The 2019 Formula 1 season is nearly upon us and redemption is the aim of the game for Ferrari heading into the new campaign.
Despite being widely regarded as having the fastest car on the grid last year, the Italians were powerless to stop Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton swanning off with the honours once more.
Winter testing has shown that Ferrari will again challenge the Silver Arrows and they are expected to make a fast start in Melbourne.
Vettel race winner @ 17/10
Sebastian Vettel cut a frustrated and slightly disconsolate figure at the end of last season having seen a fifth Drivers’ title slip through his grasp for the second year running. The German has made a habit of getting off the line quickly, winning the last two season-opening races in Australia, before fading as the campaign wears on.
A repeat scenario is expected this Sunday with Hamilton believing his Mercedes is currently 0.5 seconds slower than the Ferrari after the results of testing.
Vettel’s new team-mate Charles Leclerc is an interesting option for the win at 12/5 given how highly rated he has become in the space of one year. The Frenchman is expected to push Vettel much harder than old colleague Kimi Raikkonen and it will be interesting to see how the four-time world champion responds to his challenge.
With Mercedes being traditionally slow starters and Red Bull an unknown quantity after their switch over to Honda power units, playing it safe by going for Ferrari makes the most sense with so little known about the cars at this time.
Magnussen top six finish @ 7/4
Haas continue to make strides in the right direction with winter testing suggesting that have closed the gap on the four teams that finished above them last season. Had it not been for reliability issue, the US outfit could well have finished ahead of Renault in fourth in the Constructors’ standings.
With neither car finishing in Australia last season, the bar is set pretty low for Haas this weekend and they will hope they can strike the first blow against Renault in the battle to finish ‘best of the rest’.
Kevin Magnussen has a second place finish at Albert Park to his name and having out-performed team-mate Romain Grosjean last year, recording four top-six finishes, the Dane is the one to follow.
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