is as skinny as 4/11 to start the season with the maximum 25 points in Melbourne.
However, there are reasons to believe that if Hamilton is going to have a setback, then Australia is the location.
Hamilton hasn’t tasted Australian Grand Prix victory since 2008 and comfortably out-qualified the rest of the grid last season before his engine lost a cylinder early in the race, which eventually caused his retirement.
The reigning world champion also arrives having triumphed in six of the final seven races of last season, finishing second in the other.
Sebastian Vettel was equally dominant in 2013 when winning the last nine races of the season, Australia spoiled his streak last year.
In fact, the last time that the defending world champion took the chequered flag in the season opener in Melbourne was Vettel in 2011. The results of the last three years go against Hamilton.
Therefore, with Mercedes so far ahead of the opposition, if Hamilton doesn’t win, then the only alternative is to bet on Rosberg at quite an enticing 9/4. Not often can punters get 9/4 on what is pretty much a two-horse race.
Punters wanting a bigger price should look at the other markets on offer for the race, with Massa a lofty 25/1 to be the first driver to retire.
This is Massa’s first ever top-three qualification in Australia, but four times previously he has failed to make it beyond the first corner because he has either spun out or crashed. With luck like this, his price is worth considering, even if the McLaren’s of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen look primed for early failure.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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