2017-2018 Formula One Season: Australian Grand Prix
March 23, 2017 by Marc Jerbs

The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia will host the opening-season race of the 2017 Formula One, the Australian Grand Prix. The street race circuit will held the event starting March 24 for the first two practice sessions then March 25 for the qualifying session and on March 26 for race day.

Friday's practices will start at 12 noon for the 1st session and 4PM for the 2nd session. Saturday's qualifying session will begin at 5PM and on Sunday's race day it will be at 4PM local time. The 58-lap race will cover a total race distance of 307.574 km. The fastest lap record was established by Michael Schumacher in 2004 with a lap time of 1 min and 24.125 seconds.

Defending champion Nico Rosberg has tendered his surprise and irrevocable retirement after winning last season's F1 title. Mercedes' still has another champion driver in their stable, Lewis Hamilton. He will race with Valtteri Bottas as his new teammate replacing Nico Rosberg. Ferrari will still be bannered by Sebastian Vettel and veteran Kimi Raikkonen.

During the pre-season testing, it was evident that the other teams have inched closer to the 3-year dominance of Mercedes' in Formula One. The teams have closed the gap in terms of speed and reliability when they unveiled their new F1 race car packages. It was evident that the Ferrari team has a superb F1 car in their disposal. They are really fast and no team could match their speed during the pre-season testing even the Mercedes team could not catch them.

The race handicappers have installed Lewis Hamilton as the driver to beat on Sunday's Australian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas are among Lewis Hamilton's strongest challengers in the race.

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