Monday, 19 November 2012

United States: post-race analysis

In betting terms the tip was green if you hedged and red if you didn't, making the weekend either flat (a 7p loss if you backed both tips and hedged the latter) or the joint worst of the season. Unfortunately Mr. Putney's tip didn't come off.

Even before the race began there was controversy as Ferrari pulled off a cunning and dastardly move: deliberately changing Massa's fully functional gearbox so he got demoted 5 places putting Alonso (and himself) on the clean side of the track and promoting his team mate a single grid slot.

The start was less two-sided than was forecast. The even side did seem to suffer a slight disadvantage which lost Raikkonen about 3 places and Hamilton 1, but it wasn't nearly as severe as people had suspected. Vettel kept the lead, Webber was second and Alonso had charged from 7th to 4th, beginning Schumacher's long march backwards.

Soon after that Hulkenberg and Grosjean were 5th and 6th, but the Frenchman spun and ended up pitting early. For a while Hulkenberg seemed secure in 5th, but after being passed a few times it seemed a combination of lack of pace and higher than average tyre degradation cost him. After the first pit stop he didn't feature much in the coverage.

Raikkonen, as mentioned, had a dire start but recovered throughout the race. However, he only finished sixth because of an excellent recovery by the Ferraris and Button.

Hamilton was looking very fast, and passed Webber at the second time of asking. Shortly after this an alternator failure ended the Aussie's race with disappointment, promoting Alonso to third.

The gap between Hamilton and Vettel waxed and waned, but eventually, perhaps due to traffic being unhelpful for the German, Hamilton squeezed past and was able to maintain the lead until the end of the race.

Massa had a great race, starting 11th and finishing 4th, often being the fastest man on the track and not putting a foot wrong. Button, who started 12th, finished 5th, and also had a strong weekend. This suggests to me that he could've and would've beaten Raikkonen in qualifying, but the car breaking cost him. Ironic, really, that a tip of sound judgement failed and one of dodgy judgement (Hulkenberg to be top 6) ended up green.

Grosjean recovered from his early problems by finishing 7th, behind his team mate, Hulkenberg ended up 8th and the Williams were 9th and 10th, Maldonado leading the way.

Mercedes had a day to forget. Schumacher started 5th and ended up 16th, and although Rosberg improved from 17th it was only to 13th. Sauber were also unimpressive, and given the track was one where overtaking was eminently possible they can't blame it on a typically lacklustre qualifying. Perez rose from 15th to 11th and Kobayashi stayed in 14th.

Grosjean's failure to finish further ahead can't be attributed to the even side of the grid (he and Hulkenberg both got away ok) but may be due to the spin he had and a slight lack of pace with the Lotuses. Given he qualified 4th and Webber retired it wasn't unreasonable to think he'd make up more places than he did.

The race seemed exciting, but it was a great shame it couldn't be watched live and that highlights finished at half past midnight (so, apologies if I've forgotten something important).

The result is quite significant, because there's a premium on winning (a 7 point advantage over 2nd). At the end of the race, the standings are as follows:

Vettel 273
Alonso 260
Raikkonen 206
Hamilton 190

For third place, Hamilton could yet take it, but he'd probably need Raikkonen to DNF. I might try hedging the Raikkonen to be top 3 bet if the odds are very short.

There's a 13 point gap from Vettel to Alonso. Should they tie, I'm reasonably sure the German wins (more wins, ahead most recently etc). So, here's how Alonso can win in Interlagos, the final race of the season:
Finish third - Vettel is 10th or lower
Finish second - Vettel is 8th or lower
Finish first - Vettel is 5th or lower

Or, to put it another way, if Vettel is 4th or higher what Alonso does is irrelevant.

However, Brazil's brilliant Interlagos circuit is not a place of dull processions. It's not the circuit you want to go to if you want an easy, boring, predictable race. It rains probably more often than Silverstone, and early forecasts suggest it'll be rainy for qualifying and race day.

Red Bull won the Constructors' in the US, which is a loss for me, but I'll be ahead on the Drivers' and evens or ahead on the Top 3 market, so that's ok.

Interlagos is just next weekend, and the race is on at a slightly earlier hour (which I like) than the US.

After that, I'll probably do a pair of season reviews, one focusing on the racing, and the other on the betting. Hopefully the season will have a green ending.

Morris Dancer


Anonymous said...

Morris -

Thanks again for a brilliant summary of yesterday's race. The only thing I would add is that based on the BBC's highlights programme as well as their R5 commentary, Austin came across as a wonderful circuit - perhaps one of the top 5 of the season.

My position as regards my Button spread bet remains effectively unchanged with him picking up another 10 points and his spread price is 173-175 points with one race to go. Yeeks, can I bear the tension until after Brazil or should I just cash in now?

Hopefully you will continue to provide this service for PB F1 fans next season - can I submit a small request please - would it be possible to open a free discussion "line", without your needing to add any comments, BEFORE adding your own pieces subsequently, i.e. before practice gets under way. This would enable us mere mortals (not entrusted with the key to PB Channel 2) to add our early betting thoughts when sometimes the best prices are to be had, before all the bookies move into line with each other.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Cheers :)

Austin was great, but we'll have to see if it is next year when it should be far grippier.

I'd be tempted to cash out, but it's your call, and a great bet too. Rain's possible/probable, and Button sealed his 2009 title in Interlagos when he came from very far back to get... third, or something like it.

It's certainly my plan to continue with F1 articles on pb2.

Not adverse to the idea, but I'm sure how such a discussion line would work.

Nigel said...

I was too busy this weekend to either follow the race, or bet. Bit of a shame, as I quite fancied a punt on Hamilton, given these stats:

Worth bearing the above in mind when it comes to Brazil, too.
I am not 100% convinced that Vettel is going to win the championship, but another McLaren win wouldn't necessarily do him any harm.

Ferrari's upgrades seem to have been a bust, with (old spec) Massa faster than his illustrious (and new spec) team mate. They will be doing the rain dance back at Maranello.

Like the idea of a 'discussion line'.
Just a simple one line post ("Have at it, F! gurus" etc.) with comments enabled would do.

Morris Dancer said...

I forgot all about that clever compound post.

I like the idea of the discussion line. So, a few days before a race weekend I'd just put up "Brazil: Discussion" or suchlike and it'd be for some early speculation?

If that's what you mean I'll do that for the next race, and put the 'article' up in a day or two.

Hamilton's been the fastest on race day for the last two races in a row. In the dry, I agree he might just be marginal favourite for Interlagos, but in the rain it could be another story. He's very good in the wet, but if it's on and off or torrential then qualifying and the race could become a lottery.

Morris Dancer said...

Forecasts suggest a probability of rain on race day, right now.

Do you think putting Discussion* posts up on the Wednesday before a race weekend would be alright?

*I was tempted by Prognostication, I must admit.

Anonymous said...

Re: Discussion Line

An example of what I consider such a discussion line might offer are attractive/stand out odds, which may not be available nearer the race date as the weight of money starts to look for an attractive home. Witness the current odds available against Kimi Raikkonen winning next weekend in Brazil, where Betfair's 40/1 (net of 5% comm'n), compares with the best bookie's odds of 26/1, i.e. an improvement factor of more than 50%, which I very much doubt will still be in evidence when Morris' first pre-qualifying post appears on Saturday.

Peter from Putney