Saturday, 20 April 2013

Bahrain: pre-qualifying

Seems that articles put up on Monday become auto-moderated by Friday, so when timezones mean I won't offer a qualifying tip I'll put the early discussion up on Monday, and when that's not the case I'll put it up on Tuesday.

The tyres for Bahrain have been changed from soft-hard to medium-hard.

P1 saw Massa edge Alonso, with Rosberg, Vettel and Di Resta following. Button was sixth, and followed by Webber, Sutil, Raikkonen and Grosjean. Hamilton was on a fast lap but eased off, so his 13th is not representative.

In P2 Raikkonen topped the timesheets ahead of Webber, Vettel, Alonso and Di Resta. Massa was sixth, then came Grosjean, Rosberg, Sutil and Hamilton.

On the long runs it seems to be between Ferrari and Raikkonen for the best pace, with the Lotus perhaps a shade easier on the tyres. It also looks like Force India, especially Di Resta, are in good shape.

In P3 Vettel had a lap ruined by traffic so his pace is not perhaps the most representative, unhelpfully. Alonso was fastest, then Vettel, Webber, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Grosjean, Sutil, Di Resta, Rosberg and Hulkenberg. Massa, surprisingly, was just 11th.

Tyre wear will be critical for the race, so that's something else to watch. Red Bull have had worse degradation than other teams and the Lotus is nice to tyres, so that's worth considering.

Gary Anderson was of the view that Vettel's quick lap still wouldn't've been fast enough. Alonso was 4.5 for pole, which I backed immediately (hedge at evens), but his odds then lengthened (5.3 at the time of writing). So, I'd back at 4.5 or longer and hedge at evens (for the record it'll count as a 4.5 tip).

Updated extra bit: he's 5.5 at Ladbrokes. So, if you haven't bet yet, I'd advocate backing that and hedging on Betfair.

Several other potential bets interested me (backing either Force India to reach Q3, laying Button to do so) but none had appealing odds.

So a single, and unusually quick, tip. Alonso to get pole at 4.5, hedged at evens. Let's hope the Prancing Horse proves faster than the Red Bull.

Morris Dancer


Nigel said...

I'm putting a couple of quid on Grosjean at 36 (& will look to lay).

The Lotus looks capable of pole - it looks like a three way shootout between Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus - and Grosjean has a new chassis (and a degree more confidence) this weekend.

Apparently he had a small problem with brakes locking, which should be fixable, and at those odds, I think it worth a punt.

The medium tyres don't seem to last a full lap at peak pace, so tyre management over the qualifying lap could be crucial.

For the race (unless Red Bull have some hidden speed), I think Raikkonnen is looking good.

Morris Dancer said...

The chassis change is probably a placebo, but that doesn't mean it won't improve his mindset.

Not sure I can see Grosjean getting it, though that might prove a good trading bet (and if it does come off you'll make a very nice profit).

I think it's a Ferrari/Lotus (particularly Raikkonen) race battle, but Red Bull should get involved in qualifying. If Red Bull can lead the race they stand a chance, but if not I think they'll suffer, and tyre degradation could cost them.

Let's hope both Alonso and Grosjean get near enough for the hedges to be matched.

Nigel said...

I agree it's unlikely, but the Lotus is definitely in the mix for pole, so it's just not >that< unlikely.

The other way of looking at it is those odds represent a single pole in almost two entire seasons. With a truly competitive car, Grosjean is capable of more than that, I think.

Morris Dancer said...

Hamilton has a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Given Mercedes seem to be slightly struggling (relatively) this could help out Red Bull, who on race pace seem to be behind Lotus and Ferrari.

Morris Dancer said...

Hedge got matched, which is good.

Will leave it a few hours to let the markets get going.

Nigel said...

Just got back from lunch.

I see that the Lotus qualifying pace was lamentable compared to their practice times. Grosjean hedge didn't get matched, so a failure.
Picked the wrong long odds runner....

I did follow your Alonso bet (at the longer odds), and managed to hedge for a small profit, so qualifying ended up a wash.

Peter said...

Even though Mark Webber did OK qualifying 5th, net 7th, the betting markets just don't fancy his chances at all and his odds have lengthened still further to the mid-thirties - no chance therefore of laying off my bet on him unless he makes considerable headway tomorrow.

At least my top six bet on Rosberg is looking good as is my generously priced 3/1 bet on a Vettel win.
As for a points finish for Ricciardo - this will require, as expected, at least a couple of retirements ahead of him.

Morris Dancer said...

The Lotus was strangely off the pace. 9th and 11th is well down from what I think most people expected. Hmm. I wonder if this means their race pace will be ropey as well.

Webber might do alright. Knowing their penalty the team may've made his car more suitable for overtaking than Vettel's. However, I do wonder how the Red Bull tyres will go.

I expect Rosberg to go backwards but, as you say, he should still be good for the top 6. The only way (barring DNF) I can see that not happening is a very bad start.

Going to check the markets now. Highlights are from 5.10pm, so if nothing jumps out I might leave it and watch them.

Morris Dancer said...

Hmm. Bad odds on just about everything I was considering. Alonso is 2.6 for the win. Must be the shortest a chap starting third has been for some time. I'm wondering if Vettel at 4.1 might be more interesting.

That said, I do expect Alonso to win and probably Vettel to join him on the podium. No idea who the third one will be.

I think I'll watch the highlights, and see whether inspiration strikes.

Whilst tricky to bet on, the race does look to be set up nicely.

Nigel said...

Some strange stuff going on.
I don't know what happened to the Lotus one lap pace. Curiously, their top speed also plummeted between yesterday and today:

I'm also struggling to explain the big difference in pace between Hamilton and Rosberg. Clearly Rosberg is on it this weekend, and Hamilton isn't, and but there was about 0.7 sec a lap between their respective long run times yesterday, which is huge.

Looking at the long run pace from yesterday, it looks like Ferrari's race to lose. It's possible that Red Bull have found some pace since yesterday, and that Raikkonen might make two stops work, but I'd be surprised if Alonso isn't ahead after the first set of stops (and remains there).
Massa is a bit of a wild card starting on the hard tyres - Ferrari 1:2 ?

Force India look good for a top 6 finish, but which one ?

Nigel said...

One other thing which may or may not be significant - Grosjean has lots of sets of new tyres for the race, having got caught out in Q2 and left without time for a second run.
Starting in 11th, I'm disinclined to waste any more cash on him, though.

Morris Dancer said...

Very good spot on the Lotus. They might have taken a step in the wrong direction on development and/or setup.

I agree on Alonso, but 2.6 is pretty short, especially as he's third.

In China he was very fast immediately, and in Australia he rose from about 5th to 2nd.

Hard to see a good Grosjean bet. As well as being a bit off the pace, top 10 odds will be very short, but top 6 might be pushing it (and those odds tend to be short too). Can't see him getting a podium.

Raikkonen was a full second off of Rosberg, and slower (by a tenth) than Massa, who was on the slower compound (in P2 the Lotus was 1.5s faster on medium compared to hard).

Nigel said...

Looking at the qualifying results, it appears that Raikkonen let himself down.
He was the only one of the top ten (apart from Button who didn't run) not to improve his time between Q2 and Q3.
His Q2 time would have been good enough for 5th in front of Massa.

Morris Dancer said...

He might find it hard going.

I'd almost forgotten, but Bahrain's a dog of a track to overtake on. That should be considered when looking at betting. If Alonso can't pass Vettel/Rosberg off the line he could end up stuck behind them for quite some time.

That said, there was more overtaking than usual last year.

Morris Dancer said...

Although not a fan of short odds, I do think Alonso's the favourite for the win and I can't spot anything else I like.

So, I've backed him at 2.62, hedge set up at 1.25.