Saturday, 24 March 2012

Malaysia: pre-race

A gearbox change for Raikkonen meant he got a five place grid penalty.

My cunning plan to hope for dry weather and then back No Safety Car at around 2.4 was dealt a blow when two wise fellows form the main site (one personally in Malaysia and the other with friends there) warned me that a tropical storm was highly probable. Unfortunately the weather forecasts this morning agree there’s a pretty high chance of rainfall, so I’m not betting on the safety car either way.

Q3 was more or less as expected, with the three backmarker teams (HRT, Marussia and Caterham) all going out, along with Toro Rosso’s Vergne.

Q2 was very tight, with the seven eliminated separated by just half a second. Slightly surprisingly both Williams were out, and (less surprisingly) so was Massa. Both Force Indias, Kobayashi and Ricciardo also failed to reach Q1.

Q1 was very exciting. Hamilton got another stellar lap, though I think the set he achieved it on was subsequently flat-spotted (this can be very minor or cause vibrations so bad [as happened to Vergne] that a change is needed). Button came second, again, and Methuselah Schumacher was third. Webber did well to get fourth, although we’ll have to wait and see whether he’ll have one of his rubbish starts again. Raikkonen had the 5th fastest time, but will start 5 grid slots further down due to his gearbox change. Vettel is next, and he’s been quite cunning (possibly). Instead of trying to beat the McLarens on the faster but less durable medium compound he went for the hard tyre. More on this below. Then came Grosjean and Rosberg, again out-qualified by his team mate, followed by Alonso and Perez.

In Australia the prime (in that case the medium) tyre was clearly superior. Any speed loss was fairly small but the increased durability was far more important. Vettel is clearly reckoning on this being likewise in Malaysia, and a number of radio transmissions complaining of tyres going off would seem to back this up. However, it’s worth pointing out that this is not a certainty.

It might be rainy at the start. If so, everyone will be on intermediates or wets (I hope we don’t have a safety car start). Secondly, softer tyres start better, and everyone around Vettel will be on the medium (softer/option) tyre.

My own feeling is that it’s probably a good idea for Vettel.

Mr. Putney’s top 6 bet on Grosjean looks like it might well come off, if he has a reasonable start.

It’s a very exciting but rather difficult grid off of which to make predictions, coupled with the possibility (but not almost certainty) of precipitation. Vettel’s tyre choice in Q3 will also make the race more exciting, but at the same time more unpredictable.

In the end, I decided to back Button for the win at 3.35, with a hedge set up at 1.4. I was tempted by quite a few other potential bets but it’s a difficult race to predict so I just went for the single bet.

Morris Dancer


Anonymous said...

Great Pre-Race piece from you this morning Morris and I think you've picked up a canny value bet there on Button to win at 3.35 - his best price right now is a somewhat skinnier 3.2. It's difficult to see him finishing outside the top three so this looks like a good bet. Please would you explain to the thickos amongst us, like me, why you invariably appear to set up a lay position on your bets.... is it just that you are a cautious fellow?
Your pick has sort of persuaded me to follow suit, but with something of a variation on this theme.
I've chosen to back Lewis Hamilton to achieve the "Hat Trick" i.e. Pole (already landed of course), GP Win and Fastest Lap offered together as a bundle at 5.0 from Blue Square (others go as low as 4.0). With Lewis at evens or less with some bookies to win the GP, this looks like cracking value to me. I've invested just enough so that if this bet delivers, it saves any possible losses on my other ">6 Second Winning Margin" and "Grosjean Top 6 Finish" bets.
Taken together, my maximum profit should all three bets deliver is approx £36, compared with a maximum loss of half that amount should they all go down.
Plenty of bangs for my bucks in that handy little trio I reckon, but we'll know soon enough!

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

It's just because I'm cautious, essentially.

In 2010, wih hedging, I had a more or less flat season result, but it was a loss without hedging.

In 2011, when I kept better records, the non-hedging profit was almost twice that of the hedged profit.

The Hat trick on Hamilton sounds quite reasonable. Obviously he has pole, but his lack of restraint means that (not unlike Vettel) he'll likely clock up the fastest lap if he wins.

Saw a little of the highlights, and Vettel seemed somewhat downbeat. Turns out the hard tyre isn't cunning strategy, but the fact that he felt his car was a bit rubbish on the mediums.

I did consider quite a few other bets, but I try not to overdo it early on in a season. Plus, the grid is exciting but unpredictable.

Nigel said...

I agree more or less with your analysis - even though I think Hamilton will win this weekend.
I'm just not tempted by the odds on either Button or Hamilton, though, as the threat of rain turns picking the winner into a bit of a lottery.

I'm almost inclined to have a punt on Vettel, as I think people are underestimating the benefits of starting on the prime. Being able to run a longer first stint could pay off significantly in terms of being able to extract speed from the tyres in later stints - and enables a very short (and fast) final stint on the option.

That said, rain would probably negate that advantage too. Possibly cowardice, but I think I'll sit this one out.

Anonymous said...

Ive just been scouring the F1 betting markets, courtesy of, in a late attempt to identify some real value ahead of Sunday's 9.00 am start time for the race.
Ther are some very large discrepancies in the prices being offered by the competing bookies, suggesting that some are being more than a tad too greedy.
The only potentially tasty morsel I've been able to come up with is the prospect of Kimi Räikkönen achieving a first three ("Podium") finish, where Ladbrokes, Totesport and BetFred are all offering best prices of 9 or 8/1 in old money.
This appears to be good value considering that the largely ignored Finn finished equal 4th in final qualifying and furthermore was only a miniscule 7/100ths of a second behind Michael Schumacher, who is quoted at very much shorter odds of 7/4 to achieve the same feat. The big negative for Kimi is that he faces a 5 place penalty on the starting grid as a result of his car's gearbox having to be replaced. Hopefully, he will be able to unwind this disadvantage over what is a long race but he certainly needs to make a good start. He probably also needs for at least one of the other top drivers not to finish the race so as to give him a realistic chance of landing this bet at attractive odds, but such a prospect is not so unlikely.
I've invested a pint's worth.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

I did seriously consider the 9 on a Raikkonen podium with Ladbrokes (along with laying Hamilton for a podium, and backing Vettel for the win).

I decided against it because it seemed like a bit of a tall order.

Didn't go for a Vettel win because he may well be passed by Rosberg at the start and he only went for the prime because he found the medium difficult, and he's been making unhappy noises all weekend.

I went for Button for a few reasons. He's had great form last season and carried that forward, and now he's got a decent qualifying performance as well. He's kinder on his tyres than most, and he's good in changeable conditions.

Tough race to call, though.

Anonymous said...

"Tough race to call, though."

Well you were certainly right about that!
Back to the drawing board as regards future betting strategy.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Ha, it's nice to get one prediction right!

If Button hadn't made that mistake he might have been able to win. But he did, and he didn't, so there we are.

Most races won't be quite so volatile, and at least it was tremendously exciting.