Well, that was a mixed qualifying session. I was pleased and surprised how deep into the drop zone Button was in Q2, and surprised and disappointed Webber didn’t really seem to have a chance at pole. If you backed both you should be ahead, and according to The Ten Rule (£10 backing every tip, no laying) you’d be up £23.34.
As well as Vettel and Webber locking out the front row, a notable success was Alonso in 3rd, just ahead of his best friend forever Hamilton. If there’s contact between the two in turn 1 I’m sure it’ll just be them getting close for a good luck hug.
Rosberg did well to get to 5th, Schumacher disappointed in 10th. Barrichello did well to achieve 8th, and Silverstone’s been a happy hunting ground for him so he may climb the ranks during the race.
For the race, it looks set to be a catfight between Randy Mandy and Luscious Liz (the chassis of Vettel and Webber respectively. Liz was originally Vettel’s girl, but Webber had to make do with the cast-off after he rather spectacularly used Kovalainen’s Lotus as a take-off ramp for aerial acrobatics last time round).
Red Bull rather disgracefully replaced Vettel’s front end with Webber’s (it’s a new version), so Webber got both an old chassis and an old nose cone/front wing. That could’ve made the difference in qualifying but, more importantly, will do nothing to calm down the rivalry between the two drivers.
Barring collision or similar calamity (possibly from reliability) I can’t see beyond a Red Bull victory. The odds are pretty rubbish, especially for Vettel. 1.2 for the team win, 1.6 for Vettel, 4.2 for Webber’s somewhat better. Unfortunately this also makes the podium market damned hard because (I believe) there’s effectively a single slot up for grabs.
Overtaking is tricky, though not impossible, and the possibility of a safety car and pit stop timing could shake things up. The track is not hard-wearing on the tyre, so there’s quite a large window and lots of freedom to pick the moment of pitting.
Weather-wise, it’s expected to be dry throughout, removing one variable (probably).
I can’t see any value in the big markets. Red Bull and Vettel are too short given the possible reliability issues and the general unpredictability of F1. Webber’s not bad at 4.2, but I suspect (barring problems, obviously) Vettel will scamper away and win.
After a lot of deliberation, I’ve decided to tip Petrov to get points, at 4.2 (lay set up at 1.5). In previous years it has been possible for drivers to climb from far back (he starts 16th) to achieve 10th or better. Kubica showed the car (even adding 0.2s as a P3 suggested gap from Kubica’s pace to Petrov’s) well capable of better speed than most of those ahead of Petrov. I also think numerous cars may fail to finish due to reliability/spinning and during practice lots of cars briefly left the track, which could aid Petrov.
Of the Grand Prix he’s finished, he’s improved his grid position at half, and dropped down in the race in the other half.
It’s a bit speculative, but I can’t find anything else that catches my eye. The race itself should be great fun, with the Red Bull and Hamilton-Alonso battles we can expect.