Sunday, 9 September 2012

Italy: post-race analysis

Well, the bet on both Saubers finishing in the points came off, but I have to say it was entirely down to luck. However, if luck is going to influence results I'd much rather it be helpful than the contrary, so I'm not complaining. Nigel's early 7.4 tip on Button to win did not come off, but it was eminently layable (so although that's technically red it was a good trading bet).

The race was exciting from the first lap to the last and I fully intend to watch the highlights. This is what happens when proper circuits like Monza meet the most competitive F1 season for years, perhaps decades.

Off the line Massa passed Button, Perez and Webber had a tiny tangle (one of them lost a smidgen of front wing) and there were no major accidents. Alonso got a flying start and after a lap or two was already up to sixth.

Hamilton had a small but comfortable gap over Massa, who was eventually overtaken by Button.

Some cars went for two stops, including both Mercedes. Initially this looked a bad move but in the end they both finished alright, making late passes on fresh rubber.

Alonso slaughtered most of his opposition but met stiffer (and perhaps naughtier) resistance from Vettel, whose manoeuvre forcing the Spaniard from the track earnt him a drive-through penalty. Vettel was in the middle of the points positions when he had the same issue that cost him Valencian victory struck and he had to retire.

Button, who had been second, also suffered a reliability failure and had to retire, promoting Massa to second and Alonso to third.

Alonso was politely let past by Massa to take second. But then a remarkable thing happened.

Perez, who started 12th on the hard tyres, had briefly led and was flying. He was a second a lap faster than everyone else. He passed Massa with ease and then did the same to Alonso. Had the race been 5 laps more Hamilton might have been in trouble, but the gap he'd built up was sufficient to take the win. Perez, however, wins driver of the day for outstanding pace at the end, aided by a stroke of genius from Sauber's tactical division.

Kobayashi was strangely subdued, by comparison, coming home in 9th. Not really sure why that was. He did start on the medium compound, and I'm uncertain how many stops he did (radio coverage can make it hard to keep track of people not at the front/involved in tussles for position). Webber went off-track late on, and had to retire, and the Button/Vettel retirements meant that the Japanese got a points position that owed more to fortune than speed.

Raikkonen was steady but unspectacular in 5th, Schumacher and Rosberg got a tasty 6th and 7th, Di Resta can be fairly happy with 8th and Senna will probably be happy to both beat his team mate and get the final point in 10th.

Pretty relieved the tip came off, as I felt more like I was guessing than making a cunning judgement. Two from two for the weekend is also nice.

After that result, here's how the title race stacks up:
Alonso 179
Hamilton 142
Raikkonen 141
Vettel 140
Webber 132

Button's failure to finish puts him down on 101, and almost certainly out of it.

The real winner today was Alonso, whose lead is now extended to 37 points. There's still a very close cluster of four chasing drivers, who may well take points from one another and allow Alonso to stay ahead. The counter-argument, which may be persuasive, is that the McLaren is now the car to beat and it's a McLaren driver in second place. We'll have to see how the other cars develop and whether the McLaren is as good at circuits that aren't as fast as Spa and Monza, however.

The Constructors' has Red Bull on 272 and McLaren on 243. I'd be surprised if McLaren didn't win this now.

The next race is Singapore, in a fortnight, a very different circuit to Spa or Monza. The grid is also likely to more closely resemble the final result than at those two circuits.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

Excellent result on the Sauber tip.

Weekend turned out OK for me, too, since the Alonso bet only reduced my winnings by 3 quid. I'm not sure how to play those odds disparities - maybe just leave them alone next time.

Hope anyone who followed my Button tip also followed my (pre-race) advice in the comments to your earlier post:
"I'm laying my Hamilton and Button bets at 1.96 and 3.9 respectively."

Is the value bet now McLaren for the constructors' ?

Going to watch the highlights too, as apart from anything else, I'm curious to see if the penalised Vettel move was any worse than Rosberg's recentish notorious swerves on Alonso and Hamilton, which were adjudged OK.

I applaud the stewards getting a bit tougher on bad behaviour, but it may take quite a while for them to demonstrate consistency.

Morris Dancer said...

McLaren down to 2.2 for the Constructors'. I'm already green on everyone except Red Bull, so I'm not tempted, but if I weren't involved in the market I might put a little on.

It'll also be interesting to compare Vettel's move on Alonso with the latter's move on the former last year, when Vettel had two wheels on the grass.

I forgot to mention that the weekend was also notable for Maldonado not getting a penalty.

Nigel said...

Can't quite decide about the Vettel penalty. Doesn't help that the director switches camera at the key moment.

I'm inclined to think that Vettel knew what he was doing (his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding), but on balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt.

(And the rules have been 'clarified' since last year.)

Morris Dancer said...

It seemed very close to the reverse incident of 2011. Perhaps a tiny bit harsher.

Morris Dancer said...

I've just checked the Singapore result from last year, and will write more at the start of the next article, and it's quite clear that the grid and final result are veeery similar, which may make the race betting a tedious choice between a very low odds likelihood or better odds for something that almost certainly won't happen.