No tip offered, due to the timezone, and now I feel like a moron. Hamilton tempted me at 5, but I neither tipped nor backed it, and didn’t even mention it. I thought that the pace advantage was strictly wet weather, and whilst the gap did close I was wrong and missed a tasty triumph. Oh well.
Schumacher qualified in a relatively poor 12th, however, he was unfairly disadvantaged. The Pirelli tyre set he used was, unusually, out of balance and this caused a substantially vibration and cost him circa 0.9s. I hope he gets a new set for free, as, being 12th, he can obviously opt to change without penalty but he’s already lost out due to Pirelli’s mistake and he shouldn’t lose a set of supersofts because of that.
For the first time this year a Red Bull was not on pole. Vettel was two-tenths down from Hamilton, who seemed very emotional and was just keeping it all together instead of celebrating. Button got 3rd, Webber 4th, Massa again beat Alonso (5th and 6th), and they were followed by Rosberg, Petrov, di Resta and Sutil.
The run to turn 1 is pretty short. However, Coulthard suggested in commentary that the McLarens might have a long first gear which could cost them at the start but help them out during the race (I’m not well-informed enough to explain why that should be the case, I’m afraid). I’ll check out the first lap leader market, and see what odds Vettel is to lead.
The grid was ideally set up for an exciting race, but a bit of a bugger when it came to betting. In the end I backed Button for the win at 4.7, with a lay at 1.8.
From the main site: “I was agonising over betting on Vettel to lead lap 1 at 6.8, but decided against it after reading of the Vettel non-penalty and Button's relief.”
The race start was unusual as everyone predicted the dirty (even) side of the track would be severely disadvantaged. In truth, there was no difference whatsoever, and the long McLaren first gear didn’t hamper them at all either. Infuriatingly, Vettel did pass Hamilton on lap 1, using the very long straights to get a great slipstream, pass him and then be in the lead in the twisty section where passing is very hard. [Hopefully I’ll remember this for next year]. Meanwhile, Button was third off the line but got passed thrice on lap 1 and ended up 6th.
At the front, it was depressingly familiar. Vettel rode off into the sunset, his serene procession to victory disturbed only by the occasional effort to secure fastest lap (which he did on the final lap).
However, there was a tasty fight that lasted much of the race between second-placed Hamilton and Webber. Contrary to expectations the Red Bull actually had the edge on the McLaren throughout the race. However, Hamilton defended very well, and superior traction into the DRS straight prevented Webber being close enough to take advantage.
Button was aided by poor initial pits by the Ferraris and got out into 4th, where he was neither particularly threatened nor particularly threatening. After the race both McLaren drivers complained of understeer, suggesting the set-up was slightly wrong, perhaps compromising any prospect of victory.
Interestingly, Ferrari decided to let its drivers race. As a result, Alonso was held up by Massa for the first half of the race, stayed out longer with quick primes and managed to pass him at the pit stop stage. After that he was often the fastest man on the track and was very close to Button at the end. His comedy radio message “I give up” provided some entertainment near the end. The commentary team were undecided as to whether it was a cunning plan to try and lull Button into a sense of false security, or an unsubtle way of saying “Never, ever let Massa hold me up again, you clowns.”
Schumacher failed to finish due to being rammed from behind by Petrov (as it were), and Rosberg got passed by Alguesuari near the end, the pair ending up 7th and 8th. The Toro Rosso was pretty tasty all weekend, and was the only car faster in a straight line than the Mercedes.
Quite an entertaining race, slightly spoilt by the unchallenged supremacy of the newly re-crowned Weltmeister.
Also worth mentioning that tyre degradation was nowhere near as bad as feared, and what had been mooted as a possible 5 stop race turned into a 2 stopper, with very little pace difference between the supersofts and softs.
Bloody dire betting weekend. I can forgive myself the failure to go for the 5 pole bet on Hamilton, as I almost always bet just after P3. But I really buggered up the First Lap Leader bet. 6.8 was there for the taking. On the plus side, I’m so pissed off with myself for the error of judgement that I’m hopeful I’ll remember next year and not do it again.
The Button bet was reasonable, though wrong, but he never got close enough for it to even be laid. Just a rubbish betting weekend, really. The only plus side is that I didn’t go for other failed prospective bets I was considering (Schumacher at 3 for top 6 and Hamilton-Button to be top 2 at 3.25). The rocky second half of the season continues.
In non-whinging news, Red Bull secured their second Constructors’ in a row, which was not very surprising. They have had the best car, but I think Vettel may be an even bigger asset than Newey, judging by the advantage he’s had over his team mate. Next year there are few regulation changes, for once, so hopefully it’ll get closer at the front and Mercedes can offer a car capable of podiums or the odd victory.
So, the preantepenultimate race has not been a happy one for me. The antepenultimate race takes place in India in a fortnight. P3 ends at 7.30am (bit weird for a half hour finish) so I may be able to offer a qualifying tip, or two. Let’s hope it’s a bit more profitable.
Just checked the Indian circuit diagram. After the start, which is quite long, there’s a very long straight, so that could enable two opportunities for passing (or, for the leader to re-take first position if he gets dropped to second off the line) and could be a rare case of hedging a First Lap leader bet making sense. I’ll consider it nearer the time.