In the soggy first session we lost Di Resta, Pic, Gutierrez, Chilton, Bianchi and Massa. That’s tremendously disappointing for Di Resta, and for Massa (who never got to put in a lap). However, Van Der Garde will be delighted to escape Q1 for the first time (I think).
More rain started falling before and during Q2. With a few minutes to go the rain eased, Van Der Garde switched to supersofts and was then followed by everyone else. Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Bottas, Van Der Garde and Maldonado left qualifying at this stage. Pretty disappointing for Grosjean.
Q3 began on supersofts, but rain started to fall halfway through. I thought Vettel, who led after the dry first half, was guaranteed pole. Happily, Rosberg nabbed it at the end, just a tiny bit ahead of Hamilton. Vettel and Webber share the second row, with Raikkonen and Alonso behind. Perez and Sutil follow, with Button and Vergne rounding out the top 10.
So, the tip came off, which I was very surprised at given the weather conditions. I’m also pretty pleased that I backed (small stakes and not tipped) the Mercedes’ drivers at 8 each to win.
Happily the weather forecast for tomorrow is entirely dry, so let’s hope the elements don’t intervene as they did in qualifying. A few ideas for bets did present themselves, but the odds were surprisingly poor. I happen to think the Silver Arrows will do rather better than in recent races and would be slightly surprised if they don’t end up with at least one chap on the podium.
Finding the race very hard to bet on. I suspect that from the line the top 3 will remain more or less as they are. Webber could well lose a place or two (he starts poorly and Alonso tends to start well).
Given a dry race that means we’ll be in for a procession. One or more safety cars is likely, and the timing could provide cover for pit stops. If there isn’t one until later on then it’s possible a single-stop for Raikkonen could deliver him victory. I was very tempted by this, safety car timing, traffic and Lotus potentially being a little off the pace put me off.
I suspect it’ll be a procession (good for the Silver Arrows), but finding a bet with remotely decent odds is rather difficult.
In the end I backed Raikkonen for a podium at 2.86, hedged at 1.4. I suspect the potential for an extra pit stop could play into his hands, and there’s the opportunity for him to pass Webber off the line. He’s also highly consistent, which rather helps when the boundary of the track is steel.
Well, that took a while to come up with. I hope the hedge gets matched now.