2019 F1 Australian GP: practice, qualifying, race start time, betting odds, TV guide

Melbourne hosts the opening race of the 2019 F1 season on Sunday
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix

  • What: race No.1 on the 2019 F1 calendar
  • When: 15-17 March
  • Where: Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
  • Race start time: 5.10am on Sunday 17 March (UK time)
  • TV channels: live on Sky Sports F1 and highlights on Channel 4

World champion Lewis Hamilton comes into the first race of the 2019 Formula 1 season knowing that his Mercedes team will have a tough challenge against Ferrari in Melbourne on Sunday.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won last year’s Australian Grand Prix and the German is the bookies’ favourite to start the new campaign with a victory.

Vettel impressed at pre-season testing in the new Ferrari SF90 and Hamilton told Sky Sports that Mercedes will “have work to do”. However, the five-time world champion says it could be too early to predict how things will play out in the opening race.

The British driver said: “It might be closer than we think, it might be a bigger gap than we think. We don’t know what they’ve got up their sleeve.”

In reply Vettel said: “At this point, we are all hunters and we are all hunted. Hopefully going away from here we will be the hunted.

“Last year’s winter testing didn’t go well. This year we are more prepared, our car seems to work fine. We’ll obviously try to have a great, smooth weekend. It’s always nice to kick-off the season with a good result.”

Debut boys

While Vettel and Hamilton continue their long-standing rivalry at the front of the grid there will be a number of new drivers making their F1 debuts this weekend. British rookies George Russell and Lando Norris will drive for Williams and McLaren respectively, while Alexander Albon steps up from F2 to race for Toro Rosso.

Fastest lap point

Starting this weekend in Melbourne each F1 grand prix will see a point awarded for the fastest race lap. The FIA confirmed: “One point will be awarded to the driver who achieves the fastest lap in a race, provided that driver is also classified in the top ten. A point will also be awarded to the Constructor of the driver setting the fastest lap.”


F1 Australian GP race guide

  • Circuit: Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Albert Park, Melbourne
  • First grand prix: 1996
  • Number of laps: 58
  • Circuit length: 5.303km
  • Race distance: 307.574km
  • Lap record: 1:24.125 by Michael Schumacher in 2004
  • 2018 podium: 1st Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari); 2nd Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes); 3rd Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari)
When are the practice sessions?

There are three full practice (FP) sessions in Australia. FP1 takes place at 1am and FP2 takes place at 5am on Friday 15 March. FP3 takes place at 3am on Saturday 16 March. All times UK.

When is qualifying?

The Australian GP qualifying session starts at 6am on Saturday 16 March.

What time does the race start?

The 2019 Australian GP begins at 5.10am (UK time) on Sunday 17 March.

Australian GP TV guide

Sky Sports will show live coverage of practice, qualifying and the race. Sky’s coverage from Melbourne will be simulcast on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event. Channel 4 will show highlights of qualifying and the race. All times UK.

F1 fans can also watch the action live on Now TV. Viewers can subscribe to a Sky Sports F1 season ticket via Now TV for all 21 race weekends. A one-off payment costs £195 – the equivalent of £5 per week.

Australian GP on Sky Sports F1
Friday 15 March
  • 12.30am: practice one build-up
  • 1am: practice one live
  • 4.45am: practice two build-up
  • 5am: practice two live
  • 7am: Australian GP: The story so far
Saturday 16 March
  • 2.45am: practice three build-up
  • 3am: practice three live
  • 4.10am: Paddock Walkabout
  • 5am: qualifying build-up
  • 6am: qualifying live (simulcast on Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)
  • 7.30am: The F1 Show: Australia
Sunday 17 March
  • 3.30am: Pitlane Live
  • 4.15am: On The Grid live
  • 5.10am: Australian Grand Prix live (simulcast on Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)
  • 7am: Paddock Live
  • 8am: full race replay
  • 11.35am: full race replay
Australian GP on Channel 4
  • Saturday 16 March: qualifying highlights at 12pm
  • Sunday 17 March: race highlights at 2.30pm

Australian GP betting odds

All prices according to Oddschecker (as of 14 March).

  • Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 6/4
  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 5/2
  • Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): 3/1
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 9/1
  • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes): 14/1
  • Pierre Gasly (Red Bull): 50/1
  • Nico Hulkenberg (Renault): 250/1
  • Daniel Ricciardo (Renault): 250/1




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