From last year's Korean post (just 1 post per weekend last year):
"The race start was unusual as everyone predicted the dirty (even) side of the track would be severely disadvantaged. In truth, there was no difference whatsoever, and the long McLaren first gear didn’t hamper them at all either. Infuriatingly, Vettel did pass Hamilton on lap 1, using the very long straights to get a great slipstream, pass him and then be in the lead in the twisty section where passing is very hard. [Hopefully I’ll remember this for next year]."
So, I'll wait and see who the top two are (given Grosjean and Maldonado have a habit of crashing they might put me off) and consider this bet after qualifying.
In other news, Lotus have brought swanky new exhausts (actually, they're just catching up with the other top teams but it could help them a bit and will hopefully assist Raikkonen in staying in the top three):
The Korean tyres are soft and supersoft. The supersoft may not last long at all in the race (maybe 8 laps on the first stint, though 12 or so seems possible).
Due to being asleep I missed all of P1 and most of P2, but I did catch some interesting snippets at the end.
In P1 the top 10 were: Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Massa, Vettel, Schumacher, Rosberg, Grosjean, Di Resta and Button.
P2 was led by the Red Bulls, Vettel and Webber, then came Alonso, Button and Schumacher. Sixth was Massa, followed by Rosberg, Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Raikkonen.
The Red Bulls, McLarens and Ferraris are all very similar on long run pace. Massa also looked good on the soft, but as everyone else was on the supersoft and fuel weights are unknown it's hard to read much into that. Button seemed happy with his setup and the gap between Vettel and Webber on both low and high fuel was around 0.03s (sod all, essentially). Whilst all eyes will be on Vettel and Hamilton for the pole fight I think Webber should not be counted out.
There was a little bit of money for Webber at 8 on Betfair, but not enough to be tipped. Not sure if I would've done so (I dislike early tipping), but 7/1 seems longer than it should be to me.
So, no tip for qualifying. It could be a very tight battle, and I hope it sets up for the grid nicely, as the race itself could be highly competitive. Whilst Vettel was unmatched in Suzuka it's worth recalling he was similarly dominant in Valencia, but at the subsequent race he finished third.