Saturday, 12 May 2012

Spain: pre-race

Well, that was unexpected [again!].

First of all, my failure on the Webber bet wasn’t down to bad luck. Whilst his failure to escape Q2 was unfortunate, I really don’t think he would’ve gotten pole anyway so that was a clear misjudgement on my part.

The Kobayashi non-tipped mini-bet was maybe a little more unlucky. Kudos to Maldonado for an excellent second place, and Alonso did extremely well to get third.

Q1 was the standard affair of the three worst teams going out. Senna joined them due to an error on his part that involved a little off-road excursion, which was especially disappointing when his team mate was doing so well. The most interesting part of the session was Red Bull cunningly using just the softs (faster but less durable and useful in the race), which prompted everyone else (who had already used a set of hard tyres) to copy them, effectively saving Red Bull a set of hard tyres.

Q2 was remarkable for the inability of Button to escape it (he was 11th) and a bad call by Red Bull that saw Webber, who had been very quick early on, fail to go out for a second run and get pushed down to 12th. Almost as remarkable was the soon-to-be-ex Ferrari driver Massa in 17th. Both Force Indias and Toro Rossos were also out.

Q3 was a bit weird and slightly disappointing. Schumacher and Vettel trundled around without setting times to be ahead of Kobayashi, who qualified 10th but was unable to run due to a reliability failure. Hamilton put in a blinder to start with and then put in an even better lap to get pole (making me feel moronic for saying ‘Back Hamilton for pole is a stock bet’ and then not doing so). Even more impressive was Maldonado getting into 2nd with the Williams (happy 70th, Sir Frank) and Alonso dragging his lame but nevertheless still-prancing horse to 3rd. They were followed by Grosjean and Raikkonen, then Perez and Rosberg.

Note to self: just back Hamilton for pole next time.

Incidentally, well done to regular commenter Nigel for backing Hamilton for qualifying and the win at 9 and then hedging to be green either way.

The race is intriguingly poised because Vettel, Button and Webber are all clearly out of position and the Lotus has looked rather tasty over long runs but the drivers are 4th and 5th. Alonso also qualified very much better than he has recently, and that narrowing of the gap could bode well for Ferrari.

Considered a few bets, but decided to go for Alonso and Raikkonen to win at 9.6 and 7 respectively, with hedges at 3 for Alonso and 2 for Raikkonen.

I did look at some other bets. Vettel for a podium was a bit short at just over evens considering he’d have to pass the Lotuses and might be pursued (or passed off the line) by Schumacher, Button and Webber. I also considered (and wanted) Alonso for a podium but 1.9 is too short. If he has the pace to retain his place or advance then I think he can challenge for the win or at least have a chance of doing so. He’s also been driving tremendously well.

Raikkonen’s been driving extremely well and his car’s pretty damned good. Hamilton’s potential problems are that he can be a bit harsh on tyres, and McLaren’s pit stops have been a serious problem. They have changed some things, and replaced one of the pit crew, so that may have been resolved (or not). Oh, and the McLaren has suffered occasionally from lack of reliability.

Let’s hope the race is a bit more profitable than the qualifying.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

This is a little ominous:

'...Hamilton failed to return to the pits after his final qualifying lap, a move that is likely to be investigated by the stewards as drivers are required to make their way back to the pitlane.

"I stopped on track, I don't have any idea why," he said...'

Not engine or gearbox, then. Was he about to run out of fuel ? If so, it could lead to a race penalty - which would make your race bets look very smart indeed.

If Hamilton does start from pole and gets away cleanly, I expect him to drive into the distance. Tyre preservation is much, much easier at the front.

No rain forecast for tomorrow, though the track will be cooler - which is likely to advantage the McLarens (possibly not Button) over the Lotuses. Not sure what it does to the new model Ferrari.

The Red Bulls are interesting. A long first stint on new primes could put them somewhere near the front after the second stop if they run the second stint on new options (does Vettel have a new set ? Webber does). Possible podium if everything goes just right for them.

As it is, I'm going to sit tight and enjoy the race from the rare position of being in the money.

Morris Dancer said...

Fuel would be a very strange (and unforgivable) problem. They know the rules after, I think, Hamilton pushed the limits in the recent past and the regulations were tightened up.

I really hope that is the case, for the reason you suggest!

Tyre preservation is easier at the front, but that didn't stop Raikkonen catching Vettel in Bahrain. Barcelona's not an easy circuit to pass at but I expect degradation to make it easier (coupled with the highly competitive field).

Ha, I forgive you your smugness, I'd be just the same.

Incidentally, from the mid-point onwards (Hungary, I think) I'm going to start including tips from you and Mr. Putney, and any other regulars who might appear.

At the moment I think the pb2 commentariat are rather kicking my arse in the F1 tipping stakes :p

Nigel said...

>At the moment I think the pb2 commentariat are rather kicking my arse in the F1 tipping stakes<

Only because this season's so unpredictable.

When we consistently do so, start to worry. :)

Nigel said...

Just in :

"McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh admits fuel shortage caused stop. Says a "technical problem led to that situation". Hoping for force majeure @andrewbensonf1"

After the pitstops last race, now this. McLaren seem determined to lose whatever advantage they have by stupid team blunders.

Should have followed your inspired tips. :)

Maldonado FTW ?

Anonymous said...

Lewis looks a very likely winner tomorrow - but how many time have we said that and subsequently been proved wrong?
If not him, then 6 or 7 drivers could win from 3 or 4 different teams so that it becomes something of a lottery.
In searching for a few crumbs of value, I've picked two top rate drivers who probably have as good a chance as any.
Firstly Vettel at 8.36/1, a ridiculously generous price for a driver of his proven ability - he's more of a 5/1 shot tomorrow imho.
Secondly I've backed Grosjean at 13.77/1 - he's edging closer and closer to his first GP win and if for whatever reason Lewis shouldn't win tomorrow, then he must have a real chance of doing so. As things stand he's probably more of a 10/1 shot.
I've rounded things off with a kind of "saver" should neither of my other two bets with Betfair prove successful by going for the winning margin to be more than six seconds at odds of 5/6 with Hills. I continue to be genuinely surprised how seldom this proves to be the case over a race lasting for around 90 minutes and we are certainly due an emphatic victory which would protect my total stake money.
After 3/3 winning bets at Bahrain, I am hoping to finish in profit tomorrow.

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

Careful, Mr. Putney. Keep getting your tips right and I might appoint you the new pb2 F1 correspondent!

Not so sure about your Grosjean bet. Raikkonen's a better driver and only a single place behind him.

Vettel seems better. I did consider this, but I'm not sure he'll be able to make enough headway. Alonso, Raikkonen, and Hamilton will not be easy to pass.

There is a risk that Hamilton will drive away with it, but McLaren has had ropey pit stops, he can abuse his tyres and sometimes Alonso makes lightning fast starts.

There's apparently a low chance of rain. Should it appear it can only disadvantage the frontrunner.

Nigel said...

Hamilton may not be starting at the front. He did run out of fuel, so may be penalised.

I wouldn't discount Vettel being able to get into contention if his race pace is good enough. He'll be starting on the primes (surely ?) and will run longer stints at the start.

Anyone know what Maldonado's long run pace was like in P2 ?

Anonymous said...

Oops sorry, I jut posted the following on the previous thread:

Wow - I've just spotted that Button is a 20/1 shot (with Bet 365, Boylesports, etc) against winning tomorrow. After a great start, his season appear to be turning a bit pear-shaped.

With qualification now completed, neither Sporting Index nor Spreadex have a single spread-betting market open either for tomorrow's race or for the F1 Season as a whole - ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!!

Peter from Putney

Nigel said...

Interesting top speeds:

Renaults right at the top; Red Bulls nowhere.

Maldonado's long run pace in P2 actually looked pretty competitive. If he can get in front at the start, then I wouldn't completely discount his chances, too.

Morris Dancer said...

Bloody hell. McLaren are moronic sometimes. The Monaco 'strategy' last year, pit stops this year and, worst of all, this fuel folly.

Whilst it would be advantageous for me (and everyone else who hasn't backed Hamilton) it would be utterly inept of McLaren to have lost pole. I hope he is penalised, harsh though it may seem.

Mr. Nigel, the Red Bulls are usually rubbish at top speed, but it is interesting to see the Lotuses are so fast. Mind you, degradation may mean that it's easier to pass than has traditionally been the case.

Also, I missed your post above. If this continues you and Mr. Putney should club together to buy me a cushion.

Morris Dancer said...

Incidentally, if you think Hamilton will be penalised (and I have no idea if he will be or not) then laying him to lead lap 1 (1.78) would seem like the most sensible bet.

Of course, he could be a swine, get demoted to 6th and then still lead lap 1 with a blistering start, but it would seem unlikely.

Nigel said...

I reckon it's about 50:50, as I can't exactly understand what Whitmarsh is saying here about the amount of left fuel in the tank:

So laying the first lap lead is a pretty good bet at those odds - thanks for the pointer.

Nigel said...

I see, Whitmarsh is saying that 1.3 litres would have been enough to get back to the pits and provide a 1 litre sample:

Still sounds like a probable penalty to me. Someone at McLaren need to get a grip.

Morris Dancer said...


That sounds weird.

Just read on twitter (no official confimation/links, I'm afraid) that Vettel has a penalty of 5 places for blocking Hulkenberg on a fast lap during qualifying.

Morris Dancer said...

Some are saying the Vettel story's a load of rubbish.

And still no word on Hamilton's pole (or not).

Morris Dancer said...

Probably won't last but Maldonado can be laid to lead lap 1 at 4.3 on Betfair and backed at 6 with Ladbrokes.

Nigel said...

"The FIA said the fuel inside the McLaren was insufficient and therefore have sent Hamilton to the back of the grid for tomorrow's race."

That seems draconian to me.

Morris Dancer said...

6 for Maldonado or Alonso to lead lap 1 with Ladbrokes though.!/andrewbensonf1

Morris Dancer said...

These are hedgeable now on Betfair at around 2.3-3.6

Morris Dancer said...

Decided to halve the liability of my original hedges and hedge half now (in a lopsided fashion so I'm roughly equally green for both of them).

So, if they both crashed immediately I'd be down 1 stake rather than 2.

I just hope Alonso/Maldonado lead lap 1 and Alonso/Raikkonen lead the last lap at the flag.

Nigel said...

Is there a market yet on Sam Michael keeping his job ?

Morris Dancer said...

Is Sam Michael the chap who left Williams for McLaren?

This sounds like one person buggering up, and the rest of the team failing to give him some good advice. Right now I'm pleased to have hedged my title bets for the two McLaren drivers. They've got the skill and a pretty handy car, but they're handicapped by the ineptitude of their team. It simply isn't good enough.

Anonymous said...

I'm a loser today - even my > 6 seconds Winning Margin bet went down with Maldanado's victory timed as being just 3.2 seconds after almost 100 minutes of racing ...... Grrh!

The new boys continue to prosper. Red Bull and McLaren don't.

Peter from Putney

Nigel said...

Walked away a few quid to the good.

Relieved more than anything, but wish I'd backed my hunch (see above) that Maldonado was in with a real shout.

McLaren look good for the championship (surely can't stay incompetent all season?).

... & yes, Sam Michael was 'let go' by Williams last year, and picked up by McLaren as 'sporting director' this season. Still haven't quite worked out what that means.

Morris Dancer said...

*points at the shiny new thread*

Bad luck, Mr. Putney. Margin bets are a bit of a shot in the dark and you could've won it had Maldonado/Alonso had to pit again [and then I would've won more money and everyone would be happy, except Williams and Venezuela].

I'm not so sure about McLaren. If incompetence is a persistent feature (like lack of aerodynamic grip) then it's got to be a ball and chain to their hopes. I'm not nearly so sure as I was that they'll do well.