Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bahrain: pre-qualifying

So, this grand prix is on for the first time in two years. This is the first time that DRS will have been used on the circuit, which is otherwise very difficult to overtake on. Another first is Pirelli in Bahrain, and they’ve brought the soft-medium combination that was used in China a week ago. The track is reportedly rough on tyres (and moreso if sand gets onto the tarmac) so degradation will be an issue in the race, and will mean that the first lap on the soft tyre will have to be nailed otherwise too much life will have been taken out of the compound for a second effort.

Five laps soft, 10 laps for the medium is the decent performance lifespan according to the BBC’s technical analyst (NB this is not to the cliff, just to the point at which times decline). I think that’s for the Mercedes, but reportedly Red Bull is doing a little better.

Apparently Schumacher’s shredding the tyres much more than Rosberg, who is also very fast in sector 2 especially.

McLaren seems to be alright for race pace, but, unusually, less competitive over a single lap perhaps due to the wind being an issue in Bahrain (it’s quite exposed), and, later in the year, Barcelona (that’s the Spanish GP not the European GP which takes place in the woeful Valencia).

Medium seems to be the best option (if you’ll pardon the pun) for the race, as per Australia and China.

We’ve also seen KERS failures for Hulkenberg and Webber (yet again).

In P1 Hamilton was the fastest, a healthy margin ahead of Vettel and then di Resta. Rosberg, Button and Hulkenberg followed, with Schumacher, Webber, Raikkonen and Grosjean rounding out the top 10.

P2 was most notable for Force India not participating due to their staff being caught in protestor-police crossfire, which also led to two staff members leaving Bahrain. Rosberg was the fastest by almost half a second in the second practice session, followed by Webber and Vettel. Hamilton, Schumacher and Button came next, with Kobayashi, Alonso, Grosjean and Perez next up.

P3 was a bit interesting. So far this year it’s not been a great indicator of pole, and, instead of the 5-10 minute qualifying simulation we saw at the end of most such sessions last year, the fast runs were more spread out. This made the fastest times harder to read, particularly as Bahrain improves significantly as more laps are run. The fact that Rosberg remained top despite posting his time about 20 minutes earlier than second-placed Vettel suggests that the Mercedes’ driver is well-placed. Webber was third behind Hamilton (who was half a second off of Rosberg’s pace but did put in his fast lap at around the same time). Schumacher, Button and Raikkonen are all separated by about a tenth and were followed by Ricciardo, Grosjean and Alonso.

Just the one tip: Rosberg for pole at 2.34. This has since shortened to 2.16 but I’d back him at evens or longer.

I’ve also got one eye on his odds to win the title, presently 8.4. No bet or tip yet, but if they can make the tyres last in Bahrain then it would seem Mercedes’ tyre-shredding problem may be resolved and that could see them compete at the sharp end.

Morris Dancer


Anonymous said...

An excellent spot by you and Slackbladder - sadly I missed the best odds as I was watching out for your pearls of wisdom on PB2.

I'm well pleased however with my outright GP Winner bet on Seb Vettel at an incredibly generous price yeterday afternoon of 10.5 (9/1 net) with Betfair, now 6 (4.75/1 net) after P3..... anytime last season you'd have been lucky to back him at better than 5/2. OK it's a more competitive scene now, but 9/1 .... it just seemed daft! After their total domination throughout 2011, neither the driver nor his car have suddenly become average overnight.

Once again, probably foolishly, I'm considering laying against Button getting a podium place ....... probably throwing good money after bad I know, but as Mr Jagger once said - This could be the last time. No, if I lose again, this definitely will be the last time!

Can Grosjean make it a top 6 finish for Lotus? Hmm, he's getting close but probably not just yet, I may review his chances after the qualifying session.

Peter from Putney

Nigel said...

Won't be betting on Bahrain - not really a moral stance; more just temporary disgust with the circus.

Having said that. I like your Rosberg tip for the championship (and notice that the odds are already narrowing).

Anonymous said...

The good news is that yesterday I backed Perez for an outright win at 90 with Betfair. The bad news is that hours later I sold this bet at 80.
The end result is that I have a small free bet on him winning (which he won't). Just a bit of fun - I suppose if I could arrange enough of these, I might even make some money!

Peter from Putney

Anonymous said...

Both my bets are looking good so far with Vettel on pole and Button in 4th.

Of course it won't work out that way, but one winner out of two would be good - especially that 9/1 shot!

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

I was relatively confident of this bet, which makes its abject failure a bit disappointing.

Might wait until after the BBC's post-qualifying bit on the highlights before betting on the race.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too downhearted Morris - your man finished a respectable 5th, a darn sight better than his team mate it has to be said.
Plus this opens up an opportunity whereby those nice people at Boylesports are offering 16/1 against Rosberg winning tomorrow's race and 1/5 of those odds i.e. 3.2/1 for him achieving a 1,2,3 place. I'm on .... modestly you understand!

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Schumacher got unlucky.

I'll still wait until the end of the highlights show, but I'm thinking of looking at Raikkonen's odds for a top 6. He's got lots of fresh rubber, a good car and plenty of skill.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes,there's always Raikkonen, still rather the forgotten man of F1 - but you're right, he has been there and done it several times over and doubtless he will have his time in the sun again. But exactly when is rather less certain.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

His failures this year have all seemed to be due to strategic blunders rather than lacking pace. Lotus tried to make his medium tyres last too long in China, otherwise he would've scored good points and maybe a podium.

He's lost out a few times in qualifying because of a miscalculation by the team.

Anyway, I watched (on and off) the highlights and didn't really learn much new. I'll check the odds and see what's what.