Sunday, 10 June 2012

Canada: post-race analysis

As is so often the case, Montreal served up a thrilling race. The Alonso tip did not come off, but it did get matched at evens, so no real harm done in the race, but overall the weekend was a bit disappointing.

The start was clean (or dull, as you like) with everyone staying as they were. However, the top three were soon a good distance ahead of the rest and there were big enough gaps to stop DRS being used early on. Massa was going well but spun and ended up around 12th.

Then Vettel started to struggle with his tyres and Hamilton put his foot down, catching and passing him. After the first pit stops (Vettel then Hamilton then Alonso) Alonso emerged in the lead, followed by Hamilton and then Vettel. Hamilton passed Alonso and then started to pull away.

Further down the field everyone was pitting except the Lotuses (Raikkonen was fourth) and Perez, in fifth.

Perez held on all the way to lap 42, and managed the one-stop perfectly.

Hamilton pitted a second time and Alonso and Vettel gambled on a one-stopper. Hamilton was a second a lap faster than his rivals and easily caught and passed them. Vettel pitted very late on and Alonso stayed out.

This proved a bungle by Ferrari as his tyres fell to pieces and he was passed by Grosjean, Perez and Vettel, ending up a lowly 5th. If he'd pitted a lap after Hamilton he would've gotten first or second, but it's easy to be wise in hindsight.

Hamilton drove the perfect race. He was aggressive and fast but never destroyed his tyres. He absolutely deserved the victory and became the seventh winner in seven races.

A word for the slightly neglected Grosjean and Perez (understandable given how exciting and tight the battle for the win was). They both managed to pull off a one-stopper because they made the first stint last for ages. Alonso and Vettel tried to have the best of both worlds but pitted too early and ended up off the podium which should've been theirs easily. Although McLaren's pit stops were a little slow their strategy was spot on and Hamilton drove very well indeed.

Button finished a rather paltry 16th, having suffered with a bad set of tyres and being unable to make any real headway. What's happened? The car clearly has the pace but Button's lost his.

Massa got tenth, which is disappointing given his pace, and Kobayashi's ninth made it a double points result for Sauber.

Schumacher's run of abysmal luck continued. His DRS was jammed opened, he managed to reach the pits but it couldn't be rectified and he had his fourth retirement of the season (the others being due to a gearbox failure, a wheel not being attached at a pit stop and attempting to occupy the same co-ordinates in space and time as Bruno Senna's Williams).

Obviously I'm disappointed with the overall betting result, but at least one of the hedges got matched. I'd initially thought to hedge all at evens instead of splitting with 2 and 1.5, but that was (another) misjudgement. If I had done that then the result would've been evens for the weekend instead of down, but there we are.

The race was thrilling, and, as well as enduring Legard on the BBC's radio commentary, I watched, which often posted info faster than the radio reported it.

I think the Alonso bet was a valid one, although it didn't come off it did get matched for a hedge. It's a shame as it ends a run of three positive results, but all good things come to an end.

For the title race, I'm pretty happy now to be green for Hamilton and Alonso. The result means that there is sod all difference, really, between the top three, who many also regard as the chaps likely to be competing for titles for the next five years or so.

I decided to back Vettel at 4.4, on the basis that that would make me green on the top three drivers. Not hugely so, as I've been betting with smaller stakes, but still. Alonso's odds are the same but Hamilton's around 2.6, which is too low for one man in very much a three horse race.

However, if Button can't get himself in shape then Hamilton will effectively become the team leader by default, giving him the same advantage Alonso has.

On pace in the race, I'd say the Ferrari was either equal to or a hair's breadth faster than the McLaren with the Red Bull in third. In qualifying, the Red Bull was miles faster but the McLaren and Ferrari were (again) practically identical.

Every race and qualifying session this season has been difficult to predict but if that trend continues then it might help make things a bit easier to foresee.

Hedging is a little better than not hedging, but either way the season's close to being flat so far. Unfortunately the next race is at arguably the worst circuit on the calendar, in Valencia, which happens in a fortnight.

Morris Dancer


David Cotton said...

I'm glad my pre-season tip for Grosjean is starting to pay off. I rated him highly, even during his lacklustre first part-season in F1, and he did well in his time away.

I wasn't sure if I was going to stay up late to watch the race on BBC, but after listening to it on the radio, I have to.

And seven different winners out of seven races. Is this going to be the best season ever?

Nigel said...

Epic race... and epic stupidity from Ferrari and Red Bull - have they poached some McLaren race strategists ?
If you're going to one stop, you don't stop that early.

"Only an idiot would have hedged that bet at 4 (ahem)"
That would be me, too. :-b

The Vettel and Alonso bets worked out great for me, as I hedged both, and had already bet earlier on Hamilton for the race win (which I was beginning to worry about). After qualifying, I put a few quid on Alonso for the win, so I was then well covered for any the top three to win.

Championship is looking fairly good, too.

Anonymous said...

100% losses on my bets that Button would recapture some form today - I just can't understand what's happened to him.
Meanwhile my SELL spread bet on his season's points is now looking seriously profitable.

Peter from Putney.

Anonymous said...

Morris - thanks for that link to what looks like a great F1 website.

Peter from Putney.

Nigel said...

Interesting that Grosjean stopped around the same time as Alonso, and managed to make the one stop work despite that.

The Lotus seems to be extraordinarily good at preserving its tyres when the track is hot.
I still can't understand why Ferrari thought they might be able to get away with it, though.

I'm puzzled by Button's form, too - as is he, apparently.

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Cotton, it could be the best season ever, making the lack of TV coverage rather galling. The betting is pretty tough too. I'm not doing nearly so well as last year, but given how unpredictable things are it could be worse.

Grosjean is very fast, especially in qualifying, but he does need to temper that with finer judgement.

Mr. Nigel, it was monstrously unfortunate for both those double tips to not come off. I can only agree with you regarding strategy. It was just bonkers.

Mr. Putney, the problem for Button may be (at least in part) that it's so competitive that a poor qualifying session can make it much harder to make up ground than used to be the case. I think that he also had to pit thrice, which didn't help (although he won last year after six visits to the pits).

Np about the link. It isn't always faster than the radio, but often little snippets of info (pitting, passes etc) come up first, which is good and can be helpful if you're betting in-game.

Mr. Nigel, I didn't realise they'd pitted Grosjean at the same time. I thought the Lotuses stayed out 5-10 laps longer and Perez longer still. Hmm. I find it harder to remember details like that when it's just radio coverage.

Ferrari did commit a serious blunder, however, there is some good news for them. Their car has now joined Red Bull and McLaren at the top table for the first time. On pace, it's perhaps the best or at least very close.

Nigel said...

Checking, Grosjean pitted two laps later than Alonso. Even so, the difference in performance at the end of the race is striking.
Grosjean drove an amazing race.

Perez ran a lot longer (having started on the prime). I think round about lap 40. Also, both sets of his tyres were new, unlike Grosjean who did both stints on old sets:
Perez also benefitted from Rosberg's mistake running off the track. Otherwise, it could have been a Mercedes podium.
Raikkonen ran the same strategy as Perez, but without the new tyres.

Not sure about the Ferrari being quite up there yet.
Gary Anderson (who has been pretty spot on in his technical commentary this year) reckons they are still not as aerodynamically efficient, and will suffer on tracks like Silverstone... likes their new front brake ducts, though.

Morris Dancer said...

By Silverstone they might have some more upgrades.

Impressively, those they've added seem to have worked more or less straight away, which isn't always the case.

Anderson's a top chap, and one of the few positive changes to BBC coverage this year.

Nigel said...


Also, James Allen is pretty good on the R5 commentary (though getting Legard in Canada was an unwelcome surprise).

Pirelli are now talking about bringing a new hard tyre to Silverstone. Could shake things up a bit.

Who do you fancy for the Valencia bore-fest ?

Morris Dancer said...

Aye, Allen's pretty good, whereas Legard really grates.

Not heard that about Pirelli, but have read they're thinking of having five dry weather compounds next year. I think that's a bit excessive, but there we are.

Hamilton seems to do well in Valencia, if memory serves. I have a slight feeling the Lotuses could do well too.

I just checked Wikipedia and from the reports it seems like just one Valencia/European Grand Prix (there have been four) has had a safety car, which is rather counter-intuitive for a street circuit. I might try finding a more robust stats site to check that, as it could point to value on a No Safety Car bet.

Morris Dancer said...

Put a little on Webber at 23, just to over myself.

He's actually just 9 points off of the lead. Whilst I do think an Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel truel very likely, Webber has been highly consistent and is still, at this stage, very much in the running.

Plus, a covering bet can be had for just a pound or two, so it's not costly either.

Green (for teeny sums) on all five of McLaren, Red Bull and Alonso now. I'll probably only play with that market more to hedge this way and that.

Morris Dancer said...

Cover*, not over. *sighs*

Morris Dancer said...

I just checked last year's Monaco and Valencia results and there's a pretty high correlation at the sharp end. Might be worth paying attention to come betting.

Nigel said...

Monaco and Valencia - both circuits where it's almost impossible to overtake.

Will be interesting for seeing how the one-stop versus two-stop strategies play out, but not for much else.

Red Bull/McLaren/(Mercedes) vs Lotus/Sauber, I think.

Morris Dancer said...

Lotus are a bit weird. They sometimes seem to have great tyre management and sometimes it just isn't there. Likewise, sometimes their pace is top 3 and sometimes it's well further back.

Maybe that's just a case of small natural variation being exacerbated by the very tight season.

Anyway, Mercedes will be the most interesting to watch, to see if they can repeat their Monegasue pace.

Perez could also do well. I don't buy the Ferrari line that (until they told him to stop being so aggressive before Canada) he's too aggressive.