Saturday, 6 October 2012

Japan: pre-race

No tips offered for qualifying, and I would've probably found the Hamilton-Vettel choice difficult. As it happened, Vettel won by a fair distance.

In Q1 the pointless teams were joined by Bruno Senna. However, Schumacher starts 23rd due to a 10 place grid penalty for attempting to occupy the same co-ordinates in time and space as Vergne in Singapore.

Q2 saw the Toro Rossos exit as well as Rosberg, Maldonado, Schumacher (demoted, as per above) and Di Resta and Massa.

The third session was expected to be an exciting Red Bull-McLaren duel, but actually it was more a case of formation flying from the Red Bulls, who locked out the front row with Vettel getting yet another pole position. Button was third but slides down the order due to a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox replacement (they need to change the regulations on gearboxes as the number of penalties this year has been ridiculous) and Kobayashi will be delighted to start third at his home race.

Grosjean and Perez are next up, and the former's first lap shenanigans prompted Kobayashi (according to an Andrew Benson tweet) to wryly observe: "I’m a little bit worried I have Grosjean next to me. I am good friend. But, you know, make sure."

Alonso starts sixth, and alleged that Vettel blocked him during a hot lap (although this was in a sector with waved yellow flags after Raikkonen discovered F1 cars are not suited to off-track rally action). The FIA were morons. They took about two and a half hours to decide, then said Vettel had impeded Alonso but only gave him a reprimand.

Raikkonen's seventh, with Button still beating Hamilton in eighth and ninth respectively with Hulkenberg, who didn't bother setting a time, demoted from tenth to fifteenth, promoting Massa to tenth.

Bit irked about the prolonged time for a Vettel decision, as I was hoping to quickly back Webber at 6 and 5 for the win and to lead lap 1 respectively. Oh well.

Given Red Bull's dominance in qualifying and strong long-run pace the podium market is what I looked at. Perez at 4.33 tempted me, but in the end I went for Alonso at 3.5 (Ladbrokes) with a Betfair hedge set up at 1.5.

My reasoning is basically that in the last couple of Japanese Grands Prix he's gone from 5th to 2nd and 5th to 3rd, he's consistently improved from grid to finishing position this year and that he's very reliable.

My main concern is that the Ferrari may be too harsh on its tyres, but we'll see come race day.

I also, briefly, considered Sauber to top score at 11. However, top-scoring requires either a win (unlikely) or a double podium finish (also unlikely).

Mr. Nigel's 40% stake tip on Vettel at 4.2 for the win is looking rather good right about now (he's 1.58 presently). Incidentally, is that with a bookie or Betfair? Just wondering about whether commission will be charged on your possible winnings.

Right now the race looks like a Red Bull duel for victory and a battle for third amongst everyone else. However, Suzuka is a very good circuit and hopefully we'll be in for fireworks. The race starts at 7am UK time.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

That would be Betfair.

Still slightly annoyed about the Hamilton bet, though. Although the reasoning was correct, I don't think I would have made it had I watched 3rd practice.

Will have to think about the podium market.

Morris Dancer said...


Just watched the highlights. Webber seems well up for it and Hamilton appears to have cocked up his setup.

Alonso was harder to read. I think he could get a podium, though (hope so, anyway). It was quite hard to tell, from a single viewing, whether Vettel did block him, but saying he impeded Alonso on a hot lap but only deserves a reprimand is weak.

Nigel said...

Not sure about the Alonso podium - the Ferrari looks a bit iffy on long runs.

The McLaren looked really good in P2 in this respect, but as Hamilton seems to have massive understeer, Button might be the one to look at... odds of 3.4 are not generous enough, though.

Any one of Kobyashi, Perez or Grosjean could just as well manage a podium if all goes right for them. Of the three, Kobyashi had good long run speed in 2nd practice, but he needs not to get mugged at the start (a problem for him this season).

No clear value there at the moment.

Morris Dancer said...

That was a consideration for me.

However, I think reliability and experience matters a lot at Suzuka. We saw earlier how easy it is to make a small mistake which can lead to a big loss of time (or even a crash). I can easily see Grosjean doing that, and quite possibly Perez as well. Kobayashi is, I think, less prone to it, but I'm not sure he has the pace.

There wasn't anything standing out, although if Vettel had been given the penalty some tasty quick bets could've been had. Still, can't complain, as I fluked my way to profit in Spain that way.

Anonymous said...

I'm going for Button to win a podium place, available from Hills at 3.75 decimal(11/4 in real money) and therefore typically half a point better than the rest of the market is offering for this bet.
He's been very competitive all weekend at or around 3rd place and only his gear box swap has pushed him back to 8th on the grid.
Time and time again the top drivers have shown that such a penalty doesn't really inhibit them substantially over an entire race and it's quite possible that a good start will see Jenson in the first four or five within the first lap or so. I somehow don't see a Red Bull finishing first & second and suspect therefore that two of the podium places are up for grabs. Button is at least as likely as anyone else to fill one of these.

Furthermore I also expect him to be extra motivated and Lewis Hamilton less motivated following confirmation that the latter will be moving to Mercedes next year.

Peter from Putney.

Nigel said...

Glad I ended up sitting on my hands, with the Vettel cover leaving me green for the weekend.

Looking at Massa's pace, Alonso would have been nailed on for second if he'd avoided the first lap carnage. Might even have challenged Vettel, as there's nothing wrong with the Ferrari's race pace. I'm sorry what was a good call from you didn't end up paying out.

And McLaren might be wondering about their new signing for next season...