Monday, 14 June 2010

Canada: post-race analysis

Well, four tips, four bad calls, and all but one such that no laying was possible. Not a great weekend. On the other hand, Vettel was tipped to win at 5.7, fell to 4 immediately pre-race due to Webber’s five place grid penalty promoting Vettel to 2nd from 3rd, and layable in-race at 1.8 or even lower. So, if you’re the laying sort it was easy to finish all green for the race, though the fact remains that my Delphic powers were rather on a par with Stevie Wonder’s skills on a shooting range.

The 2.8 tip for McLaren to win the Constructors’ looks mildly better, but that’s a long way off.

The race itself was dramatic, exciting, unexpectedly devoid of safety cars and a fascinating spectacle. Best race this season? Possibly.

One thing made the race brilliant, and that was the tyre. Both soft and hard degraded rapidly, soft especially, but improved later in the race. Red Bull (and Kubica) opted, for the first time this season, to go for hard tyres in qualifying. Most people, including me, reckoned that this would be a big advantage without a safety car (one was expected but it never appeared). Despite that, the soft-starters had the advantage, and took all three podium spots.

There were plenty of crashes, a Liuzzi-Massa feud [glad to see Liuzzi’s best ever qualifying followed up with some points] and Schumacher driving like an absolute cock. It was also interesting to see, as Button pointed out post-race, that different cars were fastest at different times. A notable example is Alonso, who was first, I think, at one point but got passed by both McLarens as his tyres gave way.

Red Bull once again got hit by reliability. Webber got demoted before the race began, but did well to claim 5th. Vettel’s car suffered some sort of in-race issue, and he got 4th.

I’m glad F1’s back in Canada. Some tracks have great facilities for swanky spectators, but rubbish circuits (yes, Bahrain, I’m talking to you). This track produced a fantastic race, as Turkey did last time (incidentally, the Turkish GP may be under threat, and it’d be a real shame if it went).

So, let’s have a look at the Constructors’. Prior to Canada McLaren led Red Bull 172 to 171. Afterwards, it looks like this:
McLaren 215
Red Bull 193
Ferrari 161

That gap isn’t all that big, as 25 points now goes to the winner. However, the next circuit, Valencia, should also suit the McLaren, so it may well be stretched. Interesting how Ferrari aren’t miles behind either, despite not being in the hunt, really, since Bahrain. Presently McLaren are 1.96 for the title, with Red Bull 2.16. I think McLaren’s strength in development will see them win this. Red Bull had a huge performance advantage early on, but their shoddy reliability has cost them enormously, most especially Vettel.

Now, the Drivers’. Here’s how things stand:
Hamilton 109
Button 106
Webber 103
Alonso 94
Vettel 90

Staggering to see Vettel, who should’ve won all three of the first races (which would’ve netted him 75 points) behind Alonso. The top three are too close to separate. Three points equates to the difference between two high-ranking places (except 1st, which gives 7 points more than 2nd).

Hamilton’s 3, Vettel 4.8, Webber 5.6, Button 7.4. Of those, Button is best value, and I suspect both Red Bulls will see their odds lengthen after Valencia. I’m a bit exposed on Hamilton and Vettel, though the latter doesn’t concern me presently. I still don’t see why, with a three point difference, Button is more than 6/1 and Hamilton’s 2/1. My early season tip for Massa looks quite comical, but the Webber and Button tips (at something like 9 each, I think) were sounder.

Odd weekend. I got all my tips wrong, but finished ahead due to laying.

Well. After getting everything right at Turkey, this was a much less successful race. Let’s hope Valencia sees a better return.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

Best race of what is turning out to be a classic season.

I think the relative odds for Hamilton and Button aren't entirely ridiculous. This race really ought to put paid to the idea that Hamilton can't manage his tyres, and he seems to have a small but increasingly consistent speed advantage over Button. I'll grant greater strategic nouse to Button, but that's countered by Hamilton's overtaking brilliance.
With the odds available, there's no reason not to have a little money on a Button revival, but not that much.

Valencia will be important, as it's another potential winning track for McLaren, so Button really needs those 25 points.

Webber again outdrove his younger teammate. Outqualified Vettel again, and but for a strategy blunder by Red Bull (it was clear at the time that they ought to have brought him in for the last change of tyres many laps earlier), he'd have finished ahead of him having started five places back (though you could argue that he should have made the tyre call himself).
Is Vettel starting to look a little fragile, like his car ?

Lucian Fletcher said...

What Jenson Button has achieved this season, moving to McLaren and giving Lewis Hamilton a real run in his first season, is highly impressive. I concur that Hamilton is favourite but I would not be remotely upset if Jenson beat him. I think those claiming Jenson would be shown up (and there were a good few of those) are having to eat a large slice of humble pie.

Schumacher's woes = Schadenfreude!

Morris Dancer said...

I think that's a shade unfair on Vettel. Yes, he was outqualified, but if his car had been reliable he may have been able to challenge Alonso.

I agree that there was a strategic blunder regarding Webber, and keeping him out too long, but the bigger one was qualifying on hard tyres.

I've moderated my position a bit so I'm less red on Vettel and Hamilton.

I agree that Hamilton has handled his tyres much better than expected this season, and that Button's got a better head on his shoulders. I think you may be underestimating Button's overtaking abilities (Interlagos last year springs to mind).

Anyway, in Valencia my first thoughts will be looking at the McLaren odds, and maybe Force Indias and Kubica as well.

Morris Dancer said...

Another thought, that I may come back to in the pre-Valencia post:

Would the Red Bulls have kept pole position if they'd been on softs? It may be that their failure this weekend was mostly predicated on going hard initially (as it were :p), losing track position and then suffering from poorish strategy. With soft tyres initially, they may've led from the start.

If so, that could mean they stand a real chance of pole in Valencia. Last time, I think Webber got 9th, so Vettel may have a chance to bounce back there. (Vettel retired with an engine failure).

Simon said...

MD, what are your thoughts on the Betfair 1st Time Champion market? "No" is now odds on having been odds against for the past couple of months, and appears good value to me with maybe a saver on Vettel.

Morris Dancer said...

Personally, I'm not too sure. Right now we have 4-5 title contenders (two McLarens, two Red Bulls and maybe Alonso). Of those, 2 (the Red Bulls) haven't won before.

It's quite difficult to know this far out. I have looked at that market occasionally, but I'm not sure it's value. If Red Bull can banish reliability issues, they could be back in pole position, but if McLaren maintain their excellent rate of development they'll be the ones to beat.

That's not incredibly helpful, but I honestly don't know. I haven't bet on that market, and don't intend to.