It’s been a long and painful wait, but finally the 2015 F1 season is around the corner and, before you watch the Australian Grand Prix practice and qualifying sessions, we’ve got a few bets for you to consider.
2015 F1 Australian Grand Prix Betting
Pre-season testing showed that the Mercedes works cars are just under a second per lap quicker than the rest of the field, so it looks highly likely that one of their drivers will win the Australian Grand Prix unless both cars break down during the race. I’m more interested in other markets, but you can back Hamilton at 11/10 and Rosberg at 11/4 – both with William Hill – to win the race and turn a profit if one wins.
2015 F1 Australian Grand Prix Betting Without Mercedes
This is where it gets a bit more interesting as there are a few notable contenders. Firstly, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (9/4 Betfred). Now, the Finish driver didn’t win a race in 2014, but finished on the podium six times and looks good enough to be a future world champion. Interestingly, it was at the 2014 Australian GP that Bottas really showed his potential, finishing fifth after clipping the wall and suffering a puncture. Had neither of those errors occurred, the Williams driver would likely have made the podium.
Next up is former F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel (3/1, Ladbrokes). Now driving for Ferrari, 27-year-old Vettel has already won more championships (4) than most drivers do in their careers, so he has time on his side to win more and retires as one of the most successful drivers ever if he doesn’t. Notably, the 2015 Ferrari engine is a vast improvement on the 2014 version, constantly finishing near the top of the timesheets in each of the recent pre-season tests.
2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen (4/1, Ladbrokes) is also a Ferrari driver, and the Finn – who had a poor 2014 by his standards – looks set for a strong season given his pre-season lap times and smooth driving. Of course, whilst driving for Lotus, Kimi is an Australian GP winner, having lifted the title in 2013.
Red Bull’s three-time 2014 race winner Daniel Ricciardo (4/1, Ladbrokes) is certainly a contender in the betting without Mercedes market and, as we saw in the 2014 Australian GP, is capable of outperforming his car. However, the Australian looks likely to have to do just that on home soil this weekend as the Renault engine his car contains is less powerful than its Mercedes and Ferrari counterparts.
The final shortlisted contender is Brazilian Felipe Massa (11/2, Ladbrokes). Massa’s Williams car is the second fastest on the grid and fastest in a straight line. Why is he 11/2 then, you might ask? Well, it’s because he’s crash prone. Indeed, while it wasn’t his fault, Massa’s 2014 Aus GP race was over after the first corner when another car crashed into him. Whether his fault or the other drivers’, this happened a few times in 2014. Even still, Massa is pretty good value in a market that pays 1/5 the odds for a place, which – assuming the two Mercedes drivers finish first and second – means that you would still make a profit on an each-way bet if the Brazilian finished fifth.
2015 F1 Australian Grand Prix Points Finish Betting
One-time F1 race winner Pastor Maldonado is a driver to consider for a points finish at the 2015 Australian GP, simply because his Lotus car contains a Mercedes engine. However, I think that Lotus’ other driver, Romain Grosjean (5/6, SkyBet) is a better driver and a better bet.
But then, ever since the first test in which I noticed how much the Ferrari engine had improved since 2014, I’ve been desperate to back a Ferrari-powered Sauber car to finish in the top ten at the Australian GP. Pointless last season – for the first time in 22 years – I’d be willing to bet as much as I’m allowed that this isn’t the case with Sauber this season.
Indeed, Sauber had the second most running time in 2015 pre-season testing, behind Mercedes, even topping the timesheets on occasion. So we know that, while not a race winner and unlikely to compete for podiums, the Sauber car appears reliable over race distance and quicker than any of the other midfield to bottom of the grid cars.
Sauber’s 2015 drivers are Felipe Nasr (5/2, Stan James) and Marcus Ericsson (3/1, Stan James). Out of the two, put simply, whilst Ericsson is in his second season as an F1 driver, I think that the less experienced Nasr will prove to be the better driver. Both are former GP2 drivers, and Ericsson actually beat Nasr to the 2014 GP championship title, but the Swede didn’t impress in his debut season with the now defunct Caterham – often beaten by his teammate – and Nasr, who was test driver for Williams in 2014, has received glowing reports from the F1 paddock and actually topped the timesheets on the third day of testing in Jerez.
Finally, the two Toro Rosso drivers – Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr – must get a mention as both have impressed enough in pre-season testing to be viable contenders to finish in the points down under. Each driver is in his rookie season, with Spaniard Sainz being the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 champion and Belgian Verstappen a ten-time race winner in the 2014 Formula Three series.
Indeed, after rookie’s Kevin Magnusson (3rd but promoted to second) and Daniil Kvyatt (9th) both finished in the top ten of the 2014 Australian GP, don’t be surprised if 17-year-old Verstappen becomes the youngest ever points scorer in F1 history.
2015 F1 Australian GP Betting Advised bets:
Betting without Mercedes: Bottas at 5/2, Vettel at 3/1 – both with Ladbrokes
Points finish: Nasr @ 5/2, Verstappen @ 3/1 – both with Stan James
Whatever you bet on, enjoy the Grand Prix weekend, which starts with the first practice session in the early hours of Friday morning and finishes with the actual race on Sunday morning – all live on Sky Sports F1.