Australian GP tips: Can Vettel beat Hamilton in race one?

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The new Formula One season roars into life this Sunday, with the traditional curtain raiser in Australia.

There’s plenty to be excited about for the year ahead. With plenty of driver changes and new rules aimed at creating better racing.

Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a sixth world championship this year, while Sebastian Vettel will be desperate to avenge two seasons of being outfoxed by the Brit and his Mercedes team.

Can Vettel and Ferrari turn the tables? We’ll get our first clues this weekend.

Australian GP Winner odds

Pre-season testing certainly suggested the Italian squad have found something extra. Vettel and new team-mate Charles Leclerc were raving about the SF90.

Ferrari’s pace in winter running has impressed our traders, with Vettel 7/4 favourite to win on Sunday for the third year in a row, ahead of Leclerc at 2/1.

That leaves Hamilton in the unusual position of third in the race winner betting at 5/2. Mercedes showed plenty of pace in testing, but it’s widely believed they’re still on the back foot compared to their red rivals.

Could that let Red Bull in? Max Verstappen is the team leader now, following Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Renault. The Dutchman was superb in the second half of 2018, and could be a contender at 15/2.

Alternative Australian GP odds

Pierre Gasly is Verstappen’s team-mate this year. Both drivers have been impressed with the new Honda power unit. There’s 8/1 for Gasly to collect a podium on debut for his new team.

Looking further down the grid, the Alfa Romeo team are out to impress. The squad have taken over the Sauber team, with Kimi Raikkonen partnering Antonio Giovinazzi.

The Finn looks as rapid as ever, and might fancy himself to sneak into the top six on Sunday at 10/3.

And what about some first lap drama? Drivers have waited all winter to go racing, and we’ve seen big shunts into turn one before. Our traders go 4/11 about the safety car coming out for the first race of the season.

Finally, this weekend sees the reintroduction of a point handed out for the Fastest Lap. Drivers will need to finish in the points to be eligible, but this could spark a flurry of late-race activity.

Valtteri Bottas claimed the award seven times last season, and is 10/1 to do so on Sunday. Daniel Ricciardo posted four fastest laps in 2018, and is a chunky 40/1 to post the quickest time during his first race with Renault.

Click here for all our Formula One odds.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.