• Five words from the wise guys for punters who want to have a plunge on the 2019 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park this weekend.

    Ferrari, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Mercedes.

    That is the predicted order of finish for the race. The drivers’ names, respectively, for that list is, Sebastian Vettel ($2.75), Charles Leclerc ($3), Lewis Hamilton ($3.50), Max Verstappen ($8.50) and Valtteri Bottas ($11).

    The two at the top had better hope that Lewis Hamilton does not take umbrage at being on the third line for the first race of the 2019 F1 Championship.

    On the other hand, the bookies at Ladbrokes might be being generous quoting Daniel Ricciardo at $81.

    Someone may have been inhaling exhaust fumes, but we found it interesting that this bookie has rated Hamilton third for Melbourne, just as they have the West Coast Eagles in the AFL competition.

    There is a slight flipping of the script when it comes to the season-long drivers’ championship, where Hamilton resides atop ($2.25), followed by Sebastian Vettel ($2.63) and Charles Leclerc ($5.50).

    All those markets may shift when the starting grid is finalised. It will remain to be seen if F1 has done anything to improve the racing, which for the past several years has been mainly processional, with the car and driver starting at the front of the grid likely to win if said driver can take the lead going in and coming out of the first corner.

    Mark Webber, the Australian driver who brought F1 to the attention of Australia in the early years of the 21st century, thinks that Max Verstappen is the one to back and the hopes for Red Bull seemingly ride on the replacement of Renault engines with Honda power plants.

    Vettel had the fastest car in testing, so perhaps his name does belong at the top of the betting list for the Australian Grand Prix, but Webber has gone out on a limb; saw in hand, to proclaim that Verstappen is equal with Hamilton and ahead of Vettel. Those two have nine drivers’ championships between them, so Verstappen certainly carries the weight of expectations.