The last time the world witnessed a Formula 1 race at Australia, wearing masks wasn’t a thing. The Australian Grand Prix has been a long time coming. This F1 season is already living up to its billing as one that will go down to the wire again.
According to the F1 odds at Sportsbook, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is the favorite to win the race by a slim margin after his victory at Saudi Arabia, followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz.
Australian Grand Prix Odds
Odds as of April 7 at Sportsbook
Previous F1 Race News
The 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix produced a whole host of interesting talking points. Both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc showed their ability to race wheel to wheel through hard braking zones and flat-out corners. Sergio Perez’s pole position proved how much more comfortable the Mexican driver has become in the Red Bull car, and on the flip side, Lewis Hamilton’s dismal weekend proved how much work the Mercedes team has ahead of itself.
The battle between Verstappen and Leclerc has become an underlying theme of the past two races, and there’s no reason to think that will change any time soon. However, one point that we must take away from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is Red Bull’s superior pit stop strategy.
Red Bull was much more aware of how quickly they could get the hard tires up to temperature, which was an advantage over Ferrari. So, when the virtual safety car was deployed after Alonso and Ricciardo’s retirements, the hard tires of both Leclerc and Verstappen had cooled down. However, Red Bull knew this could be an advantage for them, given the car’s superior ability to get the hard tire up to temperature.
So, in the end, the tire management offered by Red Bull put Verstappen in a better position to win the race. This will be an important point to note heading into the Australian Grand Prix, which will take place in relatively cool conditions on a cloudy weekend at Melbourne.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was certainly a race to remember, but it served up two main takeaways: Ferrari and Red Bull will have a season-long battle for both the driver and constructor championships, and Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are out of contention for race wins at the moment.
We say this, because as the cameras were focused firmly on Max and Charles’ spectacular battle for the top step of the podium, Hamilton was in 10th position, battling issues with his setup. It is a telling sign of how much work the Mercedes team has ahead of them, and although it is a long season, it wouldn’t be a prudent choice to bet on Mercedes to win races any time soon.
All About Ferrari And Red Bull
The two cars at the top of the standings are quite clearly the most well-developed and mature designs on the grid. In a year of new regulations, where adjustment periods have a direct implication on how many points a team can score, it’s hard to bet against Ferrari or Red Bull. While Red Bull has always been known for its ability to create an aerodynamically sound package, Ferrari has fallen behind in recent times.
However, times have changed, and Ferrari has become much better equipped to handle the technical challenges that come with building a top Formula 1 car. Ferrari will be expected to be in contention for race wins throughout this year. This will come as a bit of a relief for Leclerc and Sainz, who have had to be content with finishing in the mid-field in the previous season.
Given the bumpy nature of Albert Park, Red Bull and Ferrari will be better equipped than every other team to navigate the track without porpoising. Further, recent changes to the circuit will make it a lot racier, as cornering speeds are expected to increase.
This implies that cars with a greater straight-line speed and acceleration will stand to benefit the most. Given Red Bull’s impressive straight-line speed in Saudi Arabia, it is not much of a surprise that Max Verstappen is more favored by the odds, albeit marginally.
Sleeper Australian Grand Prix Picks
Given the Red Bull car’s straight-line speed and aerodynamic package, Sergio Perez, whose odds are currently at +1200, can certainly perform better than expectations, especially considering that he out-qualified Max Verstappen for only the second time in his Red Bull stint at Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, it was sheer bad luck that kept Perez out of the podium places in the previous race, as a safety car was deployed while he was in the pits for a tire change. So, those seeking value bets can certainly consider betting on Perez.
Carlos Sainz, whose odds are currently at +800, is also a dark horse for the race win. The Spaniard has historically performed well at high-speed circuits that demand a good mix of risk-taking and smooth driving such as Singapore and Saudi Arabia. Further, given that Leclerc has performed better than Sainz so far this year, he will be looking to bounce back and score more points than his teammate.
Australian Grand Prix History
The Australian Grand Prix is the second-oldest Australian motorsport event, and although the Grand Prix has moved frequently to 23 different venues, Albert Park has been the venue for the Australian Grand Prix since 1996.
Albert Park is a temporary facility, meaning that it can be considered a street circuit. The track is known for its bumpy surface and cars without a robust chassis and suspension have a hard time finding success. The track has been resurfaced over the last year, though, which should assuage matters.
Australian driver Lex Davidson and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher have had the most success at the Australian Grand Prix with four race wins each. The Australian Grand Prix has been the Sportsbook race of the Formula 1 season for most seasons since 1996, except for 2006, 2010 and more recently from 2020 onwards.
Australian Grand Prix Race Information
The 5.3-kilometer-long track will play host to 58 laps of racing on Sunday, amounting to a total race distance of 307.5 kilometers. Famously, Michael Schumacher still holds the lap record with a 1:25.1 in-race lap in the legendary Ferrari F2004, and given the current cars are slower than last year’s cars, the lap record should remain intact over this weekend.
The track demands a compliant front wing as drivers are required to chuck their cars into corners at high speeds. So, teams will be looking to make the most of the free practice sessions to get their suspension set up and balance right. The track has also been changed in places, to make it racier.
Notably, Turn 6 has been widened by 7.5 meters to the drivers’ right, making it much faster. Further, the Turn 9/10 right-left has been scrapped and so Turn 6 will lead to a long, flat-out section. Needless to say, it is important to get Turn 6 absolutely right, or drivers will risk losing out on a flat-out section.
Australian Grand Prix Weather Conditions
It is technically autumn, and conditions are expected to be cloudy with little possibility of rain. Temperatures are forecast to stay between 16 and 27 degrees Celsius.
Australian Grand Prix Betting Strategy
Traditionally, qualifying on pole was crucial to taking victory at the Australian Grand Prix, given the relatively narrow roads and tight corners. However, given the amendments to the track, qualifying on pole isn’t as important as it was before when it comes to staking a claim on the race win. This means that Sainz and Perez, who are both known for tire management, have a puncher’s chance of winning the race on Sunday.
However, all eyes will be on Verstappen and Leclerc in both qualifying and the race. While it’s been hard to predict outcomes so far this year, the Australian F1 Grand Prix odds appropriately reflect where we stand.
Red Bull and Ferrari have so far been closely matched in terms of performance. Red Bull has had better straight-line speed and acceleration, and Ferrari has had a much-improved aerodynamic package compared to previous years.
Both cars are well-rounded and well-suited to perform well at a track like Albert Park where high-speed corners are plentiful. Further, the changes to the Albert Park circuit will make it more conducive to wheel-to-wheel racing.
To put it more simply, the race result will hinge on better driver performance and race strategy on Sunday. Given Verstappen’s penchant for risk-taking and Red Bull’s ability to formulate better race strategies under pressure, it is certainly appropriate for him to be better favored by the odds.