Punters are reminded on an annual basis not to read too much into the results of the pre-season testing, as some of the teams will not show their true pace until Saturday in Melbourne. Having said this, I am now going to completely ignore this and talk about Mercedes.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has been quoted as saying that it would not surprise him if the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg managed to lap the entire field on Sunday. Whilst this level of domination may be slightly exaggerated, testing would certainly suggest that one of the Silver Arrows will be standing on the top step of the podium.
The one thing that could possibly stop the march of Mercedes is reliability. Both drivers have shown that the car is quick but it is not bullet proof by any means, and because of this I would recommend an each-way punt on one of the other Mercedes powered cars.
McLaren, Force India and Williams are all using the Mercedes power unit and have all looked fast. The two that are most likely to trouble Mercedes are Felipe Massa and Jenson Button. As Formula 1 enters this new era, I think that experience will be a real asset, at least for the first few Grands Prix.
The final challenge for Mercedes comes in the shape of Ferrari. If the rumours are to be believed, then they have shown us nothing of what the car can do. Although this has been the case in the past, I just can’t believe that they would do that this year. The new power units needed to be run to death to see what they can do and this means we probably have seen a good comparison of outright pace.
To finish with, we will now address the Renault power units. Renault have provided, by the look of things, a power unit that is not very quick or reliable. Four teams are using this power unit and pre-season would suggest that none of the eight cars will see the chequered flag.
Safety Car: Yes – 2/9
Hamilton to win the Australian GP – 9/4
Worth a punt?
Hamilton to score pole/fastest lap/win – 8/1
Red Bull: First team to retire 6/1
All odds are from SkyBet. Images courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari and Octane Photographic.