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PREVIEW: F1 2022 – Melbourne Grand Prix

After a two year hiatus, the F1 fields returns to the Melbourne Street Circuit for what should be a thrilling comeback for the Australian track.

F1 Field
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

After a two year hiatus, the F1 fields returns to the Melbourne Street Circuit for what should be a thrilling comeback for the Australian track.

F1 Melbourne Preview

We’ve already had a highly entertaining start to the F1 campaign with Ferrari and Red Bull, the season’s two early pacesetters trading wins. Will the duo dice it out for podium points once again or will Mercedes roar back into the fold down under?

To Win Race:

Max Verstappen 5/4
Charles LeClerc 31/20
Carlos Sainz 8/1
Sergio Perez 14/1
Lewis Hamilton 14/1
George Russell 28/1
Mick Schumacher 66/1

Previous Race

After a dire start to the campaign in which both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were forced to retire due to mechanical issues in Bahrain, the twin Red Bulls came good in Saudi Arabia with Verstappen taking race honours while Perez managed to claim fourth spot.

It was another great weekend for Ferrari as they managed to claim another double podium with Charles LeClerc coming second and Carlos Sainz rounding out the podium. Had there been another couple of laps remaining in the race, then LeClerc may well have reeled in Verstappen as he was clocking some really impressive times during the latter stages of the race.

While it was the Ferrari and Red Bull show up top, Mercedes managed to bag some crucial points as George Russel claimed fifth with Lewis Hamilton, who had a miserable weekend, taking the final points in 10th spot.

Sandwiched between the Silver arrows duo were representatives from four different teams with Esteban Ocon bringing his Alpine home in sixth, Lando Norris dragging his McLaren across the line in seventh, Pierre Gasly ensuring Alpha Tauri would grab a decent enough points haul with his eighth-place finish and Kevin Magnussen in the Haas taking ninth.

Track – Albert Park Circuit

Albert Park Circuit

The 5.878 km-long track, which encircles the man-made Albert Park Lake, was the first to fall victim to COVID back in 2020 with a late decision seeing the race called off. The event was also called off last year and it’s really strange to think that we haven’t seen any F1 action at what is a staple on the calendar for two years. That will all change this weekend, however, as racing finally returns to Australia’s Garden City.

Although only a temporary track, it is considered to be the smoothest of all the road circuits due to the revamp it underwent in 1996. A firm favourite among fans and drivers alike, the Melbourne track lacks true straights so the DRS zones, situated along the pit straight and between turns two and three, will be of vital importance during the race.

The local weather bureau is predicting decent weather conditions for the practice sessions and qualifying but we could well get some rain during the latter stages of Sunday’s race.

The last time the F1 field took to the track was back in 2019. The race was dominated by Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton taking race honours and Valterri Bottas claiming second spot. They were followed across the line by reigning World Champion, Max Verstappen.

Value Bet

George Russel Podium Finish – Yes @ 11/2

I fancy Russel’s chances of claiming a podium finish here. Mercedes have a solid record in Melbourne and Russell looked pretty good out in Saudi Arabia. He’s certainly worth a crack at 11/2.

To Win Race Outright

Max Verstappen @ 5/4

The Red Bull ace came good last weekend and it’s hard to be against him here. He has an extremely handy record at the track finishing third in 2019, sixth in 2018 – in a rather underpowered car – fifth in 2017. I reckon he’ll bag his first win in Australia this weekend.

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