Hmm. The weekend before the race I had a quick look at Button’s record here (he’s 10, 5 more than Hamilton, for pole, so I thought it might be value). He’s finished second to his team mate [of the time] at every British Grand Prix after 2005. Not a good record. Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso have all won here.
However, the circuit has been altered, lengthening the lap and the lap time. Remains to be seen what the impact of this will be.
P1 saw Vettel top the timesheets by 0.3s, then Hamilton, Kubica, Webber, Sutil, Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Button, Schumacher and Barrichello.
P2 again saw Red Bull fastest, but this time it was Webber, with Alonso a surprise in second, then Vettel, Massa, Rosberg, Schumacher, Petrov, Hamilton, Sutil, Barrichello with Button a lowly 13th.
McLaren’s performance was, indeed, so poor that the team decided to ditch the upgrades for the weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how they do in P3 and qualifying.
P3 saw, towards the very end, Vettel’s nose cone go wonky and slump down. Not sure how serious an issue it is (Red Bull managed to remove it easily enough). Button had some sort of suspension problem, and Ferrari were looking into a mysterious problem with Alonso’s car. Anyway, the order was Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Kubica, Hamilton, Schumacher, de la Rosa and Barrichello, with Button in 12th.
The weather is looking good for qualifying.
McLaren not looking good, and, worse still for them, the Mercedes, Williams, Ferrari and Renault are all looking tasty, with Red Bull as imperious as ever.
Bit of a toss up between the Red Bulls, I think, with Alonso a potential wild card. I’ve backed Webber at 2.94. It’s true he was second in the simulation, but he spent most of P3 with heavy fuel, whereas Vettel was light throughout. Plus, Vettel’s confidence/car may be slightly damaged by the nose cone going wonky. So, back Webber at 2.94 (I’ve set up a lay at 1.2).
This is a quote from the BBC F1 site:
“BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson: "If the problem with the nose mounting on Vettel's car is on the chassis side, it's a big problem."”
Apparently a new nose has been tried, and it’s holding.
Button has come 8th, 13th and 12th in each practice session. I got a miniscule sum laying him at 1.12 to reach Q3, and a bit more at 1.26. After wrestling a bit with it, I’ve decided to tip laying him to reach Q3 at 1.3.
So, Webber for pole at 2.94 (it’s just lengthened actually), and lay Button for Q3 at 1.3 (I’d set up a back at something like 3 or 4, just in case).