As mentioned previously, this post is written before P3 as well as qualifying. I’m going to do a pre-qualifying post for the next race, and then evaluate whether it’s worthwhile or whether I should go back to just a pre-race and post-race format.
We’re now in Australia, which last year saw a Vettel 50/50 incident (he was second, trying to hold off Kubica and the two came together and spun off). Naturally, the Brawns dominated with a 1-2.
P2 was hit by rain, rather distorting the times. In addition, the Ferraris and Vettel seem to have been running heavily laden with fuel, making reading their raw pace very difficult. However, the McLarens have been consistently fast, with a 1-2 in P2 and Button 3rd in P1.
P2 also saw Webber 3rd, with Vettel in 16th, the meat in a Ferrari sandwich. Suggests the Red Bull may be competitive over one lap whether on fumes or carrying a piano on the back.
Mercedes were 2nd in P1 (Rosberg), but in P2 Schumacher beat the young pretender, coming 4th.
I’ve had a quick look at the past comparisons of practices and qualifying for Australia. In 2009 qualifying had Button, Barrichello, Vettel, Kubica, Rosberg, Massa. Despite taking poll, Button never topped the timesheets and in 2/3 practice sessions lagged behind Barrichello. So, rather unhelpfully, with extra fuel considerations this time, P3 yet to occur and rain meaning P2 was effectively 30 minutes long I’m not sure predicting anything for qualifying would be wise.
I had a quick look at the market, but I’ve got to refrain from recommending anything.
Now, a quick word about the top drivers’ market. It came up post-Bahrain, and is an interesting idea. Vettel and Alonso are considered dead certs (1.04) and I don’t disagree with that (if 1.05 were the lay value I might consider it, given how early the season is, but 1.6 is the lay price and it’s too long). Hamilton and Massa are next up, at 1.6 and 1.4 respectively. I think Hamilton’s too short, and Massa’s about right. I’ll keep my eye on it, but presently no real value, I think.
Vettel’s slipped on the driver’s market to 3.85, and Massa’s lengthened to 10.5. If I weren’t already green on Massa I’d probably put a small sum on him. Hamilton is too short at 7, Massa should be clear third favourite, in my view.
Sorry I can’t post any tips (barring the 10.5 on Massa if you haven’t backed him yet). Be interested to hear what regular readers think of the pre-qualifying piece and if it should remain or not.