The wait is finally over. The 2019 Formula One season gets underway with the 2019 Australian Grand Prix on March 17, 2019 at the fifteen turn, 5,053 km Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia.

The 2019 Australian Grand Prix is first race of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship and will be contested by 20 drivers representing 10 teams over 58 laps covering a total distance of 307.562 km.

“Racing" The Storyline

This year’s race is the 83rd edition of the Australian Grand Prix and it will be the 35th time that it will be raced under the Formula One banner. The final race is scheduled for March 17, 2019 after two days of practice and qualifying beginning March 15th.

For the first time ever, Formula One is set to launch the new season with an event at Melbourne on March 13th. All 20 drivers will attend the launch which will be held at the Federation Square and which will be free to the public.

Change has been the battle cry during the offseason with teams and drivers going through changes before the season kicks off. Racing Point will be making their debut after acquiring Sahara Force India and racing as Force India last season. Likewise, Alfa Romeo Racing will replace Sauber F1 Team as part of their 2018 sponsorship deal. Kimi Raikkonen returns to his roots at Alfa Romeo Racing and Ferrari replaced him with rising star Charles Leclerc. Australian Daniel Ricciardo also moved from Red Bull to Renault F1 team during the offseason. Pierre Gasly replaced Ricciardo at Red Bull.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel outdueled Lewis Hamilton to win the 2018 Australian Grand Prix. Mercedes’ Hamilton, who claimed pole position, salvaged second place. Australia’s own Daniel Ricciardo, then racing for Red Bull, registered the fastest lap before finishing in fourth place.

This year, Vettel hopes to win his fourth Australian Grand Prix to tie compatriot and F1 legend Michael Schumacher who had a total of four wins in Melbourne. Aside from that, the big stories to watch will be Ricciardo’s debut for Renault, Charles Leclerc’s maiden race for Ferrari and the return of Robert Kubica. Kubica, driving for Williams Racing, will be racing for the first time since a career-threatening crash eight years ago.

“Racing" Race Schedule

Here is the schedule for the 2019 Australian Grand Prix:

Sessions Date Time
Free Practice 1 Friday, March 15th 9:00 A.M.
Free Practice 2 Friday, March 15th 1:00 P.M.
Free Practice 3 Saturday, March 16th 11:00 A.M.
Qualifying Saturday, March 16th 2:00 P.M.
Race Sunday, March 17th 1:10 P.M.

“Racing" Who Are The Favorites?

As expected, the top two drivers of last year are the betting favorites to win the race. It’s not a coincidence too that they also finished 1-2 in the 2018 Australian Grand Prix. Here are the complete betting odds to win the 2019 Australian Grand Prix. Odds were taken from bet365 as of 3/7/19:

Drivers Odds
Sebastian Vettel +175
Lewis Hamilton +225
Charles Leclerc +250
Max Verstappen +800
Valtteri Bottas +1100
Pierre Gasly +4000
Nico Hulkenberg +20000
Daniel Ricciardo +25000
Romain Grosjean +25000
Kevin Magnussen +30000
Kimi Raikkonen +4000
Carlos Sainz +50000
Lance Stroll +100000
Lando Norris +100000
Daniil Kvyat +100000
Alexander Albon +100000
Sergio Perez +100000
Antonio Giovinazzi +150000
George Russell +200000
Robert Kubica +200000

“Racing" Predictions

After winning his second straight Drivers Championship in dominant fashion, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is one of the top favorites to win the 2019 Australian Grand Prix at a price of +225. But mighty as the Brit has been in last year’s Formula One season, the Australian Grand Prix is one of two Formula One championship races that Hamilton hasn’t won in the past three years. The last time Hamilton won in Melbourne was in 2015.

Hamilton’s chief rival Sebastian Vettel is the current betting favorite at +175. Vettel is the two-time defending champion in the Australian Grand Prix and with Ferrari’s SF90 engine drawing raves in the preseason testing, there’s no doubt that Vettel should be on top of the oddsboard. Vettel is also getting challenged by his new partner in Charles Leclerc and many are expecting the Monegasque to push Vettel to new heights.

I’m a fan of hometown winners and in this particular race, I also like Daniel Ricciardo’s chances here at +25000. The former Red Bull ace has two fourth place finishes at the Australian Grand Prix in the last four years. Winning may be too much to ask in his first ever race for Renault but the idea of becoming the first local winner since Allan Jones should give Ricciardo the additional motivation.

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