2020 Australian Grand Prix Betting

Australian Grand Prix is the first race of the 2020 F1 season. As the first, handicappers have less information available for making selections. This creates interesting betting strategies for serious punters. Last season was a great example. Valtteri Bottas won the race. Before practice and qualifying, he was as high as a 16/1 underdog. As I will explain in this article, that was a bit of an exception. First, here are the circuit details.

Australia Grand Prix Circuit

Australian Grand PrixThe Albert Lake Park Street Circuit runs all the way around Albert Lake, inside the confines of the park. For the most part, it is a wide open circuit with high speeds and only a few tight turns. With that said, this is a difficult circuit for overtaking.

Location: Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Circuit: Albert Lake Park Street Circuit

Circuit Length: 5.303 km

Total Race Distance: 307.574 km

Turns: 16

Hard Turns: 9 (Turns 1,3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16)

Hard Turns/Km: 1.697

Fastest Lap Time 1.24.125 (Schumacher, 2004)

Fastest Seconds/Km: 15.8637

Betting on Race Winners at the Australian GP

I have published articles on F1 betting for over 10-years. In the past, betting the Australian Grand Prix before qualifying involved larger risk. Larger than doing the same on races later in the season. The odds for favourites tend to be a bit greater. But, we don’t yet know whose cars are best until after qualifying.

The history of the circuit also created another problem. This is a race where overtaking is difficult. Historic results used to show the importance of being on the pole at Albert Park. Polesitters should have a much better chance of winning here than they do at most circuits. When you place your bets before qualifying, you’re almost betting on who will win the pole. The problem is that the odds for the polesitter are usually quite low – offering very little value.

Paying attention to off-season practice and early practice at the track is ideal. The idea is to bet on the qualifying itself, trying to predict which driver will end up on the pole. This way, you can take advantage of the greater odds offered before qualifying has ended.

Lewis Hamilton Blown Poles

Lewis Hamilton is the best F1 driver of his generation, if not all time. He has won the World Drivers’ Championship five times (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018). He is way in the lead for most career poles won, and is second all-time in race wins. For race wins he trails only Michael Schumacher who is now long retired. He is well on pace to take that record too.

Hamilton has great success winning the pole at the Australian Grand Prix. He has done so a record 8-times, but has converted only 25% to wins. He won this race with McLaren in 2008, and with his current Mercedes team in 2015. In the past four races (2016-2019), he started from the pole but finished runner up each time. 4 straight blown poles, at this particular circuit especially, is quite odd. To put this in perspective, the poll starter wins about 49% of F1 races. Hamilton has similar stats too, but for some reason has a low poll to win conversion ratio at this race.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel is a four time World Drivers’ Champion having won it 4 years in a row from 2010-2013 with Red Bull. After finishing only fifth in 2014, he left for team Ferrari. In 2015 he was third in standings, and 2016 he was fourth. He finished runner up in 2017 and 2018, behind Lewis Hamilton. He is a decent favourite in many races, but Hamilton has overtaken him as the most dominate driver in the sport. An exception though comes in the Australian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel started the Australian Grand Prix from the pole in 2010, 2011, 2013. He has won this race three times, 2011, 2017 and 2018. Those later two had Hamilton start on the pole, but Vettel won from P2 in 2017, and P3 in 2018. This is a race he has fared well in. It will be worth looking for his odds on winning the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.

The Odds Reflect History

Days before the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, odds on race winner were Sebatian Vettel 13/8, and Lewis Hamilton 2/1. The next favourites were Charles Leclerc 11/4, Max Verstappen 9/1 and Valtteri Bottas 14/1. All other drivers were 50/1 or greater. Vettel had just won this race back to back. With Hamilton having failed to convert this race many times, the odds did make some sense. My opinion is this was one of the rare times, looking for a driver with bigger odds made sense.

In 2018, Valtteri Bottas was the first Mercedes driver since 2012 to finish a season without a win. He still managed to finish fifth in the point standings, and finished second place in 7 races. His 7 fastest laps were the most on the season. He is a driver who has won races before and now had the car, team, and experience to compete.

This is what I mentioned in the intro. As the first race of the season, there are interesting betting opportunities. Though with a small betting limit Boyle Sports had Bottas 16/1 odds to win this race. PaddyPower had 14/1, while at other sites he was 9/1 to 12/1. Smart bettors might have sniffed out value on Bottas when given those odds. He did win the race.

Who to Back at 2020 Australian Grand Prix

There a lot of anomalies in the historic Australian Grand Prix results. This is a circuit where overtaking is difficult. But as mentioned Hamilton has struggled to covert poles to wins here. Sebastian Vettel also has done well, even when not starting from the pole. Plus as the first race of the season there are unknowns. We have to consider all this. But, we still must consider this is a circuit where overtaking is difficult.

The circuit has no modifications in recent years. Glancing at the historical results from a few years back could be deceiving.

2014 Explained

Nico Rosberg Celebrates Australian Grand Prix WinIn 2014 the Podium was Nico Rosberg 1st, Kevin Magnussen 2nd and Jenson Button 10th. They started at P3, P4 and P10. What happened here is Lewis Hamilton started on the pole but completed only two laps due to engine trouble. Daniel Ricciardo started P2. He suffered disqualification for breaching fuel consumption and measurement rules. The top two thus held their position. Jenson Button moved up several spots finishing behind fellow McLaren-Mercedes teammate Kevin Magnussen.

2013 Explained

In 2013 the Podium was Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso, and Sebastian Vettel. They started in P7, P5 and P1. While this would seem to show there was a lot of overtaking, some of it happened quickly. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber had started in P2. A problem with an ECU meant he could not use his KERS off the start line and thus dropped down to seventh. This caused a lot of initial shift. Even so the top seven finishers all started top seven on the grid, but the order changed a lot.

2012 Explained

In 2012, top four were Jenson Button (G2), Sebastian Vettel (G6), Lewis Hamilton (G1) and Mark Webber (G5). Again a similar situation occurred here. Romain Grosjean started G3. He finished only one lap due to a collision which seen the order shift. Then Michael Schumacher (G4 start) retired after 10 laps (gearbox)

Betting after Qualifying in 2020

Again there has not been changes to the circuit. Despite some mix-up in historical results, our analysis remains the same. This is a difficult track for overtaking. This means punters taking the polesitter should do well betting the race winner. I also look at who’s in P2 or P3 of course. Remember Lewis Hamilton has a low pole to win ratio at this circuit. Also, Sebastian Vettel has success even when starting P2 and P3.

Top 3 Bets in 2020

For Top 3 bets, I look for aggressive drivers in the P3 or P4 that offer better value than P1 or P2. At the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, the odds will be much lower for those starting in the P1 and P2 positions. So, we have to look for value, but also be realistic about it. Going after guys in the P5 or lower positions will offer much better odds. It is though very difficult for them to get onto the podium. This is one of those races where we have no choice but to go for less risk, less reward.

Top 6 Bets

For Top 6 bets, we can go a bit deeper, looking back to P8 or P9. There is more movement back in the pack, and P8 can end up in P6 with nothing more than a good start. So, once again, I’m looking for a guy who offers us good odds. He must also have a reputation for moving up on the start, and also have a car capable of doing that.

Australian Grand Prix Historical Podium Results

Results for the past 4 Australian Grand Prix F1 races including where each started on the grid are below:

Results1st (Grid)Time2nd (Grid)3rd (Grid)
2019Valtteri Bottas (2)1:25:27.325Lewis Hamilton (1)Max Verstappen (4)
2018Sebastian Vettel (3)1:29:33.283Lewis Hamilton (1)Kimi Räikkönen (2)
2017Sebastian Vettel (2)1:24:11.672Lewis Hamilton (1)Valtteri Bottas (3)
2016Nico Rosberg (2)1:48:15.565Lewis Hamilton (1)Sebastian Vettel (3)
2015Lewis Hamilton (1)1:31:54.067Nico Rosberg (2)Sebastian Vettel (4)
2014Nico Rosberg (3)1:32:58.710Kevin Magnussen (4)Jenson Button (10)
2013Kimi Räikkönen (7)1:30:03.225Fernando Alonso (5)Sebastian Vettel (1)
2012Jenson Button (2)1:34:09.565Sebastian Vettel (6)Lewis Hamilton (1)
2011Sebastian Vettel (1)1:29:30.259Lewis Hamilton (2)Vitaly Petrov (6)

This article was last updated at the conclusion of the 2019 race. As the 2020 Australian Grand Prix nears, I will make updates to give more helpful tips towards betting that race.