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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Max Verstappen value to reign in wet Australian GP qualifying

Red Bull ace caught the eye on practice day

Max Verstappen pilots his Red Bull around the Albert Park circuit
1 of 1

Australian Grand Prix qualifying
Sky Sports F1, 6am Saturday

It's not always a good idea to read too much into Friday practice times but at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix we don't have much more to go on.

The first day of track action produced a picture pretty similar to that predicted by paddock insiders.

Mercedes had the edge, with world champion Lewis Hamilton topping both sessions, but Red Bull, led by Max Verstappen, got closer than the Silver Arrows would have liked.

Verstappen's teammate, home hero Daniel Ricciardo, was handed a three-place grid penalty for not slowing sufficiently during a red-flag period.

Ferrari ran a conservative practice programme but ended up 0.3 seconds off the pace, which is about what testing indicated would be the case.

To muddy the waters, rain and thunderstorms are expected all Saturday in Melbourne.

With track conditions constantly changing, setting fast times becomes more of a lottery in the wet, but some drivers seem to shine more consistently in the rain.

Last year's Italian Grand Prix qualifying session was run in teeming rain, and Hamilton stormed to pole position by more than a second. However, it took a final banzai effort for him to depose long-time leader Verstappen in that session.

With the young Dutchman having made such a promising start to the weekend he can be considered a value each-way poke whether it rains or not.

Recommendation
M Verstappen fastest qualifier
1pt each-way 6-1 general


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Last year's Italian Grand Prix qualifying session was run in teeming rain, and Hamilton stormed to pole position by over a second
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