Goodwood Road Trip

Goodwood road trip, by Darren

First night camping at Le Mans 2016
‘So where are we going next year?’
‘TT?’
‘Not big on bikes’
‘Anyone fancy Goodwood Festival of Speed?’

So not knowing much about the FOS at the time, we agreed. And promptly left all the actual details  to master trip planner Tooley.
A year on, at a service station just outside of Oxford, the 8 of us reconvened and set off in convoy.

We started as a group of friends-of-friends at Spa in 2012 and have been away to one thing or another each year since and have all now become firm friends. Once there and with camp set up we swapped stories and caught up on a years news. 

Saturday morning we were up for a cooked breakfast with a side of paracetamol and ready for the day. 
Now I've been to motor shows, F1 and BTCC races, Le Mans but I've never been to anything like this. The first thing we stumbled on was Murray Walker being interviewed on the BMW area. He summed up the FOS as the best motoring event in the country and I would agree. 
It's centred around a central hill climb, with an open paddock leading to a performance car parking area and trade stand areas dotted around amongst the bars, displays of classic cars and activities

Our group splintered off with Dan and I crossing the bridge onto the paddock side where we stumbled upon Bernie Ecclestone entering a restricted access area on a golf buggy. Now, I'd tasked myself with trying to get a bumper for the podcast at sometime during the weekend but Bernie was clearly busy and not up for stopping for a chat, although he was happy to sign a child's programme passed on to him by a security guard.

We began to scout the paddock out, stunned at the range of cars on display from the early 1900’s to present day including many from my 35 years of watching F1. The crew started up Jackie Stewart's 1971 Tyrrell as we were stood just by it, the noise and the smell of the fuel making the hairs on my neck stand up.


A meandering stroll around brought us to the performance car park. This is a reserved parking area which you may use should your car be on the list. My Transit didn't appear to be among the McLarens, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royce that were on said list, but it was lovely to be allowed to wander around the owners’ pride and joy which they'd brought for a run out to the festival.
We gained access to Sky’s roof terrace in time to watch the Ferraris and F1 cars doing the Hill, with Vallteri Bottas burning his Mercedes tyres out to the cheers of the crowd.
The Pit Lane for F1 cars was well represented by the bigger teams but these garages were roped off. Williams had brought 5 historic racing cars including Mansell’s red five to the show. I asked a representative whether the Villeneuve car was his ‘97 championship winning car. It was, he said and you could see Schumacher’s tyre marks on the sidepod, I told him I had been there in Jerez when Schueys ailing Ferrari was being caught by Jaques lap by lap and the only way for Michael to win the championship was to try and make sure that Villeneuve didn't finish the race with more points than him.


I was promptly invited onto the stand so I could take some photos. 
I was taking full advantage of this opportunity when I heard the distinct voice of the BBC F1 commentator Jack Nicholls behind me. My chance at getting a podcast bumper was never going to be better and Jack was happy to record a short video message for Spanners and the Missed Apex group.


Very happy to have achieved my goal for the weekend I grabbed a selfie with Karun Chandhok on the way out too. We finished off the day with a cool lager on the lawn in front of the house and spotted Quentin Willson while we admired the spectacular sculpture celebrating the career of Bernie Ecclestone.

Sunday was incredibly hot and much busier. We had a good look around the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ display of rare and exotic cars which were to be judged later that morning by Ross Brawn. Bugatti had a range of Chiron and Veyron on show which Jean Todt was having a good look at.

The thought of a long drive home and heavy traffic leaving later on brought us to the joint decision to leave after a late lunch on the cricket pitch, but not before we had decided on next years trip away..

Canadian GP Predictions

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

Welcome to this week's betting predictions. All odds are from Skybet unless stated otherwise. Other bookmakers are available. Please gamble responsibly. 

 

Canadian GP Bets

Sebastian Vettel Fastest qualifier and Race winner - 3/1

The key to this bet will be the way the Mercedes works the ultrasoft tyres.  If they struggle again, Seb should be best placed to capitalise on their struggles in qualifying and the race.

Lewis Hamilton quickest in 1st Practice - 1/1

A repeat of the result from FP1 in Monaco would be great.

Qualifying winning margin under 0.1 seconds - 5/2 (StanJames)

A short circuit, evenly matched cars, should be close for pole position.

Maplin

Race winning margin under 5 seconds - 5/4 

A late safety car would help this bet.

Kimi Raikkonen not to be classified - 5/1

He's struggled around Canada recently and what mood will he be in after losing victory in Monaco.

Canada GP Predictions

Qualifying:

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Lewis Hamilton

Race: 

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Valtteri Bottas

Safety car: Yes

Monaco GP Bets Recap

Just the one winning bet from Monaco:

Lewis Hamilton quickest in 1st Practice - 6/4

Monaco GP Predictions

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

Welcome to this week's betting predictions. All odds are from Skybet. Other bookmakers are available. Please gamble responsibly. 

Monaco GP Bets

Lewis Hamilton Fastest qualifier and Race winner - 7/4

Same result as last race.. hopefully.

Lewis Hamilton quickest in 1st Practice - 6/4

If he is to have a good weekend, what better way to start it than by being quickest in 1st practice.

Williams 1st team to retire - 6/1

The Williams is notoriously difficult and slow around Monaco so it could be a handful for Mr. Stroll.

Maplin

Daniel Ricciardo fastest lap - 6/1

He was quickest in qualifying last year and with some free track and fresh tyres, this could be a good shout. 

Renault double points finish - 5/1

The Renault is a good car and I'm still optimistic Palmer can turn his season around.

Monaco GP Predictions

Qualifying:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Valtteri Bottas

Race: 

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Valtteri Bottas

Safety car: Yes, a lot.

Spanish GP Bets Recap

3 winning bets from the Spanish GP

Lewis Hamilton Fastest qualifier and Race winner - 15/8

Lewis Hamilton quickest in 1st Practice - 6/4

Race winning margin under 5 seconds - 13/8

Spanish Grand Prix Predictions

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

Welcome to this week's betting predictions. All odds are from Skybet. Other bookmakers are available.

Russian GP Bets

Lewis Hamilton Fastest qualifier and Race winner - 15/8

Back on a normal race circuit I expect Hamilton to bounce back from his poor showing in Russia last weekend with a faultless drive from pole. 

Lewis Hamilton quickest in 1st Practice - 6/4

As stated above, he needs to bounce back with a strong performance so expect him to top first practice on Friday.

Maplin

Race winning margin under 5 seconds - 13/8

As with every race weekend this bet is just copy and paste.  F1 is so close at the front of the pack,  it's too good to turn down.

Kimi Raikkonen fastest lap 11/2

This bet came off last weekend and Kimi is always one of the favourites for the fastest lap.

Renault double points finish - 13/2

Palmer's luck has got to change at some point and he needs to bounce back from a disastrous Russian GP.  Team mate Hulkenberg has found his feet at Renault and is regularly scoring points for the team.

Spanish GP Predictions

Qualifying:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Sebastian Vettel

Race: 

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Valtteri Bottas

Safety car: No

Russian GP Bets Recap

Two of the bets suggested from the last race came off as shown below.

Kimi Raikkonen fastest lap 15/2

Race winning margin under 5 seconds - 13/8

Also, I may have gone over my 7 bets per GP limit but it was worth it to land these bets pre-race.  

Bottas 1st Vettel 2nd - 15/2

Valtteri Bottas lap 1 leader - 15/2

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Russian GP Predictions

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

Welcome to this week's betting predictions. All odds are from Skybet. Other bookmakers are available.

Russian GP Bets

Qualifying winning team Mercedes - 1/4

3 out of 3 so far in qualifying for Mercedes and they are the only team to have set pole in Russia. 

Hamilton Race winner - 10/11

He has a good record in Russia with 2 wins from 3 races and needs to win to avoid falling further behind Sebastian Vettel in the Driver's Championship.

Maplin

Race winning margin under 5 seconds - 13/8

As always the Ferrari and Mercedes look very closely matched so given the race being a straight fight then it should be tight at the front end. A late safety car also enhances the chance of this bet coming off.

Kimi Raikkonen fastest lap 15/2

The Finn goes quite well here and could set the fastest lap of the race on fresher tyres at the end of the race.

Renault double points finish - 6/1

Hulkenberg has been very impressive so far this season, comfortably outperfoming Jolyon Palmer. However, Palmer has showed better performances with each race and if everything clicks he could be on to a good result. 

Russian GP Predictions

Qualifying:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Sebastian Vettel

Race: 

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Kimi Raikkonen

Safety car: Yes

Bahrain GP Bets Recap

Two winning bets from 7 in total at the last race, not great, but here are the winning bets. Hoping for more luck this weekend.

Qualifying winning margin under 0.300 seconds - 4/9

Race winning margin under 10 seconds - 1/2

Why Kimi Will Bounce Back In Bahrain

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

Kimi Raikkonen may have had a slow start to the 2017 season but things may soon start to change.  Ferrari boss, Sergio Marchionne has questioned the Finn's recent form after failing to appear on the podium this season. However, Formula One heads to a circuit where in the past five seasons Raikkonen has finished second four times.  Unfortunately for Kimi, in Bahrain the champagne is replaced with rose water!

Ferrari and Mercedes will once again be the favourites going to the Bahrain Grand Prix.  With the hot temperatures despite it being a night race, good tyre management will be important, a strength of Raikkonen's in the past.  The understeer that has been affecting the Finn's performances in the opening two rounds should be less apparent where the Sakhir Circuit is much more of a rear limited circuit.

With Sergio Marchionne displeased at Raikkonen's start to the season, what better chance does Kimi have to respond than at one of the Finn's most successful circuits.  The hurry up he is being given by Marchionne may be the wake up call he needs to get his season back on track. Also, having two poor weekends where the car set up has not been to Kimi's liking, you would hope has meant Ferrari have learnt from their mistakes, and be able to rectify this weekend.

Maplin

It's an important race for both Finns at Ferrari and Mercedes. So far this season they have been thoroughly out performed by their team mates who have each won a race and finished second ensuring there is a tie at the top of the championship. A response is needed as soon as possible so that both Mercedes and Ferrari do not favour Hamilton and Vettel for the drivers championship. It could already be argued that Ferrari had put Kimi on an inferior strategy to Vettel in China, despite Kimi informing the team that his tyres were not performing and needed to pit, Ferrari kept him out. By keeping him out it limited his chance of hunting down the Red Bulls for the final podium spot. 

As a Kimi fan before Lewis Hamilton's arrival in the sport, it can be difficult to watch Raikkonen struggle.  Sometimes though it can be because of a poor position or poor car set up that Kimi doesn't appear to have the same hunger to race as when he is at the front. Let's hope the old Kimi can come back this weekend to put pressure on Vettel and Hamilton in the title fight. 

Bahrain GP Predictions

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

After a dismal week of betting during the Australian GP, things picked up nicely for China with multiple winning bets.  Lets hope Bahrain will be just as successful.  All odds are from Skybet. Other bookmakers are available.

Bahrain GP Bets

Raikkonen to win the race - 8/1 each way

Ferrari and Raikkonen usually go well in Bahrain with Raikkonen finishing 2nd four times in the last 5 years.  The each way bet covers you if Raikkonen doesn't make it to the top step of the podium.

Qualifying margin under 0.300(s) - 4/9

Perhaps not great value but will the distance between first and second in qualifying really be more than 0.3 seconds?

Double podium Ferrari - 5/4

They've not managed a double podium so far this year but the circuit may suit the Ferrari over the Mercedes, especially as Mercedes appear to have more issues over tyre wear and this will be more apparent in the hotter temperatures.

Maplin

Double points finish Haas - 7/2

Grosjean had a great race last year in Bahrain and Magnussen is coming off the back of a good result in China.  The car looks to be near the top of midfield and could be best of the rest behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Race winning margin under 10 seconds - 1/2

The race in China finished under 10 seconds between 1st and 2nd and this was despite Vettel having a compromised race.  On a circuit which offers a number of overtaking opportunities the chance to pull away at the front may be more challenging than it was in Australia and China.  

Feel free to comment with your own predictions for the race and the season.

Please gamble responsibly.

Bahrain GP Predictions

Qualifying:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Valtteri Bottas

Race: 

  1. Kimi Raikkonen
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sebastian Vettel

Safety car: No

China GP Bets Recap

Force India double points finish - 9/2

Race winning margin under 10 seconds - 5/4

Hamilton pole position - 8/11

Also a 30/1 accumulator for which drivers will be beat their team mates came off for the race. Not too bad.

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SomersF1 China Debrief

By Matt Somerfield (@SomersF1)

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

Ok, this is the first and hopefully not my last debrief for Missed Apex, for those that follow my work this is more of an irreverent look back at the technical goings on of the last GP than you may be used to.  And whilst I’m writing this one for the Chinese GP other work means I likely can’t commit to one after each GP - BOO! But if you like what me and the rest of Missed Apex crew are doing you can always show your support through Patreon - http://missedapexpodcast.com/contact/

Now that’s out of the way let’s get down to brass tacks - Round 2 of the championship is over and the question marks surrounding overtaking in Australia are starting to make a little more sense.  Afterall the Australian GP isn't representative, owing to the short DRS zones, limited camber and little running outside of a GP weekend given it’s a street circuit layout.  Furthermore, the teams are at the start of their curve, even more so given the technical regulation changes inflicted on them for 2017 and likely means they’re running sub-optimally at best.  In fact development throughout a season means that the car that ends the championship would almost certainly be a handful of seconds per lap quicker if they rocked up at Albert Park again.

One of the big concerns when the dust had settled on the Australian GP was that the glut of overtaking we’ve been used to over the last 5 or 6 years had diminished considerably with only 5, yes 5, on track passes completed during the Grand Prix.  Even with the aforementioned skew for the track it started to ring alarm bells for many and the drivers didn’t help matters when they insisted that the turbulence was more problematic when in the wake of another car.

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So, the Chinese GP became the real litmus test, a permanent circuit with its fair share of long DRS zones and more suitable racing surface.  The problem is the weather, but moreover the inability to use the medical helicopter, which conspired to curtail Friday’s Free Practice running, so much so that we can’t fully rely on the race as an accurate snapshot of where we are at.  “How so?” I hear you shout - Well, numerous reasons, the lack of tracktime meant that several teams who’d taken updates to China failed to use them, purely because they didn’t have the time to complete their test programmes and opted for a better the devil you know setup.  Furthermore, time during these sessions is usually spent honing setup - both mechanical and aerodynamic, with vMax of significant importance given that time on throttle can have an impact on both fuel and energy usage.  Teams will often give up outright top speed in favour of a more efficient use of energy, be it petrochemical or electrical and then set their wing levels to suit, with DRS clearly askew to this.

The other issue is setup for climatic conditions, teams may have set up with rain in mind, in fact Daniel Ricciardo actually suggested they’d opted to run a setup more in keeping with damp/wet conditions and having quickly chewed through his first set of Super Soft tyres changes were made to the front wing angle at his next stop to shift the balance.  Whilst on the topic Red Bull flattered to deceive in Shanghai given their use of super softs as they switched off the intermediate tyres that everyone but Carlos Sainz started on.  Props to Carlos here by the way, as he dared to do something different and had there not been those early VSC and safety car periods he might have been staring down the barrel of an even better result - although 7th isn’t to be sniffed at in a Toro Rosso at this point in the season. 

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Getting back to Red Bull the Aussie had managed to save a new set of Super Softs for the race whilst the young buck on the other side of the garage had three new sets of those boots given his early exit during qualifying. 

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As we can see this gave the Bull’s an edge over their rivals, especially for Verstappen who was able to use two of those new sets to complete his race, whilst Ricciardo switched to a used set of Super’s for his third stint having already switched positions much earlier in the race.  You might say “So why’s this so important?” Well, namely the performance offset - the super soft tyre is obviously quicker than the soft tyre, making up for some of the Bull’s performance deficit giving them a tangible traction gain off the corners and more specifically the exit of turn 13 when they needed to gap the Ferrari’s in the early stages.  We know that both RBR drivers have become adept at using their energy well too, partly due to the investment the team made last year when they reportedly connected their virtual test track / chassis dynamometer to their simulator, enabling the drivers to operate their car ‘in the loop’ via the sim whilst the chassis and powerunit is put through the same paces next door.

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Ferrari meanwhile put their stake in the ground during the VSC, pitting Sebastian, in order to put pressure on Mercedes and Hamilton to make a similar move.  It may have worked too had it not been for the safety car that followed that reshuffled the pack as everyone cycled through the pitlane and put Vettel behind his team mate.  Kimi struggled behind the Red Bull pair as they both squabbled for position too, although it was strange given the pace of the Ferrari that he should have so much trouble, especially given the length of the DRS zone. 

Again we must remember the tyre delta between the super and soft tyres but it’s also worth noting that Kimi was suffering with an issue deploying energy out of T12 all the way to T14 as it was later noted he’d been in the wrong power mode, reportedly having not toggled from an intermediate tyre energy map to the dry weather setup.  Afterall the wet, intermediate and dry weather tyres all have different circumferences and the engine/power/energy maps have to be different for each.[IMAGE] 140243_new

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Vettel was stuck behind the Finn for far too long but finally took matters into his own hands and shoved his way through at T6 without the need for DRS, although he’d set him up for several laps to do so with its assistance.  I’m actually surprised Ferrari didn’t ask their drivers to switch positions given that Vettel seemingly had more in hand and was being held up.

Hamilton’s race became a little detached from the rest of the field having managed the unfolding scenarios with his typical aplomb, however, Bottas failed to capitalize in the same way, dropping it under the safety car as he tried to put temperature in the tyres when weaving.  It’s a shame for the Finn as such a simple mistake meant he had to recover through the pack but from time-to-time we have to accept these drivers that we put on a pedestal are human afterall, he’ll learn from it and move on.

So, overtaking…  Yea I know I’ve gone off on a tangent, but hey I think you’ll agree it was for good reason, as I still don’t think we have an accurate gauge on how overtaking has been affected by the new regulations but hope we’ll have more answers in Bahrain.  However, what has become clear is that having an offset between the tyres can rescue the racing in some respects but also gives us an inaccurate narrative to follow, with Mercedes and Ferrari in a race of their own and Red Bull a little adrift but a considerable margin ahead of the rest of the midfield battle.

The other thing that has become clear, but could be skewed by the limited Free Practice running is that DRS isn’t as effective this year.  However, that’s a good thing as what it does is allow the drivers to cling onto one another and forces them to make passes at other points around the circuit, such as T6 where most of the passing happened yesterday.  I’m happy with this compromise as it forces the drivers to work for their pass, rather than DRS simply holding up a mirror to those suffering from tyre degradation and allowing too easy a pass.  I’d argue there is still an opportunity to improve things but it’ll take to establish what that is with the help of Ross Brawn’s technical working group. 

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Perhaps we can heed a piece of F1 history that got resigned to the trash bin rather quickly though, in 2009 the designers were allowed to house an actuator within the front wing (arrowed) in order that the driver be able adjust a flap by upto 6 degrees, twice per lap.  The double decked diffusers that populated the grid that season kind of neutralised its effect but the overtaking working group that had helped devise the 09 regulations had originally thought it might help drivers be able to maintain the gap between a trailing car and the lead one through the corners.  The logic is sound, adjusting the flap angle could change the cars aero balance enough to give the car a little more front end, of course we’d need to analyse how much this angle change should be and perhaps offer the driver a variable solution (ie adjustment via a rotary on the steering wheel for the degree’s they’d like to dial in).  Furthermore, it should act like DRS, ie only when the trailing car is within proximity of another car by an arbitrary time selected by race control ahead of the event, as in its last incarnation all drivers could use it, irrespective of position.

It’s easy to jump on a bandwagon and I’m certain there are ones out there disenfranchised by the lack of passing in the last few GP’s but let’s see what Bahrain offers up and be safe in the knowledge that the problem isn’t insurmountable, providing the right people and idea’s are able to flourish.


If you like what you’ve read here and don’t already you can follow me on Twitter - www.twitter.com/SomersF1 or even listen back to our last Tech Time podcast - http://missedapexpodcast.com/map/2017/4/3/missed-apex-f1-tech-time

Chinese Grand Prix Predictions

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

It's the second round of the Formula One World Championship this weekend so I will be making some predictions in an attempt to become rich.  All odds are from Skybet. Other bookmakers are available.

Chinese GP Bets

Hamilton pole position - 8/11

Hamilton has a great record around China particularly in qualifying and with the Mercedes and Hamilton taking the first pole of the season in Round 1, I expect him to do the same in Shanghai.

Kimi Raikkonen to win the race and get fastest lap - 33/1

Bold.  Kimi was nowhere in Australia due to a poor car set up.  If he nails the set up in China, it could be favourable to the Finn as he is quick on medium/high speed circuits and is good at managing his tyres in the race.  The Ferrari also appears to have a better race pace than the Mercedes.

Antonio Giovinazzi first driver to retire - 14/1

After a great debut weekend in Australia I've just got a bad feeling for this weekend as Giovinazzi replaces the injured Wehrlein.  Watching Giovinazzi in GP2 it was noticeable how aggressive he was on the opening laps as he often went side by side into corners, which sometimes resulted in him receiving damage.  The first sector is tight and challenging which could result in more contact, potentially leading to an early retirement.

Maplin

Force India double points finish - 9/2

Double points in Australia. This just looks too good a value to miss.

Race winning margin under 10 seconds - 5/4

Two evenly matched teams fighting for the win, can't imagine there being more than 10 seconds covering the top 4.

Feel free to comment with your own predictions for the race and the season.

Please gamble responsibly.

Chinese GP Predictions

Qualifying:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Kimi Raikkonen

Race: 

  1. Kimi Raikkonen
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sebastian Vettel

Safety car: No

Australian GP Bets Recap

The only win from the last race to come off was for both Toro Rosso's to finish in the points at 4/1.  In qualifying, I fell one driver short of predicting which drivers would beat their team mates when Ricciardo crashed out.  Surely I can get more than one win this weekend.

How Strategy Decided Australian GP

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

Vettel wins Australian GP

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel shared the front row of the grid for the first time since 2015.  When the chequered flag fell, it was Sebastian Vettel who took the first win of the season and an early championship lead.  Ferrari's strong race pace on the ultra soft tyres forced Mercedes into an early stop which proved to be the defining moment of the race.  

Lights out down under 

Hamilton lead away from the start but was hounded by Vettel who appeared comfortable in the dirty air of the Mercedes, at times reducing the gap to under a second.  In order to prevent an undercut, Mercedes opted to stop Hamilton early after complaints about a lack of grip during the first stint.  This early stop on lap 17 meant he rejoined behind the two Ferraris, his teammate and Max Verstappen.  Although Hamilton used his fresh soft tyres to close in on the Red Bull immediately, he was unable to find a way through and ultimately began losing time to the leader Vettel.  This allowed the Ferrari to rejoin in the net lead once he made his pit stop.  Vettel pulled away on his newer tyres while Hamilton struggled for pace as the time spent stuck behind Verstappen had caused his tyres to degrade.  Such was Hamilton's performance loss from his time behind the Red Bull, Valtteri Bottas managed to close in to just a couple of seconds by the end of the race.  

Ferrari stay out

After the race Jock Clear admitted that Ferrari were attempting to undercut Hamilton, but like most teams, was surprised by how early Hamilton had pitted.  Because of this, Ferrari intended to keep Vettel out for as long as possible, and then attack Hamilton in the final stint on fresher tyres. However, as the race played out with Hamilton stuck behind Verstappen, Vettel was in a great position to pull away on fresh tyres.  

Should Mercedes have stayed out?

Lewis Hamilton revealed after the race that it was his decision to come in early, although, this was only one lap earlier than Mercedes had planned.  With the lack of overtaking opportunities in the Australian Grand Prix, surely Mercedes would have realised he was going to come out in traffic and find it difficult to make the necessary progress.  So despite a lack of grip, would staying out and attempting to keep track position been a better move?

Maplin

Ferrari are quick

Perhaps no matter what strategy the team chose, the outcome would have still been the same such was Ferrari's pace this weekend.  It will be interesting to see how the strategies and performances of both teams will change in the next couple of races and throughout the season.  With overtaking looking challenging, it may be that most of the races are decided on the strategies the teams make.  

Let's see what happens in two week's time at the Chinese Grand Prix. 

Australian GP Predictions

By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702

Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.

It's the first race of the F1 season this weekend and it's time to make some race and qualifying predictions and attempt to win some money from the bookies. I will also be bold in this article and make some predictions for the whole season just so I can brag about how right I was in November... Or look rather foolish.

All odds are from Skybet. Other bookmakers are available.

Australian GP Bets

Hamilton Fastest qualifier and race win - 15/8

It looks as though Mercedes and Ferrari will be the quickest teams this weekend, so it is between four drivers for pole and the race win.  Hamilton has been on pole for the last three Australian GPs, winning one of them in 2015.  Providing he gets off the line cleanly, he should manage to keep a lead as overtaking opportunities are limited around Albert Park.

Ricciardo fastest lap - 10/1

Despite having an off the pace car at the start of last season Ricciardo actually set the fastest lap of the race in Melbourne.  Being on home soil may give him that extra boost to set the fastest lap, especially if he finds himself on an aggressive strategy and fresh tyres at the end of the race.  

Toro Rosso double points finish - 4/1

A bold bet this which could be reliant on some DNFs from the cars ahead of them. Toro Rosso usually start the season strongly, they have two quick drivers and look to be around the fourth or fifth quickest teams so providing they both make it to the end of the race, this bet could have a chance.

Lance Stroll first driver to retire - 14/1

I've gone for Lance Stroll to retire first from the Grand Prix as he is the youngest and most inexperienced driver on the grid.  He has already shown in testing that he can make mistakes and there could be a good chance of this happening into turn 1 on the first lap if he finds himself in the middle of the pack.  Something that could limit the chance of this bet coming in is the reliability of the McLaren Hondas which did not manage to run a race distance during testing.  

Race winning margin under 5 seconds - 6/5

I'm predicting closer racing this year, particularly in the early parts of the season where Ferrari look to be at least an equal to Mercedes.  If overtaking is as difficult as predicted then we may end up with a faster car stuck behind a slower one.  A late safety car could also enhance the chances of this happening.

As well as the above bets, I usually bet which drivers will beat their team mates in qualifying and the race, but I only do this after seeing times from the practice/qualifying sessions. I'll let you know how I get on in my predictions for the next race.

Feel free to comment with your own predictions for the race and the season.

Please gamble responsibly.

Australian GP Predictions

Qualifying:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Valtteri Bottas

Race: 

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Daniel Ricciardo

Safety car: Yes

Maplin

Championship Predictions:

Drivers Champion: Lewis Hamilton 

Runner Up: Valtteri Bottas

Third: Sebastian Vettel

 

Constructors Champion: Mercedes

Runner Up: Red Bull

Third: Ferrari

Fourth: Renault

 

Most Pole Positions: Lewis Hamilton

Most Wins: Lewis Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas to win 3 races

6 drivers to win a Grand Prix (Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari drivers)

Hulkenberg, Perez and Sainz to finish on the podium