Lewis Hamilton will begin the pursuit of a seventh career Formula One championship when he opens the 2020 season this weekend as a strong favorite in the Australian Grand Prix odds.
Photo by Mark McArdle (Wikipedia)
- Lewis Hamilton begins the defense of his F1 title as a strong favorite to win the Australian Grand Prix
- Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas aims for a second straight win in Melbourne, but lags behind second favorite Max Verstappen
- Get all the odds and insight into this race in the story below
Formula One racing returns for another season later this week, with Lewis Hamilton poised to pick up where he left off last year. Fresh off his sixth career F1 championship victory, Hamilton opens up the new campaign in his familiar perch atop the Australian Grand Prix odds as a short +110 favorite.
Odds to Win 2020 Australian Grand Prix
|Driver||Odds to Win 2020 Australian Grand Prix at Bovada|
|Carlos Sainz Jr||+20000|
Odds taken Mar. 9
Glory in Melbourne Eluding Hamilton
The 32-year-old Englishman romped to a third straight championship last season, taking home the checkered flag on 11 occasions while piling up a record 413 points in the Formula One Drivers Standings. However, victory in Melbourne has eluded Hamilton in recent years. The Mercedes driver has earned just two wins in 13 appearances in the Australian Grand Prix, with his last victory coming five years ago, when he narrowly escaped with the win over archrival Nico Rosberg.
🎉 @F1 World Champion 🎉
✅ The first 🇬🇧 driver in HISTORY to win SIX World Championship Titles.
😳 Just ONE World Championship Title away from equaling Michael Schumacher’s record.
— SPORF (@Sporf) November 3, 2019
Despite his struggles to win, Hamilton has remained a competitive force when racing in Melbourne, turning in second-place finishes in each of his past four appearances. That includes last year, when he finished over 20 seconds back of teammate Valtteri Bottas. And with Bottas sitting a strong third in the Australian Grand Prix odds at +400, Mercedes is well-positioned to once again dominate the podium when the flag drops for the start of this year’s edition in the wee hours of Sunday morning at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.
Bottas Aiming to Repeat in Australia
Last year’s win in Melbourne set the stage for Bottas to enjoy a 2019 resurgence. The 30-year-old Finn struggled throughout 2018, reaching the podium on just eight occasions while failing to earn a win. However, he dominated in his first career win in Australia, and followed up with 14 subsequent trips to the podium including a trio of victories to claim second place in the standings.
Bottas also recorded the fastest lap at last year’s Australian Grand Prix, the first of three last season, and earned a third-place finish in Melbourne three years ago. But Bottas has endured his fair share of struggles at this event, finishing eighth in two of the past four years, and failing to start the race in 2015 due to technical difficulties.
2020 Australian Grand Prix Fastest Lap Odds
|Driver||Australian Grand Prix Fastest Lap Odds|
Verstappen Sitting Second to Hamilton
While Mercedes open the season as the team to beat, and lead the way as massive -500 favorites in the F1 Constructors Championship odds, Max Verstappen will be aiming to give Red Bull Racing a fast start to the campaign. After enjoying a breakthrough in 2019, Verstappen will make his 2020 debut trailing only Hamilton as a +300 second favorite in the Australian Grand Prix odds.
Racing into fourth position is Max Verstappen. An audacious overtake saw the Red Bull racer win a dramatic duel with Charles Leclerc at the Austrian Grand Prix. Nice one! #SparkSportTopTen2019 🏎
F1 returns exclusively to Spark Sport with the Australian Grand Prix in March. pic.twitter.com/3Gi0fDm3Ub
— sparknzsport (@sparknzsport) December 28, 2019
The 22-year-old was a model of consistency last year, building on a strong third-place performance in Melbourne to finish among the top five in each of his first 12 outings, including a pair of wins. Arguably F1’s fastest rising star, Verstappen showed steady improvement as the season progressed, and emerged as a regular threat to record the fastest lap from midseason on, accomplishing the feat on three occasions.
2020 Formula 1 Drivers' Championship Odds Tracker
Albon Giving Red Bull a Solid 1-2 Punch
With Red Bull enjoying a solid run in pre-season testing, Verstappen will be aiming to take the next step this season, and should also benefit from a full season driving alongside teammate Alexander Albon. The 23-year-old opened 2019 as a driver for Toro Rosso before taking over for an underachieving Pierre Gasly down the stretch.
Alexander Albon 🇹🇭 #26 (ALB), 23
Joined Red Bull in 2019, in F1 since 2019.
Has 5 top 10 finishes.
One of the newest drivers on the grid, he made his debut this season for Toro Rosso and was promoted to Red Bull a few days ago. pic.twitter.com/NVkgDKCYER
— Para (@Paracelsus) August 23, 2019
While Albon will benefit from additional experience in his first full season with Red Bull, his steady performance late last year makes him an attractive -165 wager to finish among the top six in Melbourne, and worth consideration as race day approaches as a +650 bet to reach the podium for the first time in his career.
Australian Grand Prix Recent Winners
|Year||Driver||Margin of Victory|
|2019||Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes||20.886 sec|
|2018||Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari||5.036 sec|
|2017||Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari||9.975 sec|
|2016||Nico Rosberg – Mercedes||8.060 sec|
|2015||Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes||1.360 sec|
Leclerc, Vettel Have Plenty to Prove
Of course, the conversation is not complete without mention of Ferrari. The duo of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel are hoping to turn the page on a forgettable 2019 season plagued by mechanical failures, bad luck, and internal strife. That is reflected in the odds to win the Australian Grand Prix, where Leclerc trails the favorites at +650, well ahead of Vettel at +1000.
Never seen this. @Charles_Leclerc coping with those engine problems that robbed him of his debut win in Bahrain. It gives you an insight into just how much is actually going on in an F1 race and how it is not just about the actual driving. https://t.co/MnmZUR8Y4H
— Ian Court (@iancourtracing) December 21, 2019
However, the Ferrari teammates cannot be underestimated. Leclerc made significant progress after last season’s dismal start, recording back-to-back wins in Belgium and Italy, and reaching the podium in five of his final nine outings. The 22-year-old Monte Carlo native also made significant strides in his second career appearance in Melbourne last year, coming in fifth, and may have performed even better had it not been for a race day duel with his Ferrari teammate.
Vettel has plenty of work to do to restore his credentials after earning just one win last season, and failing to finish two of his final six races. However, the four-time F1 champion has tasted victory in Melbourne before with three career Australian Grand Prix victories to his credit. And with a strong qualifying run, and a little more teamwork with Leclerc, Vettel could offer plenty of value as a +1000 bet.
Picks: Vettel to win (+1000); Albon to finish top three (+650)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.