Sunday, 8 July 2012

United Kingdom: post-race analysis

Another exciting and surprisingly dry race. Whether it was profitable or not depends upon whether the bet was hedged. If so, a modest profit was had, if not then a modest loss was suffered. Interestingly, the gap between bet-and-forget and hedging is pretty enormous this year (right now you're more than three times better off hedging than not).

Anyway, to the race:
Alonso was very nearly passed off the line by Webber but they managed to retain their positions, with Schumacher keeping third. Vettel had a poor start and ended up behind Massa and Raikkonen, I think. Button had a nice get-away and got to 12th from 16th (he qualified 18th but penalties for Pic and Vergne bumped him up two spots) but that was about the highlight of his race.

Grosjean tagged di Resta, which punctured the unlucky Briton's rear tyre. He got the car back to the pits and went out again but in getting there the first time he'd ruined the floor and had to return to retire.

There was quite a lot of rapid overtaking and the order got jiggled about in the midfield and lower down. At the front Alonso had a distinct but not enormous gap to Webber and both were pulling away from Schumacher, behind whom a small convoy of faster cars had lined up. Eventually he was passed and pitted and spent much of his time seeming to struggle (as did his team mate) with the Mercedes. I wonder if it had a compromise or wet set-up. However, he did pass Hamilton late on to nab 6th.

Massa had a good race, and although he wasn't able to stay ahead of Vettel he wasn't dropped much and scored a very good 4th. The two Lotuses showed good pace, getting 5th and 6th for Raikkonen and Grosjean respectively.

McLaren just weren't fast enough. Button scraped into 10th position, but that's still feeble for a potential title contender. Hamilton was perhaps screwed by a bad strategy. They had him out on the hard tyre initially (not bad) but the middle soft stint was incredibly brief, just about eight laps, and then he was back out on the hard tyre. He was ahead, after the final stop, of Grosjean, but got passed by the Frenchman and then Schumacher to finish a measly 8th.

At the sharp end Ferrari employed the correct strategy most of the time. Going hard-hard-soft made sense because the car seemed much happier on the harder compound (there was surprisingly little performance difference between the two). However, when Webber did his final stop first and started whittling down the 20s gap (15s or so is needed to come out ahead) Alonso pitted at about 19.4s or so. However, whilst the Spaniard could maintain a roughly 5s gap on softs (Webber was on the hard tyre) for a little while once they started to deteriorate Webber gobbled up half a second a lap and passed Alonso with ease. However, Alonso had enough over Vettel to keep second.

Yet again, there was a collision and controversy involving Maldonado. Perez was seeking to pass him on the outside of a corner, and Maldonado either drove into him or cocked up and accidentally collided with the Mexican. Afterwards Perez was very forthright, saying that all drivers were concerned by Maldonado's lack of respect and called on the stewards to punish him properly because otherwise he wouldn't stop his unacceptable behaviour.

Strong words, and I can only agree. Maldonado side-swiped Perez in Monaco practice, he did the same last year to Hamilton at Spa qualifying, he stupidly collided with Hamilton at Valencia and now he's hit Perez. Even if the latest incident were accidental he would need a slap from the stewards.

Although an Alonso win would've been better for me I can't feel grumpy about a green race when it was so very unpredictable.

In terms of the title, Alonso's lead, formerly 20 points, has been trimmed to 'just' 13 (that's still the second biggest lead of the year so far). Importantly, though he lost ground to Webber he extended his advantage over Vettel and Hamilton.

Alonso 129
Webber 116
Vettel 100
Hamilton 92

Both Hamilton and Vettel are more than a win (25 points) behind Alonso. But could Webber win? He's qualified well, he's raced very consistently (perhaps most consistently of any driver over the entire season so far) and he's got probably the fastest car. The main reason for saying 'no' would be his team mate. Vettel is tremendously talented, but he doesn't have a God-given right to beat Webber.

Webber's presently 7 with Betfair to take the title, but he's second. Alonso is 3 (about right, I think) and Vettel's 3.35. Hamilton's drifted a smidgen to 5.4. I've put on an extra £1 (because I'm a big time gambler, ahem) on Webber. Now I'll make roughly the same for him, Vettel or Hamilton and a bit more for Alonso.

The next race is Germany in a fortnight. I forget whether it's the turn of Hockenheim or the Nurburgring and, coincidentally, which circuit it is that Vettel really struggles at. I think we had it last year (I think his 4th there was his worst finish in the first half of the season).

Although there's only one week between Germany and Hungary and the latter is followed by a long break I'm going to do the mid-season review between Germany and Hungary. After Germany I plan to introduce my crowd*-sourcing green line to the betting graph (*a crowd meaning Messrs Nigel and Putney, and anyway else who wants to join in). So, tips offered in the comments will also be recorded and we'll see how they stack up against hedging and non-hedging tips.

Morris Dancer


Anonymous said...

Re: your crowd-sourcing green line - well you know what they say .... two's company, three's a crowd so just one more punter required .... come on, let's be 'aving you!
I broke even today despite having 3 losers out of 4 but saved by having backed Massa at an incredible 6.2 with Betfair (4.9/1 in real money) to finish top 6.
Are we allowed to suggest spread bets in terms of your "crowd-sourced" tips? At present I'm torn between buying Massa season's points and selling Button season's points. I'll decide which tomorrow when Sporting and Spreadex eventually get around to posting up their spread priced, taking account of the British GP - it was never like this when IG Sports was around - they were hungry for business. Come back Stuart Wheeler, all is forgiven!

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

That's a very tasty bet on Massa, Mr. Putney.

Er, jein on the spread-betting (or title betting generally). I can make a note of them and refer to those bets during the post-season review, but I tend to focus on the immediacy of qualifying and race bets. So, by all means suggest them, and I'll record them and check the records come the end of the season.

Shouldn't you be keeping the Button bet untouched? I'm entirely unfamiliar with spread-betting but it sounded like that would yield a mighty profit for you. Button's collapse in form could net you a small fortune, right?

Anonymous said...

Morris, that's correct - I'm expecting Button's price tomorrow (or Tuesday or whenever) to be around 145 points for me to close. Having sold him at 240 points for £10 per point pre-season, my current profit is likely to be approx £950, i.e. £10 x (240 - 145) .... geddit?
In theory, I can close at any time, except when the spreadbetter can't be bothered to put up a price, like now!
Jenson currently has 50 points from 9 GPs, on a pro rata basis therefore he would achieve 20/9 x 50 = 111 points for the season, but with a max of 25 points up for grabs for each race, he could still surpass this by a very large margin, thereby eating into my potential profit.
My own feeling is that with so much competition this season, he's unlikely to achieve better than 6th or 7th on average for the remaining 11 GPS. Such an outcome would therefore net him approx 75 points, plus say a further 20 premium points for say a couple of podium finishes, plus the 50 points he has already scored. All in all, therefore I see him finishing with around 145 points which unsurprisingly is precisely where his mid-spread price is right now (or will be when it appears).
My head, rather than my heart tells me he'll struggle to do this well and is more likely to finish with more than around 125 points, yielding me a further £200 of profit, as I'm not confident of the podium finishes materialising.
I'll need to do a similar assessment of Messa's prospects for the remainder of the season, which appear to be improving and boy did they need to! He's a very talented driver though, if he can just get his act together.

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

In that situation I think I'd be tempted to close the position and take the £950.

Button's form is unlikely to remain so awful all season.

However, only two races ago (Canada) McLaren had the best car. Right now it seems as though they're behind the Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus, and maybe even Sauber/William/Mercedes.

Maybe I'd take £475 now and keep the other half to see how it goes. It's a pretty nice problem to have.

Nigel said...

Your Alonso tip was excellent - I followed it and managed to lay late in the race & come out ahead, so thanks.

Conclusions from the race:
Red Bull have the fastest car at the moment.
Ferrari and Lotus are pretty equal in second place, and Lotus are underperforming (what was very impressive about the Lotus was their speed in the dry, even though they appeared to have a more compliant wet setup).

McLaren have slipped to fourth, as they were unable to do any significant work on their upgrade, thanks to the weather. This might impact on the larger upgrade due in Germany, which I think will be make or break for their season.

The narrow window for the tyres (underlined today by everyone's inability to make the option work), requires quite a lot of track time to find out whether new bits work, and how to get the best out of them.
Like you, I've hedged my bets on the WC winner, but nonetheless, I'm hoping for good weather for the next race, so McLaren can get their act together.

Happy to be part of the crowd next time around.

Nigel said...

Re the spread bet, I think I'd be tempted to close it.

As you say, he's priced about right at the moment, but there is a real chance of his outperforming. And there is a big upgrade due the next race.

And nice to have the cash now to re-invest...

Morris Dancer said...

Hehe, I'm not so sure I'd called it 'excellent' as 'flukey', but thanks anyway :)

The Ferrari/Lotus difference might simply be down to Alonso. He's driving very well right now.

"Happy to be part of the crowd next time around."

Going to Germany for the race?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Guys for the advice - I think you're both right - 144 or fewer points for Button and I'll close my position entirely 145-149 and I'll sell half my bet, 150 or more and I'll sit tight for now.
I take note especially of the scheduled improvements for Germany of which I was previously unaware. That said, there seems to be a huge gulf at present between McLaren and the other top teams. Earlier it seemed that Button was just plagued with bad luck, now he and his car don't seem good enough to make the top six. Extraordinary really how far backwards they've gone this season.
I suspect they've lost some key personnel - I saw a couple, now with Ferrari, previously with McLaren (can't remember their names), being interviewed after Alonso's recent win in Spain.
I suspect it's exceedingly difficult to replace men of this calibre who have worked in a highly specialised and skilled area for several years .... we may have seen the best from McLaren for quite some while.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

I don't think the gulf is huge but the field is the most competitive I can remember it being. Any potential shortfall means a bigger loss now than it would've in the past.

I think Pat Fry might be one of those who jumped ship (or horse, perhaps). Don't forget, though, that McLaren had the dominant car at the start of the season.

Anonymous said...

I've been having a re-think overnight about Button's points prospects for the season, or rather for the remaining 11 Grand Prix.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt in terms of 1 win and 2 third places plus, at the other end of the spectrum, 2 places out of the points, I came up with this:
1 x Win ................25 points
2 x 3rd place ..........30 points
2 x 5th place ..........20 points
2 x 7th place ..........12 points
2 x 9th place ...........4 points
2 x 11th place or lower..0 points

Total from 11 GPs ......91 points
Add points to date .....50 points
Total for season ......141 points

I feel that this is, if anything, on the optimistic side and that should Jenson fail to secure the 3 podium finishes I have suggested, his final tally might well be in the 100-110 point range. I've therefore decided to hang on for now unless/until I can close at below 140 points.

Felipe Massa's prospects are rather more difficult to call. He has secured only 23 points from the first 9 GPs, having more than doubled his tally yesterday, in collecting 12 points from his 4th place finish.
Frankly with his car and his undoubted talent (even post his serious accident), he should be a regular 6th or 7th finisher (or better) and certainly he will need to achieve at least that level of consistency if he is to have any chance of retaining his seat in the car ..... but the big question is whether he's really fussed. The last 2 or 3 races suggest that he just might be, in which case, I can see him averaging 6 or 7 points per race to finish the season with around 95 points - it will be interesting what his spread is today, post Silverstone.
I've pretty much decided not to back him however, since should Ferrari decide to dump him, this could happen before the end of the season, leavers backers well and truly in the brown stuff.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Best of luck, Mr. Putney. Whilst playing for far smaller sums I know it can be tricky to decide what to do when you're in a strong position but the future results are uncertain.

This story might be relevant, as it suggests he's driving for a new contract:

Anonymous said...

Morris - I'm surprised to see this story, especially right now when Massa still has so much to prove - but maybe he wants to bring matters to a head so that at least he knows where he is and can make himself available to other teams if the Ferrari decision were to go against him.
In forecasting him to achieve around 95 points for the season, I had this as being the minimum result he would need to achieve in order to keep his job - requiring him to score a further 62 points (92-23) from the last 11 GPS.
I'm a little surprised therefore to see Sporting's spread for him today at only 66-70 points, suggesting he'll secure only a further 45 points, which patently wouldn't be enough for him to stay with the Prancing Horse.
Incidentally, did you sense the strong feeling, especially from the interview with Alonso yesterday that Webber is being lined up to become his co-driver?
Button's spread today, as I suspected is 136-142 (i.e. 142 for me to close), excruciatingly close to the 140 point exit I need to reach the magic £1000 profit! I'm staying in for now - I just hope I don't regret it.
It's interesting that at Jenson's mid spread level of 139 points, Sporting are therefore expecting him to score a further 89 points (139-50) from the remaining 11 GPs, double their expectation of the 45 points they've pencilled in for Massa - I simply don't see that being the case and I think they're still way too strong on Button and too weak on Massa.
You may be interested to learn of their current mid-spreads for the four leading contenders for the Drivers' title which are as follows:
Alonso...........263 points
Vettel...........245 points
Hamilton.........221 points
Webber...........217 points

All still to play for!

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Mr. Putney, I recall the interview between Alonso and Lee McKenzie in the comedy clown chairs. He was asked (for those who didn't see it) if he preferred a friend as a team mate, in the context of him and Webber being on good terms and the latter being a potential replacement for Massa. Alonso said it was better to be friendly, which was a pretty clear thumbs up for Webber as a potential team mate.

My only worry would be that Webber has ignored a few orders from Red Bull and I cannot see any team mate of Alonso's as anything other than a number 2 driver.

Not sure I'd feel comfortable betting on Massa. A lot depends upon car development and his form is good now, but was very poor earlier on. If others catch up or he has a bad patch he could score badly in many races.

I agree with you that Button is unlikely to score double the points of Massa.

On the leading contenders, I'm surprised Webber's so low down, in terms of points.

Anonymous said...

I agree Morris - currently sitting second, Webber looks like the bargain buy of this quartet at present, especially taking account of his earlier "Mr Fourth" consistent finishing.
He might even be my pick when the "crowd-sourcing" tipping starts soon. Hopefully you'll allow spread-betting, bearing in mid that it doesn't have to be long term, i.e bets can be opened and closed before and after every race and of course some of the markets relate specifically to the particular Grand Prix upcoming.

I wonder if Mike would let you know how many hits he's getting on your PB2 pieces - several hundred would be my guess.
Come on you lot out there join in the fun and start posting - furthermore it's much more user friendly than negotiating Disqus on the main site.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Ha, by coincidence I've just invited pbers on the main site to come and join in here.

I don't know but I'd guess Mr. Smithson would give me a tally of readers if I asked him nicely. I might be able to see some basic stats (I only get limited access to the blog's inner workings, but I think I can see pageviews, and it's around 50-150 a post, I think).

If I had no bets on the title I'd probably put a sum on Webber.

Morris Dancer said...

I just checked. They average about 40 views, but there's a lot of variance. Weirdly, the single post-race pieces I did last year all seem to have more than 100 views each.

The viewcount isn't something I'm very concerned about. The benefit I get is that publicly announcing tips keeps me on my toes and the comments often provide cunning plans that I'd missed.

Anonymous said...

As we know, hits on blog sites tend to grow exponentially as more people contribute to the discussion.
Hopefully your idea of introducing a competitive betting forum will have this effect.

Peter from Putney