Well, I missed Q3, which annoyed me. However, Vettel winning was a nice start to the race weekend. I was surprised Hamilton pipped Alonso to 3rd (potential for a tasty contest there). Massa also did well, getting to 5th, and Kubica was a little slower than I expected in 6th.
The forecast for the race is dry, and it’s not an easy circuit to overtake on. This may mean that the biggest potential race-changing events are the start and the pit stops [rather obviously]. Sadly Bridgestone have not supplied tyres made of cheese, so they will probably hold up really well and we’ll have a dull one stop strategy from everybody.
Another factor to consider is reliability. Vettel had some sort of gearbox problem which, happily, did not require a change, and this a race after Webber’s broke in Montreal. The Red Bull still seems fragile. McLaren have been rock solid, and Ferrari (earlier this year) had some heating issues which may potentially cause them a problem or two.
Unlike qualifying, where I thought it unusually clear to back Vettel, this is tricky. I’ve decided, after much deliberation, to back Hamilton for the win. Vettel is favourite to win (shorter than evens) but that is too short for a chap in a car which has faster qualifying than race pace and has an allergy to high points totals and explodes accordingly. The McLaren did better on its tyres in Montreal, and has the speed on the straights to overtake, if close enough. Hamilton starts on the clean (odd-numbered) side of the track, which may help him pass Webber, and possibly Vettel (though I doubt it) at the start.
So, I’m backing Hamilton to win at 6. Naturally, I’ll set up a lay (probably 1.5ish. Incidentally, the lay value I put in for Vettel was 1.2).
The podium market also interested me. I looked at laying Alonso (evens) and backing Massa (4) but I have some doubts over Ferrari reliability and their success or failure would largely depend on the Red Bulls breaking down. After mulling it over and umming and ahing I’ve decided to leave this alone.
So, a single tip again: Hamilton to win at 6 [and, as always, I advocate laying him when appropriate].