Saturday, 23 June 2012

Europe: pre-qualifying

And so we arrive in Valencia, at arguably the worst circuit on the calendar. However, Bahrain did shock spectators this season by actually being somewhat interesting and Jaime Alguersuari reckons high tyre degradation could make the race worth watching, so we'll see.

It's worth noting that P1 and P2 both occurred in relatively cool conditions and therefore might not prove all that much use for forecasting qualifying and the race. In addition, Lotus spent a lot of time using both compounds on high fuel loads, so they may be well-placed for the race.

P1 had juvenile delinquent Maldonado fastest, followed by Vettel and Webber. Button will be pleased to be up in 4th, with Alonso, di Resta and Schumacher behind him. Hamilton, Rosberg and Raikkonen finish off the top 10.

P2 was led by Vettel, who was followed by Hulkenberg (especially impressive as he missed P1 so that Force India's reserve driver could have a go). Kobayashi was next, then Schumacher, Senna and di Resta. Alonso, Grosjean, Webber and Rosberg were 7th to 10th.

Temperature for qualifying may be very high, comparable to Barcelona and Bahrain. Ferrari may have high degradation, and Force India seem strong on both single lap and long run pace.

In P3 Webber didn't get any running done, and it's clear that traffic will be an issue in qualifying (to reach Q3 especially). Button was fastest, followed by the Lotuses of Grosjean and Raikkonen. Hulkenberg and di Resta came 4th and 5th, which is a welcome improvement for Force India. Perez, Schumacher, Hamilton, Massa and Maldonado round out the top 10.

Vettel's better than his 13th suggests, because he was very quick in 2/3 sectors. Really hard to pick a pole-sitter. Could see any of the Red Bulls, McLarens or Lotuses up there. Decided against betting on pole therefore.

Perused the top 3 and to reach Q3 (ie be in the top 10) markets. I decided to lay Alonso to reach Q3 at 1.14 (no hedge). My reasoning is thus: traffic is very serious, the Ferrari is on the cusp with others (Mercedes, Sauber etc) and the tyres are good for basically one lap. So, he could lack pace or just get unlucky with traffic.

Earlier in the week I also tipped No Safety Car at 1.5. I'm still content with that but it's now up to 1.63 with Betfair.

Ferrari tyres may degrade a bit too much, Anderson reckons they'll be a little off the pace. I think that, in the race, Force India could be the surprisingly fast team this weekend with an outside shot of a podium. Be fun to see whether they can do it, and if Hulkenberg or di Resta is fastest.

So, two tips:

No Safety Car at 1.63
Lay Alonso to reach Q3 at 1.14

No hedging for either (bit weird for me, I know, but there we are).

If I remember I'll take notes on who uses how many tyres in qualifying. I suspect the medium compound will be the best in the race, with durability outweighing raw pace in terms of long term speed.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

My guess is that Vettel will take pole, though at the current odds (6/4), I'm not quite certain enough to be tempted.
Quite a lot will depend on the driver, as it's not an easy lap to nail - and as you say, tyre usage will be important for the race too.

I quite fancy the Lotus for the win. I'm guessing that they will try to one stop, and none of the leaders will be able to match them. Grosjean is currently around 10/1, but I got a bit of money on him yesterday at 16/1.
Raikkonnen's odds are a bit more generous.

Nigel said...

Managed to get a couple of quid on Vettel during Q1, as his odds drifted out, so I'm happy.

Still think Lotus are looking great for the race.

Nigel said...

And might be time to take another look at Lotus for the championship ?

Red Bull might lose points with Webber at the back, Ferrari are probably out of this GP, and Button and Hamilton sound pretty subdued about the McLaren's race pace.
If both Lotus drivers can score strongly, it could get interesting.

OTOH, Valencia could be an anomaly.

Nigel said...

Oh, and I'm gutted I didn't follow your Alonso tip.

That was very smart thinking to catch it at those odds.

Morris Dancer said...

Thanks. I thought it'd be congested around that sort of area, and luckily for me Alonso fell just the right side of the cut-off point.

Don't feel too grumpy; Vettel got pole, after all.

Your thinking on Lotus is in line with mine. Not had time to check odds for this and that, but they could be pretty tasty in the race.