The Formula one season starts this weekend with the traditional curtain raiser in Melbourne and after an impressive winter of testing, Ferrari might just ensure Lewis Hamilton has his work cut out if he’s to win a sixth world title.
A new season and new beginnings
Australian Grand Prix
Sunday March 17
5am Live on Sky Sports F1 HD
After weeks of intensive winter testing the greatest drivers on the planet will be revved-up and ready to go as the lights go out down under on Sunday morning and once again Lewis Hamilton will be the man to beat as he chases another World Championship.
But it will be far from plain sailing for the five-time champion with a number of fascinating sub plots ensuring that the 2019 season might be one of the most exciting in years.
A number of new faces, including British drivers George Russell and Lando Norris, the return of Alfa Romeo, Red Bull opting for Honda and even a bonus point for the driver and his team who sets the fastest lap in races, mean there is plenty to be excited about as we look forward to a season which for the first time will end in December.
Ferrari will fight Hamilton for top spot
With five championships to his name it’s no surprise that once again Lewis Hamilton will be the centre of attention as the new season dawns, though the Englishman may not have it all his way in 2019 with a number of contenders looking to take his crown despite being 2.45 favourite to win this one.
Ferrari made same costly errors last season which all but handed Mercedes the title but Hamilton will be well aware that lightning is unlikely to strike twice and with the Italian team looking pretty impressive during the winter and will be keen to get back to where they, and their fanatical fans, believe they belong.
The Reds also have a new driver in their ranks with Monaco driver Charles LeClerc replacing former world champion Kimi Raikkonen and the new boy will be keen to prove a point with such huge shoes to fill and although something of a beginner, has the potential to shake things up in the title race having impressed with Sauber last year and is 4.90 to start the season in style.
Vettel chasing famous five
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel had a disappointing campaign in 2018 and will be keen to avoid the mistakes that littered his season as he looks to emulate Lewis Hamilton’s haul of five with Ferrari’s new SF90 looking impressive during testing.
No stranger to this circuit, Vettel has taken the chequered flag here in the past two Grand Prix and will know that if he’s to mount a genuine challenge than he needs to start well and can be backed at 2.75 to win again this time around and make it three in a row.
Another driver with a point to prove is Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who will be under pressure to prove himself following a poor season last year which eventually saw him finish fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, and is something of an outsider at 12.50 while Kimi Raikkonen can be backed at 126.00 for the latest team on the grid, Alfa Romeo and new boy George Russell is 3501.00 to cause an upset on his debut.
*all odds are subject to change