Disappointing result, I'm afraid. It was a bit of a surprise that Vettel was nowhere near to Hamilton's qualifying pace. At this rate Hamilton will become favourite for the title (not there yet, though) and I maintain McLaren are likelier to take the Constructors' than Red Bull.
In the first session of qualifying the three pointless teams went out, and Kobayashi joined them. Sauber have looked unimpressive all weekend, and it's less of a surprise than it might have been.
Q2 saw Hulkenberg out in 11th, followed by Raikkonen and Massa. Perez qualifies 14th, followed by Ricciardo and Vergne. Senna is just 17th, after he hit a wall and failed to really clock a proper lap time.
The third session was slightly surprising. Hamilton got pole (not too shocking) but did so by miles, and Vettel could only manage 3rd. The ill-favoured one was 2nd, and Button got 4th. Alonso was 5th and starts alongside Di Resta. Row 4 consists of Webber and Grosjean. It's mentioning that both Mercedes did go out, but just to trundle around on soft tyres. Whilst not very exciting that approach paid dividends for Di Resta last year (who moved from 10th to 6th).
The forecast for tomorrow is a high likelihood of it being dry. However, a safety car remains probable due to the nature of the track. Its extreme likelihood (4/4 in previous races) also mitigates its impact somewhat as all teams and drivers will be aware it's almost certainly coming out.
I've decided to back Maldonado at 3.5 (Ladbrokes) to get a podium, hedged with Betfair at 1.4. I think the Venezuelan is a binary chap, and he'll either get a podium (or very close) or not finish at all. The circuit is one at which it is very hard to overtake and the Williams is a fast car.
He's also 20 with Betfair to win. I don't like doubling up on bets like that generally, but that's also out of kilter (he's 3.5 for a podium and 8 or so to lead lap 1. If he leads lap 1 he stands a great chance of winning).
Schumacher starts 9th and Rosberg 10th. They appear to be copying the strategy of Di Resta from last year, which was to do Q3 with the harder (soft) tyre, run further into the race and do one fewer pit stop. This saw the Scot be the only man to really move much in the top 10, going from 10th to 6th. I was very tempted by this, but the fact that Hulkenberg and Raikkonen can try exactly the same and the safety car could bugger up such strategic shenanigans put me off (the odds were 3.25 and 3.5 on Ladbrokes, for those interested).
I did consider Raikkonen or Perez to be top 6, but the odds are against it, particularly for the latter, and the odds were too short.
So just, the one tip:
Maldonado for a podium (3.5 with Ladbrokes), hedged at 1.4 with Betfair.
If any regulars (or irregulars, for that matter) have race tips, please feel free to offer them in the comments (if you want to mention a bet but not tip, please make clear it's not a tip. Cheers).
I suspect the race will be quite tedious, but hopefully it will also be profitable.