Charles Leclerc is fancied to take his second race victory of the 2022 Formula One season in Australia this weekend. Last time, in Saudi Arabia, the Monegasque driver led for much of the race but could not hold off the late surge of Max Verstappen.
The reason for the predicted turnaround in fortunes is the characteristics of the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. A temporary circuit, the track uses the roads around Albert Park Lake. It is lined by barriers in many places and trees hanging over parts of the track.
The straight is a relatively short 750-metres and the longest flat-out section is just 843-metres. Put simply, the circuit is categorised as ‘high downforce’ whereby the inference is on cornering and not flat-out speed.
Organisers have made changes to the track in recent months but there are still some severe braking zones and six corners that are 80 degrees or more.
On the evidence of the two races that have already been consigned to the 2022 history books – particularly the data from the Bahrain GP – and the Ferrari looks like the car to beat on high-downforce tracks.
Of course, Leclerc will have his teammate to beat. But Carlos Sainz has looked some way short of his garage companion in testing, practice, qualifying and race pace so far this year.
Safety Barriers and Curbs Means Safety Car
The Australian Grand Prix – which has not taken place for the past two years due to Covid-19 – is the traditional season-opening contest. It has normally had a high rate of attrition. That can be attributed to reliability issues with untried cars and the nature of the track layout.
As with other street circuits, serious mistakes often lead to an appointment with an unforgiving wall. Additionally, this year, for the first time, drivers will have to contend with kerbs on turns 3, 11 and 13. These are notorious for wrecking bodywork – bodywork that may need to be removed by marshals from the racing line.
VSC Before Full SC?
This leads to two Australian Grand Prix betting tips. Firstly, we like the prospect of a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) being used on Sunday. The sports new race director, Niels Wittich, wasted no time in calling a VSC in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
On those two occasions, it was abundantly clear that a full safety car was needed. It was quickly called for moments after the VSC light had been illuminated. The use of a full safety car is rated 2/5 this weekend. So just how 5/4 is available about a VSC is a mystery. Ours is not to question the wisdom of odds compilers – simply take advantage of these mistakes.
Only 13 cars completed the Saudi Grand Prix. Officially 14 were classified as finishers – meaning they had completed 90 percent of the race laps before retiring. And it was engine issues, not crashes, that accounted for the bulk of the non-finishers.
Go Low on Number of Finishers
Resultantly, our other call is on the ‘Number of Classified Finishers’ betting market.
Under 16.5 finishers can and should be backed at odds of 6/5. It’s no secret that the Haas team is out of parts and any major issue during practice and qualifying could rule either car out of the race.
This is helpful and immediately gives the people ‘shorting’ on the total finishers reason for optimism. Another who may struggle is Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian endured a retirement from the Saudi Grand Prix with a clutch issue and his record on home soil is very poor. In nine visits to his home circuit, he has retired four times.
Top Australian Grand Prix Bets
- Charles Leclerc to win the Australian Grand Prix at 7/4 with Unibet
- Virtual Safety Car (VSC) to be used at 5/4 at bet365*
- Under 16.5 classified race finishers at 6/5 at bet365*
* Australian Grand Prix betting odds correct at the time of writing. All F1 odds subject to changes.