Saturday, 13 October 2012

Korea: pre-race

Well, I have mixed feelings about the qualifying result given I was tempted to tip Webber at 8 for pole but there wasn't even enough for me to put a full stake on. That's the way things go, and he got it because Vettel cocked up a lap rather than having better outright speed. In addition, I never would've tipped anyone but Vettel had I been up to tip based on P3 where he topped the timesheet by over half a second.

Two green line tips have been offered in the previous comments, both of which are eminently hedgeable (incidentally, I don't normally include hedges on the green line because I don't want 4 lines, so if you want a hedge to count as a tip please specify this).

As has become traditional, I slept in and missed the first 30 minutes of qualifying.

In Q1 Senna joined the pointless teams.

The second session, as usual, was rather more competitive, with Button failing to make it out and starting 11th on the grid, next to his future team mate Perez. Kobayashi is 13th, with Di Resta 14th and followed by Maldonado and the two Toro Rossos.

Both Mercedes made it into Q3 but couldn't progress much beyond that, finishing with Rosberg 9th and Schumacher 10th, and Hulkenberg will be happy to get 8th. Raikkonen's new exhaust seemed to work for him, as he got 5th, Massa will probably be reasonably pleased with 6th and Grosjean starts 7th.

However, as always, it was the sharp end that was most exciting. After the first run Vettel was ahead by a mile, with Alonso in third. After the second and final run in Q3 Alonso had been pipped by Hamilton, with the Briton 3rd and the Spaniard 4th. However, Webber managed to edge ahead of Vettel, who cocked up his final lap and now starts off 2nd (and none too happy was he, judging by a rather annoyed radio message to his engineer).

Picking a winner is not easy. Webber may get passed normally or team orders may play a role (although the Aussie doesn't have a record of liking or necessarily following them). In addition, both the McLaren and the Ferrari look strong on long runs. So, any of the top four seem to have a pretty solid chance.

Race strategy could well be split, with a 1 or 2 stop (according to Gary Anderson) approach more or less the same in terms of overall time. This may also mean that someone on a different strategy might appear to have a better chance than they do, increasing, I think, the importance of hedging bets.

Ferrari has less graining than the McLaren and may have better race pace than the Red Bull. The Red Bull advantage over the other two teams is in twisty sector 3 where overtaking is practically impossible. The reverse is also true, with Ferrari and McLaren faster in sector 1, where overtaking is eminently possible.

On balance, I've decided to back Alonso for the win at 7.4, with a hedge set up at 2.5.

I've decided against laying Webber to lead lap 1 because the odds (1.68 at the time of writing) are not good enough, given team orders probably won't kick in at the start (too much risk of being passed by multiple cars) and it's entirely possible squabbling behind will lead to him getting a reasonable run. I also looked at a Safety Car appearance at 1.88, but there's only been one dry race here before and I think Grosjean/Maldonado may be on best behaviour.

Tricky decision, but I think my reasoning is sound. We'll find out tomorrow.

The grid is perfectly poised for a great race, and has all the major title contenders at the sharp end. Hopefully it'll be a cracker (start time is 7am in the UK).

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

Interesting stat from F1fanatic:

:Last year none of the top six cars at the end of the first lap were in the same positions they’d occupied at the exit of turn one..."

Morris Dancer said...

That is a fascinating stat.

Another good one, courtesy of Sam Bird (Mercedes test driver), is that if Schumacher had finished all of the first 7 races in the position he either finished or was when he had a DNF he would've led the title race at that point.

So, Alonso first, Webber second, Raikkonen third, Hamilton fourth, Massa fifth and Vettel sixth would work nicely.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the prompt to lay my bet on Webber - having backed him at 12/1, I feel I can afford to do so and I've set this at an undemanding price of 5/2, compared with his pre-race odds on Betfair of 4/1 net, which seem ridiculously high, suggesting that he has only a 20% chance of winning the race.

In addition, taking account of Nigel's comments on the previous thread regarding Jenson Buttons' possible strategic tyre advantage, I'm backing him for a Top 6 finish at 11/8 available from Blue Square and others. We saw in Japan last weekend how quickly he gained places at the very start of the race when he (and I) were very unlucky that he ultimately just failed to secure a podium finish.

This weekend I am being far less ambitious and given his own and his car's respective abilities, I'll be very disappointed should this bet not prove a winner.

Good luck to everyone else with their bets.

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

That seems like a potentially good spot on Button. I'll make a note of that.

I share your slight bemusement at Webber's long odds. Whilst he may have to move over for Vettel (or just get passed) it certainly isn't guaranteed.

Morris Dancer said...

Oh, and what stake are you putting up at 3.5 against Webber?