Saturday, 26 May 2012

Monaco: pre-race

Well, the rain never arrived but I'm still glad I sat out qualifying. I had a number of bets in mind. The ones I would've considered were Hamilton for pole (didn't happen), Massa to make Q3 (did happen) and Grosjean to be top 3 (didn't happen). As Massa was 1.8, that would've been a clear net loss.

As seems to be the norm these days, qualifying was entirely unpredictable.

Q1 saw the relegation of the pointless teams as well as Perez, who lost his no claims bonus with a crash that was happily much less serious than the one he suffered last year.

Q2 saw lots of big names struggling, such as Raikkonen, Button and Vettel. Massa put in the fastest time of this session, impressively. Hulkenberg, Kobayashi and Button were the fastest of those eliminated here, followed by Senna, di Resta, Ricciardo and Vergne.

Q3 was very exciting, largely because lots of chaps who had been expected to challenge for pole (Hamilton, Vettel, Grosjean) really couldn't. Surprisingly, the Silver Arrows were very fast, and Webber was thrashing Vettel. In the end Schumacher got the fastest time, but, instead of being his 68th pole he's got a 5 place grid penalty for ramming Senna last race. This promotes Webber to pole. After Webber is Rosberg, then Hamilton and Grosjean. Alonso is next, starting beside the demoted Schumacher. Massa and Raikkonen follow, and Vettel and Hulkenberg round out the top 10. Maldonado, who would've been 9th, is demoted to 19th for a childish and dangerous swipe on Perez during P3 (similar to but less serious than the move he made on Hamilton in Spa qualifying last year). Being fast is cool, being a cock is not.

I would never have picked Schumacher or Webber for pole, so that was a lucky escape for me. Track position remains critical for Monaco.

Right, so, the race. At this moment in time I was expecting to have a strong Lotus/Hamilton performance in qualifying. Instead we've got Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton with Schumacher fastest but relegated to 6th and Alonso 5th.

Track position is worth a lot in Monaco but it isn't the only thing that matters, given tyre degradation and strategy, as well as the likelihood of a safety car and the possibility of rain.

Alonso has typically done better in races than qualifying (the exception being last time when he held station) and has a recent history of starting well, so I'm going to back him for a podium at 3.25 (Ladbrokes). I'll set up a hedge at 1.4 with Betfair.

I was tempted by all three of those at the very front for the win. Webber has the critical pole position, Rosberg and Hamilton sometimes have very good starts, but I think it's too hard to tell.

So, just the one tip: Alonso, podium, 3.25 (Ladbrokes) hedged at 1.4.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

If I were betting on the race (I think I might just sit back and enjoy this one), I'd quite fancy a few quid on Rosberg for the win.
Front row, albeit the wrong side, and the only one of the leaders (I think) with a new set of the options left. For a two stop race, this could give him a big advantage ...assuming the Mercedes doesn't eat it's tyres.
Even if he doesn't get ahead at the start, an undercut the first stop is a real option for him (especially as Webber is harder on his tyres than Vettel).

I think the Mercedes looks a bit quicker than the McLaren around this track, too.

A bit over 4/1 on Betfair - decent odds.

Dammit, I might just have a small dabble.

Though, of course, there's the dreaded safety car...

Nigel said...

Oops, typo - should have been "its tyres".

Hate that.

Morris Dancer said...

Rosberg was the one I was most tempted by. I'd forgotten to track the tyres, but I'm not sure if the supersofts will be that much use in the race due to the extreme difficulty of passing traffic.

His odds, as you'll've seen (assuming they're the same) are basically the same as Hamilton's. Webber's rightly favourite at 2.6, but that's a bit too short, even though pole-sitters have a good record this year and a very good record in Monaco.

If I could pick a winner (with Alonso coming second) I'd go for Schumacher. That'd be some race.

Anonymous said...

Morris - I wouldn't argue with your choice of bet - but significantly better odds than the 9/4 from Ladbrokes you quote are currently available - for example 11/4 from both BETFRED and Totesport.
These odds look very fair when viewed as the equivalent of backing a racehorse for a place only in an average sized field at one quarter of the winning odds. Using such an analogy, I would rate Alonso at considerably shorter odds than 11/1, perhaps 7/1 or 8/1 maximum. A very good value bet therefore imho.

As previously mentioned, on account of my SELL bet of Button at 240 points for the season means that this has to be my principal interest in tomorrow's race and indeed of every race!
I have however followed you in by investing a modest pint and a half (aka £6) of Old Speckled Hen on Alono making the podium tomorrow.

Good luck to us both.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Putney, being but an impoverished Yorkshireman I only have accounts with Ladbrokes and Betfair.

Weirdly, I now have more money in my Ladbrokes account (due to the lucky 5/1 first lap leader bet from last time). It's most disconcerting, because every time I sign into Betfair the sum there seems even smaller than it ought to be.

Regarding the title race, this is the second circuit in a row where Button has had serious issues in qualifying. With a field so tight and McLaren's comedy pitstops he needs to get that sorted. Alonso's said today that he reckons Hamilton is the man to beat.

Anonymous said...

Morris -
If I were to restrict myself to just two accounts then, like you, I'd opt for Ladbrokes and Betfair.
Beyond that I'd go for Victor Chandler (although they closed my account.....grrh), Paddy Power and Bet365 since these three imo generally offer competitive odds, a good range of markets and, importantly, they operate efficiently.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Yeah, I went for them because they seemed the best two options regarding F1/politics.

Doubt I'll open any new accounts for the foreseeable future, but thanks for the tips anyway.

Nigel said...

Mr M,

"...not sure if the supersofts will be that much use in the race due to the extreme difficulty of passing traffic."

Their use is passing at the pitstops.
If you have a faster race pace (with a set of tyres which can also last an extra couple of laps), you have the ability to make you first stop a couple of laps earlier and put in a couple of extra fast laps, thereby gaining track position after the guy in front of you stops (aka the undercut).

Rosberg is perfectly positioned for this.

Btw, I suspect Vettel will start on the prime, and one stop. It probably won't work out, but he might just get lucky with the safety car.

Morris Dancer said...

I forget how long it is, but I think the Monaco pit stop takes a relatively long time. Plus extra stops also mean pitting early or late on, increasing the chances of traffic.

However, you're right that (traffic permitting) that's a potentially cunning plan. Good job one of us is paying attention.

Vettel's in a very similar position to last race, I think. I concur with you that he's probably not in the running.

Nigel said...

Someone told me I might be wrong about the new set of options for Rosberg. Won't get the chance to check the qualifying replay before the race, but thought I should mention it.

Sticking with my bet, though.