When is the Australian Grand Prix, what TV channel is it on, and who has the fastest car for the 2017 F1 season?

Telegraph Sport
Home favourite Daniel Ricciardo, here pictured the 2014 Australian GP - Getty Images Sport

When is it?

It's Sunday, March 26.

What time does the race start?

The scheduled start time is 6:00am BST.

What TV channel can I watch it on?

Sky Sports F1 is the only broadcaster showing the Australian race live, though Channel 4 will still show free-to-air highlights.

Lewis Hamilton in action in his Mercedes during the 2017 pre-season testing Credit: TONI ALBIR/EPA

What are the other session times?

Practice sessions one and two will be held at 1:00am and 5:00am BST respectively on Friday, March 24.

The third and final practice session will begin on Saturday at 3:00am, with qualifying to follow at 6:00am.

What are they saying?

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas was hired on a one-season contract as a late replacement for the retiring world champion Nico Rosberg Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty

I don't fear that I will be the number two at Mercedes.

Mercedes do not have a number one, or a number two driver, so it is up to me to perform. As long as I do my job, which is to perform on the level where the car should be, we are all good and I know I can do it.

I am very excited about going up against Lewis. He is a three-time world champion and a great reference point. Everybody knows exactly how good he is as a driver.

In testing we managed to work well together and there was a good team spirit. I see no reason why it should not continue like that.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes executive director

Can Mercedes maintain their dominance after the big regulations overhaul this winter? Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty 

We have been very successful over the last three years through stable rules – but no team has ever maintained its success over such a big regulation change before.

In a way, it's just what the doctor ordered. To have such a challenge is good for the team.

We have done the best job we possibly could over the winter and, if we are not the fastest in Melbourne, then it's about finding out why and what needs to be done to get us back to that top spot.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton is hoping to reclaim the title he won previously in 2016, 2015 and 2008 Credit: Dan Istitene/Getty 

I think Ferrari are bluffing and that they are a lot quicker than they are showing.

They're very close to us. It's difficult right now to say exactly who is quicker. But they are very close, if not faster.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari driver

Sebastian Vettel will hope Ferrari's early-season promise will not fade as it did in 2016 Credit: Francisco Seco/AP

I think we are better prepared than last year, we did more laps.

I think overall the team is in a better shape. I think we learned a lot from last year, and I think last year was the most important year for us.

Even if you look at the results you say it was not such a successful one, but I think what happened in the background was really, really important to make a step forward, and hopefully we’ve done that. But I don’t think we’ll get a proof or have a real idea until Melbourne or the first couple of races.

 

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What are the latest betting odds?

To win the 2017 drivers title:

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - EVENS
  • Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - 7/2
  • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - 5/1
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 17/2
  • Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - 8/1
  • Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - 9/1
  • Felipe Massa (Williams) - 200/1
  • Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) - 300/1
2016 champion Nico Rosberg (left) has retired, leaving the drivers' crown undefended Credit: Clive Mason/Getty 

To win the Australian Grand Prix:

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 5/4
  • Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - 10/3
  • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - 11/2
  • Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - 7/1
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 10/1
  • Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - 10/1
Michael Schumacher won the 2000 edition en route to his third world title Credit: Rick Rycroft/AP

To be the first retirement of the season:

  • Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) - 8/1
  • Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren-Honda) - 8/1
  • Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso) - 14/1
  • Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) - 14/1
  • Jolyon Palmer (Renault) - 16/1
  • Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) - 16/1
Fernando Alonso retired from the 2016 race after a terrifying crash at turn three, suffering only minor injuries but having to sit out the next race Credit: ALEX COPPEL/AFP/Getty

Prediction

Let's be incredibly negative and say the rule shake-up will have made no difference to the established order in F1.

Mercedes to cruise to victory, Hamilton edging Bottas while he still finds his feet, with Ferrari a 'strong' second-best.

Who do you think will win? Tell us below.

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