Sunday, 24 June 2012

Europe: post-race analysis

Blimey, the race was absolutely thrilling (contrary to my expectations) but rather frustrating betting-wise. There was a safety car, but only because that fool Vergne firstly had needless contact with Kovalainen and then compounded his error by racing back to the pits instead of going slowly. This caused the tyre to shred, wrecking his own car and pelting the tracks with bits of wheel and bodywork. Idiot.

Grosjean failed to get a podium or the possibility of a win solely due to a rare reliability failure, which was pretty galling, and Raikkonen was never really in the hunt for a win. A small silver lining is that my hedge on Grosjean winning got matched, so (for the race) I was down two stakes rather than three. Still pretty disappointing though, especially as bad luck more than bad judgement played the critical role.

However, as a spectator the race was unusually exciting, for Valencia.

Early on both Lotuses had a great start but Maldonado blocked Raikkonen and put the Finn some way down the field. Grosjean passed the Venezuelan and from then it was pretty much formation flying with Vettel pulling a strong lead over Hamilton and Grosjean in a comfortable third.

Further down the grid Alonso and Schumacher had decent starts and I think Button went backwards.

Grosjean was able to pass Hamilton and soon pulled out a sizeable gap, but Vettel was absolutely miles ahead. After the first pit stops it looked like Vettel, Grosjean and Hamilton were destined for podium spots, but the Fates are fickle.

Vergne (boo hiss!) moronically did what I described above, causing a safety car to emerge. Everyone save Ricciardo pitted, but Hamilton's very poor stop (just for a change) meant the order shifted to Vettel, Grosjean and, staggeringly, Alonso (who started 11th).

After the restart I was hoping Grosjean could pass Vettel, but instead it was Alonso who got into second, which was bloody frustrating. Then a huge surprise came about. Vettel, who had been easily leading by 20s and retained the lead after the restart, suddenly stopped on track. Some sort of reliability issue put him out of the race.

I was still hopeful of the podium bet and possibly the win bet, but then Grosjean also had a reliability failing (the alternator). That was really disappointing, but these things happen (and sometimes they're helpful, sometimes detrimental).

Now the order was Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen. The Finn, as Coulthard said in commentary, doesn't have the cutting edge when it comes to passing, but he eventually got past Hamilton when the McLaren's tyres were wrecked. Raikkonen soon opened up a gap to Hamilton but was too far back to consider passing Alonso.

Hamilton's fading tyres put him within reach of Maldonado, and the two tangled. Maldonado was forced (legitimately) off track by Hamilton, but then he returned to the circuit and smashed Hamilton into the wall, damaging his Williams in the process. In my eyes, that's clearly Maldonado's fault.

The departure of the McLaren and weakness of the Williams enabled Schumacher to pass Maldonado and get his first podium since his return to F1 (not sure what number that is, but it must be astronomical).

Webber got 4th and was followed by Hulkenberg, Rosberg, di Resta, Button, Perez and Maldonado.

This win was immensely important for Alonso, and not just because he started 11th and finished 1st. His two main rivals, Hamilton and Vettel, scored zero points, meaning he has a 20 point advantage over second-placed Webber.

As a spectator the race was exciting and enthralling, but as a gambler it was pretty galling to suffer two hefty slices of misfortune. On the other hand, it's still the best weekend of the year so far by a clear distance.

Silverstone is next, in a fortnight.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

I share you disappointment (although Grosjean ended up slightly profitable for me, as I was able to hedge quite a bit more from longer original odds).
A win from him would have made me serious cash... ah well.

From the BBC: Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second: "I am never happy if I don't win."
And I wondered why he always looks so miserable.

McLaren pit stop failure, again !!!
Betfair really should run a separate book on this.

Nigel said...

And as for Maldonado, his sense of entitlement reminds me of Michael Schumacher, but without the outstanding talent, and engaging personality...


Morris Dancer said...

McLaren's pitstops may end up costing them the driver's title.

Ha, as a past Schumacher fan I'd agree. I try to remain objective, but it's pretty hard with Maldonado.

Anonymous said...

Yes, easily the most exciting and eventful GP of the season so far, although a loss maker for me having also backed Grosjean both to win outright and also for a podium. To be fair though, Seb Vettel would have won by a country mile had his car not let him down.
My consolation, financially, was yet another disappointing showing by Jenson - although, mainly as a result of retirees ahead of him, he was able to finish 8th (having been much further back for most of the race) with 4 points but he's yet to reach 50 points after 8 GPs. At this rate he'll struggle to reach 140 for the 20 race season - that would be a full 100 points below the sell price of my spread bet. Touching wood, a possible 4 figure profit appears to be in prospect here.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

But for the reliability failing (which is obviously unforeseeable) Grosjean was nailed on for the podium and a possible for the win.

I am quite jealous of your impending enormous profit on Button.

Morris Dancer said...

Put a little more on Vettel at 3.85.

I probably won't fiddle any more with the Drivers' title race unless something outstanding comes along.

I think Vettel and Alonso may be the two tussling for it at the end. Hamilton's hamstrung by those dire pitstops, and not helped by occasionally overdoing it with the tyres.

Anonymous said...

I actually finished about break even yesterday - I'd forgotten that I backed Schumacher at 15/8 to finish top 6 and then immediately regretted doing so, thinking how seldom he has achieved such a feat over the past season and a half - little did I imagine he'd make a podium finish, albeit somewhat fortuitously even by his own admission.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...


I did very briefly glance at that market but dismissed it for the reason you suggest.

Whilst Schumacher was lucky it still doesn't make up for the dire luck he's suffered elsewhere.

That reminds me, actually. When Schumacher rammed Senna he (Schumacher) got a 5 place grid penalty (which denied him the pole in Monaco) yet Maldonado gets off with a 20s penalty. Hardly fair.