Saturday, 12 January 2013

How will Perez and Hamilton do in 2013?

I don't bet on the spreads, but Mr. Putney does and asked what I thought Perez and Hamilton might end up scoring during the 2013 season.

Not betting in this area myself I'd given it almost no thought, and when I did the picture was clearly complicated enough to warrant an  unexpected article.

Firstly, the raw numbers.

There are likely to be 19 races at this stage, the TBA race slot seeming likely to go unfilled. Positions 1 to 10 yield points (25, 18 and 15 for a podium, then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1). This gives a theoretical maximum of 475. All second places would yield 342, all third 285, all fourth 228 and all fifth 190.

There will be 22 drivers and 11 teams. Caterham and Marussia should improve, but they'll still not trouble the scorers often, if at all, meaning most races will see 18 drivers fighting for 10 points positions.

Other facts we need to consider are the competitiveness of the field, the reliability of the cars, the raw speed at the start of the season, the ability to improve and develop a car during the course of 2013, and the two drivers themselves.


The competitiveness of the field is more critical than anything else, perhaps. In 2011 Vettel had the best car and ran away to an embarrassingly easy 392 point victory. In 2012 he squeaked home with 281 (Alonso had 278).

In 2012 there was a group of four quite closely clustered behind the two frontrunners, with 207, 190, 188 and 179 respectively. In 2011 there were three clustered behind Vettel, on 270, 258, and 257.

In 2010 there were a cluster of four at the top, with points from 256 to 240.

So, how tight will 2013 be? Unhelpfully for Mr. Putney, I believe it's impossible to say, but it is possible to guess. Red Bull and Ferrari may suffer a developmental hangover from 2012, when they developed cars right to the end. McLaren is in the best position, with a very fast 2012 car and no title pressure at the end of last year giving them more development time. Mercedes appears to have improved their engineering/production operation, but I believe the impact of this will be tempered by a focus on 2014 when new regulations come in. Lotus should also be in good shape.

It's unlikely to be as close as 2012, simply because that was an extremely close year, and that's unusual in F1. I'd be surprised if Mercedes can close the gap to the frontrunners, though they may be able to compete with Lotus. Alonso is unlikely to reproduce the excellent performance of 2012, and Red Bull may suffer developmental jetlag. I would guess that McLaren will be out of the blocks the fastest, and that Red Bull and Ferrari will be a little way behind, with Lotus and Mercedes fighting for fourth.


Generally, reliability was ok in 2012, but for some it was shocking. Occasionally this was self-inflicted (Maldonado and Grosjean) but for others it was due to team mistakes and their cars breaking (Hamilton and Schumacher). A driver will probably suffer approximately two DNFs in a given year due to reliability, whether this is being struck by another car, making a mistake or being let down by the team.

However, it's worth pointing out that McLaren and Mercedes, the teams of Perez and Hamilton respectively, had the worst reliability records of front-running teams last year.

Starting speed

Mercedes has tended, I think, to start a season pretty well (they were certainly strongest early on in 2012), and McLaren started last season with the best car. I expect both teams to be pretty racy at the start of 2013, particularly as Red Bull and Ferrari may have compromised 2013 development in the battle for last year's title.


This is a different bag of monkeys. It's no good being the fastest at the start of the season if you fail to develop or if your car breaks down (reliability, above) all the time. McLaren have shown they can develop a car all season long. Mercedes has struggled in the past in this area, but if their new operations run smoothly they should improve in this area.

Perez and Hamilton

Perez is hardest to read, because the Mexican only has one full season in the sport (he missed a few races in 2011 after getting concussion when he struck a barrier in Monaco). He's also only driven for Sauber, and whilst the team had a good car in 2012 it's difficult to draw comparisons with Hamilton et al.

In qualifying terms he was, I think, usually out-qualified by his team mate. They often qualified poorly, but that may well be down to the car rather than Perez, as Kobayashi tended to qualify poorly if his team mate did.

In terms of tyre degradation Perez was generally excellent. Race pace was a little variable but generally good and occasionally excellent. However, fine judgement was sometimes off (probably due to inexperience, I don't think he's a hot-head like Maldonado).

He also had a few periods, notably at the end of the season, when he failed to score in successive races. Some of this can be put down to the Sauber car, which was occasionally podium-tastic and sometimes surprisingly slow (they also suffered on tracks where passing is hard, due to their tendency to be slow in qualifying and fast in the race). However, part of it was due to Perez. He'll find it easier at McLaren, though, because he should start and race nearer the front. Fewer cars around him means fewer opportunities to cock things up and less chance of encountering any Venezuelan traffic offenders.

I take a fairly optimistic view about Perez. His decision in 2011 to say he wasn't up to racing in Canada was a mature one (in the aftermath of the Monaco crash) and he showed strong pace in 2012.

There's no doubt Hamilton is one of the very best drivers in F1. He's probably joint-equal with Vettel in qualifying ability, and can wring the neck of a bad car to drive beyond what it should be capable of. Tyre degradation hasn't been an issue with the crumbly cheese Pirellis, although that may change at Mercedes as the team has suffered serious tyres-shredding problems in the past.

His only really bad season was in 2011, and that was more due to events off-track affecting his mindset. However, a potentially significant handicap will be the Mercedes car. The car matters more than the driver, and with the likes of Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, not to mention the McLarens, around he won't be getting any free passes to the podium.

It'll be very interesting to see how the two drivers cope with their fresh challenges in 2013.


It's likely Hamilton will outperform Rosberg. Perez could beat Button, but the Briton almost certainly has better judgement and will start the season with more experience and so be able to hit the ground running.

I would expect Perez to finish ahead of Hamilton, but probably behind Vettel, Alonso and Button as well. Raikkonen could also make the Mexican's first year at McLaren difficult. Although he may have title-winning pace (and we'll find out if that's the case this year) I think reliability of the car and his own inexperience will make winning this year hard.

If he does finish 4th then something like 220 points should be his aim. Hamilton I expect to finish something like 5th or 6th (probably vying with Rosberg and maybe Raikkonen) with around 200 points.

However, I want to stress that I have never participated in spread-betting and I dislike such predictions. As regulars will know, I only bet on qualifying after P3 (a few hours beforehand) and the race after qualifying. So, please take this with a massive pinch of salt. This is emphatically not a tip, on either driver for those points.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

I wouldn't want to be points betting on either of them at this time. Perez because I don't have a good feel for how fast he is (though I suspect Button will significantly outperform him), and Hamilton because I have equally little feel for how much Mercedes might have improved over the winter.

The only thing I would say is that with respect, and contra your opinion, I expect the teams to be even closer than last year.
The technical regulations haven't changed very much, other than further limitations on DRS and wing flexing, so Ferrari and Red Bull's efforts at the end of last season aren't entirely to be written off as far as this year's car is concerned.
Mercedes ought to have an improved car next year (better wind tunnel, and aerodynamic engineers), and everyone ought to be getting closer to the theoretical ceiling of essentially fixed technical specifications.

I'd be waiting at least until the first tests before making any predictions (although I already have a bit of money on Button at around 9/1 as a trading position).

Morris Dancer said...

I hope you're right about it being tighter than last year. The racing was excellent.

Anonymous said...

Morris - very many thanks for your detailed and very interestingly assessment of Perez and Hamilton's prospects for the forthcoming season.

I apologise for the delay in replying, owing to computer problems yesterday.

You repeatedly make the point that you don't participate in spread-betting and that your ideas should in no way should be viewed as tipping advice. This is absolutely understood and agreed and that expressing your views on each driver does not imply that you have any interest or knowledge about spread-betting (or any other type of betting for that matter) - we are talking here purely in sporting terms.

In your concluding para, you suggest a 5th or 6th place finish for Hamilton with around 200 points. This would be a terrific achievement for him in his first season with Mercedes and would mean him winning 10 points more than last year from 20 GPs compared with 19 in prospect for this year.

For what it's worth , my own target for him would be around 170-180 points and like you 5th or 6th place.

Perez is a far lesser known quantity (and talent). Clearly McLaren believe in him or would have picked him - I believe he's a great driver as such, but worry about his temperament under pressure.

Unless he can be a real rival to Button from the outset, you'd have to say that he'd not come up to expectations. I expect him to finish close to Hamilton's tally also, around the 170-180 point mark and therefore also in 5th-6th place, possibly 15-20 points behind his team mate.
A tricky duo for the betting markets to price up pre-season that's for sure!

Peter from Putney.

Morris Dancer said...

Ah, but how many points did Hamilton lose last year to misfortune? He could've had about 20 more in Spain (the fuel tank idiocy), 50-75 more in three latter races where reliability and a racing incident with Hulkenberg cost him, and numerous points due to pit stop woe and the Maldonado crash somewhere (Valencia?). He could've easily scored 250-300.

Are you going to wait until pre-season testing is underway/finished before betting?

Morris Dancer said...

Oh, and I hope your computer woe has been entirely resolved.

Anonymous said...

Morris -

My computer problems relate not so much to my own box of tricks but to the poorish service from Orange (which used to be good) provided via my mobile dongle, which went down for long periods yesterday - I really need to switch to a landline service (I don't have Sky) which would be more reliable as well as cheaper.

I'm not sure pre-season testing will tell us that much but I would certainly like to know how many GPs there are intended to be since together these two drivers can be expected to collect around 16-18 points per GP!

FWIW, based on a 19 GP season, my current views would be to buy Hamilton at <175 points and sell him at >205 points. As regards Perez, I'd probably be a buyer of him at <165 points and a seller at >195 points.

Do you have any views on any other driver(s) likely to have a dramatically better season or worse for that matter.

As previously mentioned, I prefer to bet on the downside (as I did last season in selling Jenson), having regard to possible Driver injury or the possibility of his being fired!

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

I hope your dongle perks up soon. Ahem.

Last season the murmuring of the teams (and Mr. Max's insightful friend) provided some good hints as to the lay of the land. The basic times are practically worthless, however.

Interesting that you (on average with the spread) disagree with me regarding who'll end up ahead. Ladbrokes agrees with you, incidentally (1.8 versus 1.9 for Perez to finish ahead).

Rosberg may do worse. The car may be better, but so will everyone else's, and he'll likely face a much stiffer competition than latter-Schumacher. Maldonado may do worse, as his 2012 car was great and he underperformed due to unreliability and crashing into people too much. Not sure his 2013 car will be as good, and Bottas should be a tougher team mate than Senna.

I don't think there's a clear-cut case of a driver nose-diving, sadly.

Anonymous said...

I'm certainly way below you as regards Perez, i.e 180 points vs your 220 points based on a 19 race season.

You're also expecting Button to finish ahead of Perez, do it sounds as though you should be lumping money onto McLaren to win the Constructors.

I agree with you as regards Rosberg, Mr Nearly Man if ever there was one, although with Hamilton alongside and their cars improving somewhat, I'd expect him to improve on his 93 point tally last season .... 120 points maybe.

I suppose you'd have say that Mark Webber is similarly something of a Nearly Man in flattering to deceive, but on an altogether higher level. A contender for 4th or 5th place as usual I would hazard a guess.

IMHO the driver with the most potential to improve is Grosjean, not only because he is a very capable and still improving driver but also because he's in a very fast car. Last season Raikkonen outpointed him by more than 2:1 (i.e. 207 points vs 96). I expect them to be much closer this time round and I could be persuaded to buy Grosjean at around the 115-120 level. I'll be surprised however if he's on offer this cheaply, more like 130-135 I expect.

Peter from Putney

Morris Dancer said...

Loathe to bet so early without silly odds. If Vettel wins and Webber gets a decent finish then Red Bull will, yet again, get the title. They're a very solid pairing.

Grosjean has great pace and should have a good car, but he needs his head sorting. I don't mean regarding hitting people on lap 1, but on stressing and being too shy of fighting for his position, which happened late on last season when he played it too safe.

Anonymous said...

Certainly spread betting this far ahead is to be avoided be avoided and anyway there are no prices up as yet, but as regards fixed odds, now is where there may be some value to be had.

I've already backed both Hamilton and Perez each way, very modestly, in the Drivers' Championship at odds of 18/1 - 20/1.

Both long shots I know but these are long prices!

Peter from Putney