Saturday, 1 September 2012

Belgium: pre-qualifying

Unfortunately both P1 and P2 were wetter than a pair of mermaids sharing a bath, and the soggy weather meant that Lotus have decided to shelve their extra DRS device until the next race due to lack of testing.

Hard and medium tyres will be used at Spa this weekend.

However, McLaren seem rather more upbeat about their updates. Given their car was the fastest at the end of the first half of the season that might not bode well for their adversaries. Mercedes also sound a little downbeat, and Ferrari probably won't be at the sharp end, so we might have an old-fashioned (well, sort of) McLaren-Red Bull tussle for supremacy.

Although the P1 and P2 times are meaningless, I'll include them for the sake of completeness.

P1's top 10 were: Kobayashi, Maldonado, Ricciardo, Vergne, Webber, Perez, Rosberg, Bottas, Vettel, Schumacher.

The top 10 of P2 were: Pic, Ricciardo, Alonso, Di Resta, Maldonado, Glock, Kobayashi, Vergne, Hulkenberg and Perez.

So, all dry-weather running will need to be made in P3. Likewise, assuming the weather in P3 and qualifying is expected to be similar, I'll be basing any qualifying tips on P3 entirely.

P3 was dry, but Rosberg had a transmission problem which meant he got no running done. Red Bull/Ferrari focused on straight line speed and qualifying, whereas Lotus went for being fast in twisty sector 2 rather than the more top end speed sectors 1 and 3. McLaren were unexpectedly slow and, weirdly, Button was much faster than Hamilton. Alonso was fastest, followed by Raikkonen, Perez, Kobayashi, Button, Massa, Webber, Grosjean, Vettel, Di Resta.

Sauber are looking racy, and if they can get qualifying sorted they might just be podium contenders come the race. I'm quite surprised that McLaren weren't faster, and even more so that Button was about half a second ahead of Hamilton in 12th. That might just indicate traffic for the latter, but laying Button for Q3 was a bet I was contemplating until that time.

Vettel's time is deceptively slow, and he would've been far nearer the sharp end on his quick lap but for buggering up the breaking point prior to the chicane which cost him over half a second.

Bit tentative, but I've decided to back Alonso and Raikkonen (half-stakes each, so I'm counting it as 1 tip rather than 2) for pole, at 6.2 and 6.6 respectively (each hedged at 2). The reasoning is simply that the odds are long for the first and second chaps, there's a tenth and a half from Raikkonen to Perez and I'm not convinced Vettel would've been faster had he gotten his braking right on his quick lap.

Anyway, let's hope Raikkonen or Alonso get pole, and both come close enough for the hedges to be matched.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

Can't call it for qualifying.

I suspect teams will be making significant setup changes between Q1 and Q3, as none of the cars look dialed in.
Need to have a look at speed trap figures, too (apparently Red Bull are unusually fast).

i admire your bravery, but I think I'll wait for the race.

Nigel said...

PS - might bet during quali if I get back from lunch in time.

Nigel said...

Was tempted by Button at 18 just as got back from lunch, but didn't pull the trigger.

Still, successfully laid the Hamilton bet - Button looks to have a much better race setup as well.

Nigel said...

Also just laid about half of my Hamilton for the championship bet - and put a bit more on McLaren for the Constructors'.

Morris Dancer said...

Discretion would've been the better part of valour on my part for qualifying.

However, whilst this result was very unpredictable I've enjoyed my share of flukey triumphs (laying Alonso for Q3, backing him for pole etc) and so can't complain.

The Constructors' sprang to my mind too. I'll check and maybe lay Red Bull for it.

Nigel said...

Yes, Red Bull looking a bit iffy.
The ultimate race pace of both McLaren and Lotus is looking better.

Hamilton looked pretty crestfallen when interviewed after qualifying. Opting for the old rear wing rather than the Spa special looks to have been a huge mistake.
He'll be extremely lucky even to get a podium tomorrow, I think.

Speaking of which, the podium finish market looks interesting.
I am not totally convinced that Alonso ought to be shorter odds than either Kobyashi or Maldonado (though of course there's a serious chance that Maldonado will take out Kobyashi at the first corner...).

Nigel said...

Ah. I see Maldonado has been relegated to 6th on the grid for impeding Hulkenburg.

New record for penalties ?

Also Hamilton and Alonso could be worried men.

Nigel said...

One other thought on the race: Pirelli's tyre selection looks ideal for a one stop alternate strategy (could actually be faster over the race).
I expect Perez to have a go at this, which could nab him a podium.

For now, I've contented myself with a bet on Button at 2.48.

Morris Dancer said...

I believe that is a new record for Maldonado, and he's got the race and 8 more full weekends to go.

I was contemplating backing Perez for a podium. He's better, I think, in the race than Kobayashi.

Anyway, the markets are hopefully ticking over a bit so I'll go see what's there.

Morris Dancer said...

Ah, I wrote my comment before yours on Perez was up. Great minds :)