Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
Round three of the largest calendar in Formula 1 history is upon us as the ten teams install their bases in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix, and once again it looks to be all about if anybody can stop the sensational Red Bull.
Max Verstappen was forced to retire from last year’s Australian Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc won, and more reliability issues look to be the only thing that can stop Verstappen this year.
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Australian Grand Prix track guide
Debut season – 1996
Track length – 5.30km
Number of turns – 16
Most wins – Michael Schumacher (4)
Most poles – Lewis Hamilton (8)
2022 winner – Charles Leclerc
While not as tight as some others on the calendar, the Albert Park circuit is a street circuit and overtaking opportunities can be limited for the modern Formula 1 cars.
However, the unprecedented four DRS zones implemented this year could combat that, as well as the moderate changes made to the circuit last season.
Despite being a street circuit, grip levels are often low at the start of the weekend due to dust on the track, making the first Free Practice sessions something of a red herring on occasion.
Australian Grand Prix predictions & tips
Max Verstappen to be fastest qualifier & race winner at 4/6
Max Verstappen has never won the Australian Grand Prix but Friday’s sessions, as well as how the season has panned out already, suggest that could all change come Sunday.
In a messy Friday morning disrupted by red flags and rain, the Red Bull unsurprisingly looked the quickest in qualifying trim during FP1, with Verstappen four-tenths up on Lewis Hamilton and half-a-second quicker than teammate Sergio Perez. He was down in third in the FP2 timing charts, but that is largely unrepresentative as no qualifying simulations were run before rain struck Albert Park.
The reigning world champion was a shoo-in for pole position in Saudi Arabia before an engine failure and, despite starting 15th, battled his way up to the second step on the podium.
He finished almost 12 seconds clear of Perez in Bahrain and has won ten of the last 13 Grands Prix. He has converted pole position in seven races since the start of last season and he’s good value to make it eight on Sunday.
Verstappen win, Leclerc podium, Albon & Stroll points finish at 12/1
Verstappen is the obvious choice for the win considering the strength of the Red Bull and his talent for besting his teammates, but Charles Leclerc could be contender for his first podium of the season.
The Ferrari looks to have taken a step forward this weekend, clocking the second-best qualifying simulations behind Red Bull. Tyre degradation, which has been a major sticking point for the Scuderia, is expected to be less of an issue in Melbourne and both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were optimistic after Friday’s Free Practice sessions.
Lance Stroll was forced to retire in Jeddah but a sixth-place finish in Bahrain and a very strong Aston Martin suggest points are on the cards for the Canadian, while Alex Albon could sneak into the top ten, too.
The Williams driver finished tenth in Bahrain and was neck-and-neck with Stroll in qualifying simulations, missing out on the top ten by less than a thousandth of a second.
Lando Norris points at 6/4
There is no denying it has been a dreadful start to the season for McLaren but there were reasons for optimism at Albert Park on Friday.
Lando Norris put his McLaren seventh in the qualifying simulations and teammate Oscar Piastri – the home hero this weekend – was 12th, just one-hundredth off tenth-place Lance Stroll.
Norris achieved his second-best result of the season as he finished fifth in Australia last year and, while a top-six finish may be a stretch too far, the young Brit could be in the hunt for his first points of the season.
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