Kudos (and lots of money) to anyone who predicted Alguesuari would top P3. Admittedly, he did it by being one of only two drivers who went sailing around Lake Suzuka in the rain (the other being Glock).
The rain only intensified, and I woke at 6.45am to discover qualifying was delayed, then cancelled until tomorrow (2am UK time). So, this puts me in a tricky position. To bet on qualifying is to go without the handy guide of P3, and to bet on the race requires either getting up at around 2.30-3am to see Q3, or being brave/stupid/brilliantly insightful and betting pre-qualifying.
Weather could be the key factor. If it’s very bright (unlikely) a Vettel/Webber duel seems likely, as I stated in my first pre-qualifying piece. Presently the forecast seems to be that qualifying will be clear but damp from the yet-to-drain rain, and the race dry.
In the last 3 qualifying sessions Webber’s beaten Vettel in Belgium, been beaten by him in Singapore and beaten him in Italy. Past form in Suzuka is hard to assess because last year Webber didn’t start qualifying.
I’ve decided to back Webber at 5 [he’s now 4.8, and I’d take anything over 4]. Set up a hedge at evens. He’s been roughly Vettel’s equal in qualifying generally, and in P1 was less than a tenth of a second off the pace. With the weather, there’s also the possibility of Vettel going off [and he’s been a bit suspect in qualifying recently, with a surprise second in Singapore and a frankly rubbish sixth in Italy.
Unless it’s wet indeed, I still think a Red Bull front row likeliest.
I’m undecided about a pre-race post. I’d like to write one, but I’d rather not get up at 2-3am. Stupid bloody Japanese weather.