Blimey. The most surprising qualifying session this year, in terms of pole position. Hulkenberg came from nowhere to not only claim pole but slaughter the opposition. He beat 2nd-placed Vettel by over a second. Amazing. His odds were as long as 400/1 to get pole. Absolutely astounding performance. But will he be able to hold on during the race?
The closest comparable event is, I think, Fisichella’s Spa pole in 2009 for Force India. At the time, I suspected he would spend the race going backwards, and so he did, only to second and he was always close to eventual race winner Raikonnen.
Hulkenberg has a bigger problem, though. We are at the sharp end of a title race with four serious contenders, every one of which is immediately behind him. At the same time, there is a lot of speculation he’ll be axed by Williams and replaced by a driver with a lot of cash. Glory aside, he has a huge reason to do well.
After The Hulk, we have Vettel and Webber, then Hamilton and Alonso. After these title contenders are Barrichello and Kubica, Schumacher, Massa and Petrov. Interestingly, the best placed team after Red Bull is Williams, suggesting that whilst Hulkenberg was spectacular in qualifying, the car itself is performing nicely at Interlagos.
Just checking odds to get an idea of possible bets, and seen Hulkenberg is 33/1 for the win. From pole. This must be a record. Given the reliability issues of Red Bull I am seriously tempted by this. Recent precedents for this include the Fisichella drive at Spa last year and the Toro Rosso victory of Vettel [slightly different, as it happened in the rain]. In fact, every one of the four drivers immediately behind him are shorter (Alonso’s odds are just 10/1).
33/1 is ridiculous for a chap on pole. Yes, the odds are against him, but not that much. I’ve got to back him.
At the same time, I’ve laid him at 1.99 [not much available, but hopefully there will be] to lead lap 1. If he can stay ahead for much longer than that his victory odds ought to tighten substantially.
Update: there’s now £1,900 to lay at 1.91.
Anyway, it’s a bit late and that’s all I’ve got to offer. Tomorrow is all about The Hulk.