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.