How the Bookies See It
- Australian Grand Prix Winner: Lewis Hamilton 11/8, Sebastian Vettel 7/2, Valtteri Bottas 6/1, Kimi Raikkonen 9/1 – William Hill
- 2017 Drivers’ Championship: Lewis Hamilton 1/1, Sebastian Vettel 7/2, Valtteri Bottas 5/1 – Paddy Power
- 2017 Constructors’ Championship: Mercedes 4/9, Ferrari 3/1, Red Bull 11/2 – SkyBet
- Lewis Hamilton ended the 2016 Formula 1 racing season with 380 points, which was just five points behind Drivers' Champion Nico Rosberg. Hamilton didn’t start last season particularly well, and his first win for Mercedes didn’t come until the sixth race of the season, in Monaco, but he had a fairly solid run for several races after that, and he finished the year with four wins in a row. Three-time champion Hamilton has won the Australian Grand Prix twice, and those wins were achieved in 2008 and 2015. He finished in second place here in 2016, just over eight seconds behind the winner, Nico Rosberg.
- Sebastien Vettel finished third in the 2016 Australian Grand Prix for Ferrari, and he finished the whole of last season in fourth place, with 212 points. That was a good achievement when one considers that the German driver didn’t win any Grand Prix races last year, but he will undoubtedly be hoping to fare much better this year. Vettel has won four Drivers’ Championships, the most recent in 2013, and his last Grand Prix win was achieved in Singapore in September 2015.
- Valtteri Bottas has yet to win a Grand Prix, not to mention a Championship, but he managed to finish in eighth place for the 2016 season as a whole (with 85 points), and now that he will be driving for Mercedes it may not be long before he achieves his first victory.
- Kimi Raikkonen ended the 2016 season in sixth place, with 186 points. He didn’t win any races last year, and in fact he hasn’t won a Grand Prix since the one in Australia in 2013, but the bookies have him installed as the fourth favourite to repeat that feat this weekend.
If there’s one thing that Lewis Hamilton will have learned from last year, it is the fact that the start of the season can make or break a driver’s chances of winning the championship. Although he put up a very good fight in the closing stages of 2016, he couldn’t quite overtake his team mate, and he will therefore be very keen to get 2017 off to the best possible start by winning the Australian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel will likely view Rosberg’s retirement as a golden opportunity to win his first Drivers’ Championship since 2013, but he still has Hamilton to deal with, and we don’t see the Mercedes driver being any kind of pushover. Valtteri Bottas will also be very interesting to watch now that he too is driving for Mercedes, but we would be surprised to see him beat Hamilton in his first race for the new team.
For all of those reasons, we will side with Lewis Hamilton to have the best start to 2017 by winning the Australian Grand Prix.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Lewis Hamilton to win the Australian Grand Prix – 10/11 at William Hill
*Please note, odds may change as the race approaches.