Formula One drivers may experience a false sense of security in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and, therefore, one thinks that the best bet of the Melbourne event is that at least one car retires during the first lap of the race.
Rule changes mean that Formula One cars will be much faster in 2017 than they were in 2016 and, with adrenaline coursing through the veins of 20 drivers all with something to prove, the first corner of the Australian Grand Prix promises to be fraught with danger. There is a feeling among Formula One analysts that overtaking will be more difficult this year than last year and, also, the consensus is that there will be fewer pit stops due to Pirelli’s tyre modifications. So one suspects that Formula One drivers will place a lot of importance on track position and the easiest way to gain places is by pulling off a manoeuvre at the first corner.
The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit around Albert Lake lends itself to incidents at the first corner of the opening lap. Turn one is an challenging, medium speed corner that catches out several drivers because it is a tight turn into which cars funnel from a wide straight and the braking zone is bumpy due to the temporary nature of the racetrack, making it quite easy for competitors to run out of racing room. There have been 21 editions of the Australian Grand Prix conducted on the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit and at least one car has retired on the first lap in 13 of those races, including multiple vehicles in eight of those renewals.
Bwin is offering odds of -167 that there is at least one retirement on the opening lap of the Australian Grand Prix and that strikes one as the most attractive way to wager on the first race of a fascinating Formula One competition.
One does not like to put up a bet without a good statistical case but one is going to make a rare exception and tip that the Australian Grand Prix race winner is likely to start the contest from pole position, an option that BetVictor, William Hill and Winner Sports are quoting at odds of -110 .
Pole sitters have won just nine of the 21 editions of the Australian Grand Prix staged in Melbourne since the race moved from Adelaide but there is a groundswell of opinion among Formula One followers that overtaking will be even harder in 2017 than it was in 2016 and pit stops will be fewer in number. Tougher overtaking and fewer pit stops should skew Formula One races in favour of pole sitters.
Finally, if one is looking for a speculative Australian Grand Prix wager, backing Kimi Raikkonen to secure pole position at odds of +800 with several bookmakers, including BoyleSports, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, is a viable option.
The Australian Grand Prix will be the first acid test for the 10 Formula One teams but Ferrari was the star of the pre-season tests and, if the Prancing Horse are really as fast or faster than Mercedes and Red Bull, then Raikkonen could claim his first pole position since 2008.
Raikkonen beat his Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel, in qualifying for 13 of last season’s 21 Formula One races, including in each of the last five Saturday contests.
A retirement on the opening lap of the Australian Grand Prix
Sunday 26th March, 06:00 GMT
Winner to start from pole position
Sunday 26th March, 06:00 GMT
Kimi Raikkonen to secure pole position
Qualifying – Saturday 26th March, 06:00 GMT