Sunday, 4 April 2010

Malaysia: post-race analysis

I am beginning to hate Red Bull. I think the team is fine, and I like Vettel a lot, but their reliability has thwarted me yet again. If one had failed, the Kubica bet would’ve worked. If both, the Rosberg bet too would’ve come good. Instead, infuriatingly, their car failed to explode even a little bit.

No rain put paid to the safety car bet as well. I think Rosberg was a misjudgement on my part, he may be the new Kovalainen, punching below his weight come race day. Kubica at 5.6 for a podium was reasonable, and damned unlucky not to have any rain at all. Oh well. Still marginally ahead for the race weekend.

The race itself was quite entertaining, especially as it was dry throughout, yet not a procession like Bahrain. Hamilton cut through the field, as did Button to a lesser extent. I was, however, more impressed with the Ferraris, especially Massa, who has been poor at every part of the weekend except the race.

Many cars broke, including Schumacher’s and Alonso’s. We also saw in the race that the Force India is strong on straights, with even Hamilton unable to pass Sutil, and that the Red Bull loves fast corners.

Although it was bad for my bank balance, it’s impossible to say that Vettel does not deserve a win. In fact, he deserves three. I wish Webber’s car had broken, but sadly it didn’t happen.

The title challenge is three races old now, and is tantalisingly close. Here are the top 6:
Massa 39
Alonso 37
Vettel 37
Button 35
Rosberg 35
Hamilton 31

At the moment reliability is outdoing raw speed, but only just. The question of how this unfolds depends on whether Red Bull can stay reliable and whether they maintain dominance at other tracks. If, like last season, different tracks favour different cars that bodes ill for Vettel. However, their car does seem to be top dog by a distance. I can’t decide whether Massa was a good bet at the moment. He’s been pretty consistent and tops the table by a slender margin, and has done well at two tracks he looked like being very poor at. However, he’s never really fired on all cylinders and has yet to score a victory. Surprised his odds are out at 13. He’s gone from 4 points adrift to 2 points ahead and his odds have lengthened.

The next race is in China, in a fortnight. Last season it was the only one of the first seven races not to feature a Brawn victory, and saw Vettel do a single ultra-fast lap in qualifying to get pole. Vettel went on to deservedly win the race.

So, a mixed bag this weekend for me, but overall slightly ahead, and that’s an improvement. Let’s hope there are more winning tips in China.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

We sort of forgot the other lottery factor about wet weekends - whether or not it actually rains. I should have got up early and checked the forecast. Had I done so, I might have put some money on the Red Bulls, but as it was, the race was already underway.
I'm just glad to have come away without losing anything this weekend.

I don't agree with you about Rosberg, as his car wasn't fast enough to do anything more than he did - which was to comprehensively outperform his seven-times-WDC teammate.

Vettel looks to be the firm favourite for China if it stays dry.

The championship is fascinating, with the five leading contenders within eight points. Even with one team scoring a 1-2 in China, it should remain wide open pending the major upgrades (and new wing mirrors) in Spain.

Morris Dancer said...

Vettel may be favourite in the wet for China too, as I think his victory last year was somewhat watery.

I think Ferrari are looking good for the Constructors'. Webber's a weak link for Red Bull and the Mercedes isn't up to speed. Very hard to call the title race. I hope Massa continues to lead it though.

Nigel said...

I honestly don't think Webber's a weak link. He's probably the best teammate a top driver could wish for.

On his day, he's as fast as Vettel; though nowhere near consistently enough to challenge him. When racing the competition, he's aggressive to the point of recklessness; racing his partner, he's a perfect gentleman. When Vettel fails, and the car is right, he's good enough to win.
OK, from the team's POV, he's quite not perfect, but I'm sure they would prefer him to Massa - and having a perfect No.2 is in many ways preferable to having two quasi No.1s.

I also think both the Constructors' and Drivers' are wide open until Spain, and quite possibly after that. Too many significant variables (reliability, development resources, technical rulings etc) to allow for at this stage.

I'm definitely reading your opinions before placing any bets for China, though. :-)

Morris Dancer said...

Hehe, is that to follow my tips or to see which bets you should be avoiding? :P

We'll just have to disagree over Webber.

I do wonder who I'd back at the season start if I knew how the three races went.