The season preview is up for the 2019 Formula One campaign, but what about the weekend preview for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. This preview is more event specific.
Here are five storylines.
Can Vettel Go Back-To-Back-To-Back?
Sebastian Vettel is aimed to put last season’s disappointing end behind him. See, for the second straight year, Vettel won the season opener in Australia. In the race after, he won that too. Unfortunately, it was almost all downhill from there.
Now, can he go back-to-back-to-back in Melbourne on Sunday and keep his start of the season strength going?
Nobody has won three straight races in Australia since Michael Schumacher did it in 2000, 2001 and 2002. In fact, he’s the only one to be able to do it in general. If Vettel can win, he will join Schumacher and Lex Davison as the only three drivers to have won this event four times.
Sunday could be historic for Vettel.
Hamilton Eyeing 5th Straight Top 2
Hamilton may only have two career wins in Australia (2008, 2015) but it’s not like he hasn’t been close though. He’s finished runner-up in each of the last three years to go along with his win in 2015. That’s four straight top two finishes. Can he make it five on Sunday?
Will 1 Of The Big 3 Win?
It’s been 119 races since someone other than Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull won an F1 race. In fact, the last time it happened was in Australia in 2013. Kimi Raikkonen took his Lotus to victory lane that year. That’s the last time someone not of the “Big 3” in nature won an F1 event. In the last 118 races, it’s been all dominated by those top teams.
Will that change on Sunday?
Not A Good Track For Bottas/Verstappen
Yes, the “Big 3” have shined overall, but Australia isn’t the best of tracks for a two of the six combined drivers on these teams. Max Verstappen is the lead driver with Red Bull now but he has scored just one top five finish in his career in Melbourne. His last three finishes are – 10th, 5th and 6th respectively.
With a second year teammate in Pierre Gasly, who didn’t even finish with Toro Rosso a year ago, that opens the door for someone else.
Then there’s Valtteri Bottas. He finished eighth last year and in 2016 again too. His best finish on the track is third in 2017. Furthermore, he only has two top five finishes in six tries.
Throw in Charles LeClerc who finished 13th in a Sauber last year and Kimi Raikkonen being replaced in his Ferrari by LeClerc, and you have a potential for the post above to come true.
Ricciardo Looking For 1st Hometown Podium With New Team
Ricciardo, is the hometown here in Australia. But, he hasn’t performed the best in front of his home fans. In seven career starts, he’s yet to finish on the podium. His best result is fourth (2016, 2018). That was with Red Bull, one of those top teams. Now, he’s with a new team in Renault who hasn’t won a race in a long time.
Can he at least grab a top five on Sunday?