Lewis Hamilton still had his happy face in 2016 testing – and I’m backing that continue in Australia too.

Just like last season, the 2016 betting field is so close – and there are a lot of big questions everybody is asking ahead of the season-opening grand prix in Australia.

Are we going to have close racing at the front? Have Ferrari closed the gap to Mercedes? Have McLaren Honda actually improved? And the only way we will find out is by ticking our way through this year’s calendar – starting this weekend in Melbourne.

So just like 2015, to make the weekends that little bit more interesting I will let you in on the three bets I will place to add a little more spice to qualifying and the race. And of course, if you would like to follow me then please be my guests – but be careful with the stakes on opening weekend, as the first round is notoriously unpredictable…

ONE – You could say Lewis Hamilton had an extra-long winter after securing his third title early, and I’m sure the Brit will want to come back strong and show Nico Rosberg he is still number one at Mercedes. Nico was strong at the end of last year with six poles in a row, but I’m confident Lewis will have fresh motivation and secure the first pole position of 2016.

Lewis Hamilton to be on pole position: Evens (Bet365, Betfair, Betway, Coral, Ladbrokes & Skybet)

TWO – I believe most F1 viewers are hoping McLaren Honda have made some improvements so we can see two former champions competing at the front. It could be while – if ever – before we see them competing at the front in a McLaren Honda, but I hope they have made enough of an improvement to be competing for points finishes every weekend. As I’m in a positive mood and the odds seem relatively big, I’m going for Jenson Button to finish in the points in Melbourne.

Jenson Button points finish: 9/4 (Betfair & Ladbrokes)

THREE – Force India produced some quick laps over the eight days of testing and were very strong at the end of last season. I feel they could be competing with Williams to be third-quickest behind Mercedes and Ferrari this season, so the odds for Nico Hulkenberg to finish in the top six seem pretty good value.

Nico Hulkenberg to finish in the top six: 15/8 (Skybet)

Good luck and remember to bet responsibly.

Kyle Cumbers is a member of the NRF1 Podcast crew. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kcumbers