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Australian Grand Prix: new cars, new rules, new winner

Frank Monkhouse | 25 March 2017

Vettel a nice price for revenge

The curtain goes up on the 2017 Formula One season this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday. As usual, fans are bombarded with a host of rule changes, aimed at bringing excitement back to the masses.

F1 bosses have promised fans the sport will be sexy again. They have oversaw a complete makeover in an attempt to fight back against declining viewer numbers and a lack of competition for the top-step. So, what has changed? The cars are faster – just what we want – with up to five seconds expected to be cut off lap times. More durable tyres, meaning less stops – great. Wider cars, making it more physically demanding for the drivers – interesting. Easier to overtake – well, not according to the drivers in testing…but we’re on the right track.

When the hype dies down all fans really want to see is cars going really fast and races that are competitive. We won’t get that competition over the course of a season, not if the odds are to be believed, with Mercedes odds-on 4/11 favourites to win the Constructors Championship, Ferrari heading the chasing pack at 10/3. Hamilton is short-priced fav to return to the top of the Drivers Championship, currently 5/6 at Coral.

Hamilton needs one more win to equal the all-time record of victories in America.

Hamilton hot-favourite for world title

We should be in for an entertaining first race however, and there will be increased levels of interest on the Australian Grand Prix to see if the pre-season promises are delivered. Lewis Hamilton told the media in the build-up that Ferrari are favourites, in his mind, to win the world title, but that will be taken with a pinch of salt by backers, at least until we see how the new rules change things.

Coral’s F1 team have three-time world champion Hamilton as favourite to win in Melbourne, and those keen to back the Briton with their cash can do so at Coral’s 11/10, while he is also fancied to be fastest qualifier, at even money.

Last year’s race was an incident-packed event, with Hamilton finishing second behind winner Nico Rosberg. The German swooped to nick the flag from Sebastian Vettel, who had led in the early stages. Vettel to gain revenge and win this time out is second-favourite in the current betting at 11/4, and looks the value play.

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