Formula 1 Season Opens at Australian Grand Prix

aussie grand prix

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 1:59 PM GMT

Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018 1:59 PM GMT

The Formula 1 season begins Sunday with the running of the 58-lap Australian Grand Prix from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit track in Albert Park. Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team will both start defense of their 2017 overall titles in the first event of the 21-race F1 season.

The Australian Grand Prix from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit track in Albert Park will open up the 2018 F1 World Championship season on Sunday (ESPN2, 1:10 am ET) with defending Drivers’ Championship winner Lewis Hamilton (-140 to win Drivers’ Championship, 5Dimes; Field +120) set to begin defense of that title in the 21-race FIA season. As we talked about last week in our Drivers' Championship and Constructors' Champions Futures odds story, the 33-year-old Brit Hamilton is a very heavy Favorite to repeat as champion, and after winning at least one Grand Prix in each of his first 11 F1 seasons, both Hamilton and his Mercedes AMG Petronas (-220 to win Constructors’ Championship, 5Dimes) team will be hard to beat this coming F1 season.

The 58-lap Australian Grand Prix is the oldest Motor Racing competition from Down Under, and this will be the 80th running of the event with 30-year-old German Sebastian Vettel looking to repeat after winning in Melbourne last year (1:24.11.672) and also seeking his 100th lifetime trip to the podium. Hamilton finished 2nd in the Australian Grand Prix in 2017, 9.975 seconds back, with Valtteri Bottas finishing in 3rd, 11.250 seconds behind Vettel. Hamilton (2007, 2014), Vettel (2011, 2017) and Kimi Räikkönen (2007, 2013) — who had the fastest lap last year — have all won this race two times.

5Dimes Odds To Win Australian Grand Prix
  • Lewis Hamilton +110
  • Sebastian Vettel +350
  • Max Verstappen +600
  • Valtteri Bottas +750
  • Daniel Ricciardo +800
  • Kimi Räikkönen +2800
  • Fernando Alonso +6600
  • Stoffel Vandoorne +20000
  • Nico Hulkenberg +25000
  • Carlos Sainz +25000
  • Esteban Ocon +30000
  • Sergio Pérez +30000
  • Romain Grosjean +50000
  • Kevin Magnussen +50000
  • Sergey Sirotkin +100000
  • Lance Stroll +100000
  • Marcus Ericsson +200000
  • Pierre Gasly +200000
  • Brendon Hartley +200000
  • Charles Leclerc +200000

Last 10 Winners Of Australian Grand Prix
  • 2017—Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2016—Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
  • 2015—Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2014—Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
  • 2013—Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus-Renault)
  • 2012—Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes)
  • 2011—Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)
  • 2010—Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes)
  • 2009—Jenson Button (Brawn-Mercedes)
  • 2008—Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)

Australian Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull-Aston Martin team will obviously be the sentimental favorite in this 16-turn race, which is 307.574 kilometers (191.071 miles) long and will see Rookie F1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin giving it a nervous go in Melbourne on Sunday. Considered by some the best driver of this generation, race favorite Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate, 28-year-old Finn Bottas should be contested by (Scuderia) Ferrari-driver Vettel, a savvy four-time F1 champion (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) along with his Ferrari teammate, Räikkönen of Finland.

Verstappen and Red Bull could possibly surprise here, and remember that the 20-year-old Belgian-Dutchman became the youngest driver ever to compete — as well as lead a lap — in an F1 race in this event in 2015 when he was 17 (and 166 days), so you know Verstappen knows this crooked track that surrounds Albert Park Lake. And Spaniard and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and his McLaren team may also be one to watch, although the odds scream that this race is Hamilton’s to lose.

On tap on the upcoming Formula 1 schedule for the month of April, the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir, Bahrain, on April 9, the Chinese Grand Prix from Shanghai International Circuit on April 15 and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from Baku City Circuit in Baku on April 29.

Free F1 Winner Pick: VettelBest Line Offered: 5Dimes
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