Sunday, 13 May 2012

Spain: post-race analysis

A very exciting race, although I must confess being a little disappointed by the final result. On the other hand, it was the most profitable race of the season so far (hedging was just over one stake more profitable than the bet-and-forget approach). The Alonso to win hedge at 3 was matched but sadly Raikkonen, despite briefly leading, didn’t have his hedge at 2 matched. Happily, Alonso lead lap 1 (backed at 6, laid at 2.8 and layable at 2.5 on the morning of the race).

Perez suffered very bad luck off the line, getting tagged by Grosjean, I think. He had a puncture, had to pit early and then suffered a pit stop problem that put paid to his race.

Hamilton and Massa both made great starts but were to suffer a bit later on.

Alonso and Maldonado essentially flew in formation for the first stint, with Raikkonen dropped a little but miles ahead of 4th-placed Grosjean. However, Williams brought in Maldonado earlier and benefited from the fresh rubber which saw the Venezuelan take the lead.

Hamilton was charging through the field and got to 5th, when the team decided to try and make a three stop strategy into a two stopper, which sadly didn’t really work. They had to revert to a three stop strategy which put him a few places down the field.

Meanwhile Schumacher took Senna roughly from behind, destroying both of their races and Vettel/Massa suffered drive-through penalties for not slowing under yellow flags.

In the final stint Alonso was getting very, very close to Maldonado but sadly couldn’t pass him. Despite having initially fresher tyres it was Alonso’s that fell away, enabling Maldonado to get the first ever F1 win for Venezuela. Raikkonen had waited until later than the two leaders for his last set of tyres and was catching Alonso by a second a lap but the gap was insurmountable and he came third, followed by Grosjean.

Kobayashi put in some of the banzai overtakes for which he is known, passing Button and then Rosberg to achieve a very good 5th for Sauber, which will go some way to making up for the unfortunate DNF of Perez.

Rosberg was also passed late on by Vettel, who did well to take 6th despite 4 stops and a drive-through. Hamilton started last but finished 8th, one place ahead of his team mate (glad I laid my bets on them for the title) and Hulkenberg was able to hold off Webber to claim the final points position.

Five races. Five winning teams. Five winning drivers. Pretty exciting stuff.

I also must confess that my opinion of Maldonado (I called him a pay driver) deserves significant revision. He did very well under extreme pressure from Alonso and, perhaps aided by the rather tasty Williams, managed to make the tyres last for longer than anyone had expected.

Turning to the vulgar necessity of money, this was the best race/race weekend so far this season, although overall it’s still in the red. I did (very briefly) consider a saving bet on Maldonado for the win (I think he was circa 10) but didn’t take it as I never really thought he could do it. Oh well.

The title race is intriguingly poised. Yes, I know it’s been intriguingly poised at every moment this season, but I’ve made a couple more title bets.

Alonso to win at 6. He’s leading the title race (joint with Vettel on 61) and his car’s much improved. Plus it can now, seemingly, qualify and he has a compliant team mate.

Lotus to win the Constructors’ at 8. Bit more of a trading bet, but they’ve got two very talented drivers (unlike Ferrari) and have been performing very well of late. Not sure they’ll be able to maintain that for the entire season so I’ll watch how they go with a view to hedging.

The next race is Monaco, in a fortnight’s time. I’d expect McLaren to do a bit better there and will probably be looking to back Hamilton for pole.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

Funny - I just laid some of my Lotus-for-the-championship bet at 8.
Got a few quid on at 32 (!) around Bahrain. It looked a lot better than the 20/1 on Kimi for the drivers'. Kept part of the bet on because Monaco could be interesting for them, as they seem to have a very driveable car.
Anyone know the tyre allocation for Monaco ?

Not sure about Alonso for the championship. Qualifying on the front row this time was a bit of a fluke, as I think he recognised.
McLaren still have the fastest car, will probably continue to have the fastest car, and I don't think they can cock it up all season long.

Btw, is it worth doing a brief write-up on the Friday for Monaco ?
P1 and P2 seem to be giving a clearer idea of race pace then earlier in the season, and you can get better odds on the Friday (plus better chances to hedge before the race).
It's also one of the more popular races, so the liquidity on Betfair ought to be decent.

Nigel said...

Just saw the news of the Williams fire. Not good.

Morris Dancer said...

Not sure but I think it's soft and supersoft. It was last time, I think.

Whilst McLaren are fast it is worth pointing out that Button got just 9th today. Red Bull also seem a little hit and miss, whereas Lotus have been there and thereabouts for the last three races (in China they cocked up tyre degradation but otherwise could've had more points there).

That's a good point, Mr. Nigel. I always forget that Monaco has P1 and P2 on Thursday (which is weird).

On Alonso: I think that the car is less important now than it has been for a long time, because they're so close. It's tight, but he's been consistent, and is now joint leader. In addition, Barcelona's seen as a bellwether circuit.

Apparently there are some injuries from the fire. Hopefully none are serious.

David Cotton said...

Any betting that the FIA will mandate that KERS will be disabled for the next race?

*If* it was Senna's KERS unit that went up, then there will need to be a fairly stringent investigation into what went wrong and why (perhaps, and this is just a guess, Schumacher's hit damaged the unit). To make matters worse, the unit will be damaged.

Will the FIA deem KERS safe for all teams before the cause is known and ways to prevent it happening again implemented? What should have been a great news story - Williams' first win for eight years - has been overtaken by a worse story. It is not what Bernie would want.

If it was the KERS, then I bet the KERS guys on all the teams will be going through failure cases this week.

KERS units have gone bang before, and the end-result is not pleasant.

Morris Dancer said...

Hard to say at this stage. They have a little under 2 weeks to figure it out.

KERS have been used for a few years now and this is the first instance of its kind (fire in a garage some time after the car was parked).

Anonymous said...

Nigel -
I'm surprised you are so bullish about McLaren's prospects - I think Button in particular faces a far less successful season than last time.
This is certainly suggested by his mid-spread price of 205 points for the 20 Grand Prix season, compared with his tally of 270 last year comprising 19 GPs.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

I was very confident about McLaren after the first four races. They had very good pace in Australia and China, and would've scored better had Button not suffered a bit in Malaysia.

Bahrain I thought might be a one-off poor performance due to high temperature and high degradation but Button was mediocre all weekend in Barcelona. Hamilton's harder to read. He should've got pole by a mile and had a good race, but it's hard to know how he would've done if he'd started from the front.

McLaren are also harming themselves with pit stop woe and some silly but seriously damaging mistakes.

Nigel said...

McLaren clearly have the fastest car; they know how to develop a car; as the season goes on, they're going to learn how the tyres work, along with everyone else (& they have rather a neat brake temperature regulation system).

I expect Button to get over his woes, and the race management to improve, if only based on reversion to the mean.

Hamilton would have been away in the distance had he started front the front.

I understand the skepticism, but I think they are a very good bet at this point.

Anonymous said...

I layed Jenson at 240 points before the start of the season and was pretty nervous therefore after race #1.
After 5 GPs however he's slipped back to a mid price of 205 (i.e his spread is 200-210), so I'm sitting on a tidy profit and I'm tempted to cash in. I think I'll hold for now however as the competition this time is so much stronger.
The fact that 4 out of the top 6 finishers at the Spanish GP simply didn't figure at all last year says it all for me.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Hamilton was fast in qualifying in Spain but the car's been a bit off the pace for the last two races now.

Anyway, I'm green if either one of them win the title. I still think they're a real possibility for that but I'd sooner back Alonso right now [and have done so].

Mr. Putney, I'm not a spread better but I'd perhaps advocate cashing in now.

The next race is Monaco, which I think McLaren are typically very good at. Very soft tyre compounds should mean Button has ana dvantage, and he would've won in 2011 had the team not employed a very stupid approach to strategy.

Nigel said...

"The next race is Monaco, which I think McLaren are typically very good at."

And then Canada, which ditto.

Nigel said...

Cracking quote from Frank Williams on the Autosport website:

When asked if Maldonado was only at Williams in the first place because of money, Williams said: "Yeah, he was to some extent. I'm not denying that. But if we thought he'd been a wanker, he wouldn't have got in the team no matter how much money he had...

Morris Dancer said...

Oh yeah, you're right about Canada.

Bah. I probably should've waited until after Canada to hedge my driver title bets. Oh well.

That is a great quote which (by coincidence) I posted on the main site.

Anonymous said...

Guys - I too am nervous about Button doing well in the Monaco GP in terms of my sell spread bet on him. A top quality race which tends to favour quality drivers.
Looking beyond that GP, I've tried to calculate below dispassionately what his points tally might prove to be over the last 15 races of the season and I came up with 180 points as follows:

2x 1st Positions = 50
2x 2nd Positions = 36
2x 3rd Positions = 30
2x 4th Positions = 24
2x 5th Positions = 20
1x 6th Position = 8
1x 7th position = 6
1x 8th Position = 4
1x 9th Position = 2
1x Did Not Finish = 0
Points won to date=45
Total for season...225 points

This total of 225 points compares with my spread bet whereby I sold Jenson at 240 points at the outset and which would therefore leave me with a profit of 15 points x my stake.
Please can I have your opinion as to whether and to what extent you consider he will fail to reach this total or alternatively exceed it.
The 180 point target for the remaining 15 Grand Prix effectively requires him to average 12 points per race, equivalent to finishing in 4th place every time.

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

It's hard enough predicting the next race, Mr. Putney, but faint heart never won fair profit.

Consider the reasons behind his successes and his failures. He's had two retirements due to bad luck, I think, at least one of which cost him some points. He was genuinely slow in Spain but that is the first time, I think, that was the case.

He also has a good car and a team accustomed to and talented at developing it throughout the course of the season.

Whilst Williams, Sauber, Mercedes and Lotus are quite competitive now I think it's entirely possible some or all of them will drop away in the second half of the season due to going down the wrong development routes or just lacking resources.

I would guess he'll make it, but wouldn't bet on it (I do have him green to win the title, though).

For Monaco, he came third last year and should've come second or won it. A combination of the late safety car and a moronic 'strategy' by McLaren robbed him of some points.

Anonymous said...

Morris - thanks for that.
As far as I'm concerned, your key phrase is "Whilst Williams, Sauber, Mercedes and Lotus are quite competitive now...."
Last season he had only two other teams to worry about (or rather a team and a half, discounting Massa). This time there are at least seven teams seriously chasing points.
While I've no doubt he'll have a number of podium finishes, averaging 4th every time is a very big ask.
Put it this way, I put his upside for the season at around 250 points maximum, which would leave me nursing a small 10 point loss. On the other hand I reckon his downside, assuming he participates in every race is around 190 points, providing me with a handsome 50 point profit.
I therefore see it as being "Advantage Putney" at this stage and I'm staying put, Monaco notwithstanding and despite the fact that I could exit at 210 points. I will probably cash in however should his price fall further to 200 points or below.

Morris Dancer said...

No problem, Mr. Putney.

As mentioned upthread, Monaco and Canada tend to be good circuits for McLaren so it'll be interesting to see how they and the new/resurgent contenders do there.

It's entirely possible that Button (and other big names) will regularly be outside the top 5. I think I'm right in saying that neither Red Bull nor McLaren had a single driver in the top 5 in the last race.