Saturday, 11 May 2013

Spain: pre-race

Well, that was immensely surprising and interesting from a spectator’s perspective and immensely disappointing from a betting one. I was more confident than usual of Vergne getting through. He matched Di Resta’s pace in two sectors but failed in the third and got nudged out. The Massa tip was just a big misjudgement on my part, but the hedge got partially met, to the extent that that bet ended up being green.

Without hedging it’s s straightforward two stake loss, and with it was a small loss (for stakes of £10 the loss was £1.46). That’s not abysmal, but at the same time I’d rather have a better result than avoiding calamity.

Kudos to Mr. Nigel, whose 11/1 spot on Rosberg in the early discussion commentary proved rather inspired.

Q1 was largely predictable, although both Williams got knocked out for the first time this year.

Q2 was very tight. Button had a pretty atrocious performance to finish 14th, ahead of the Saubers, Sutil was a bit below par in 13th for Force India and the two Toro Rossos finished 10th and 11th. Interestingly Perez managed to break into the top 10, and outqualified his team mate for the first time.

Q3 was a bit of a shock. Mercedes locked out the front row, and the commentators pointed out that the last team to do this was the Mercedes forerunner Brawn. However, I wonder whether they’ll be able to make it in the race. Contrary to what I’d heard in P2 in P3 Gary Anderson was saying the fastest chaps on the long runs were Raikkonen, Alonso and Rosberg (although the latter lacked a bit of consistency). I was also a bit surprised Vettel managed 3rd, after which came Raikkonen, Alonso, Massa, Grosjean, Webber, Perez and Di Resta.

I suspect the Ferraris and Lotus will move forward during the race. It’ll be interesting to see how well Mercedes can hold on. Indeed, that’ll be the key to the result and also critical for betting.

So, let’s take a scientific(ish) approach. The hard compound is new, so we don’t have a perfect comparison, but two other races have used the medium-hard arrangement: Malaysia, and Bahrain.

In Malaysia, Hamilton qualified 4th and finished 3rd, Rosberg qualified 6th and finished 4th.

In Bahrain, Hamilton qualified 9th and finished 5th, and Rosberg qualified 1st and finished 9th.

Here are the other two races:

In China, Hamilton qualified 1st and finished 3rd, and Rosberg qualified 4th and failed to finish due to reliability issues.

In Australia Hamilton qualified 3rd and finished 5th, and Rosberg qualified 6th but failed to finish due to reliability issues.

Hamilton has gained 1 place, gained 4, lost 2 and lost 2 again, meaning that from 4 starts and finishes he’s gained a net 1 place.

Rosberg has only finished twice (not his fault the other times), and in those he gained 2 places and lost 8, meaning a net loss of 6.

Overall, in six finishes, Mercedes has lost 5 places. Both times the team has had pole previously the pole-sitter went backwards in the race. Every time one of them has qualified 3rd or above they’ve gone backwards in the race [in fairness, you can’t exactly go forwards if you’re 1st].

However, in Barcelona all but once in the last 20 odd years has the winner come from the front row. So, we’re going to see something interesting. Either Mercedes will finally manage to sort out their tyre issues, or we’ll get a winner from further back.

Last year Schumacher still had gremlins and Rosberg lost a single place, but in 2011 they did a little better (Schumacher rose from 10th to 6th and Rosberg stayed in 7th). So, perhaps the Mercedes will have better pace than is widely expected. Hmm.

Andrew Benson (BBC F1 chap) had some handy tweets about their race pace:
“Re Merc race pace. P2. ALO med tyre race sim avg 1:29.906; ROS 1:31.85. Fastest lap during it: ALO 1:29.073; ROS 1:30.880. Fuel, yes, but...”

Despite being probably the best qualifiers (certainly around the top) Mercedes have not only had zero wins so far, but fewer podiums than Red Bull, Lotus and Ferrari.

Based on that, their tyre wear issues, the long run to the start (high potential for getting passed off the line), and his strong race pace I’m going to back Raikkonen for the win at 4.8, with a hedge at 2.2. He’s also improved at every race from grid to flag, except China where he started and finished 2nd. If the Mercedes eat their tyres he should have the race pace to beat Vettel, with luck.

Anyway, let’s hope the race is nice and green.

Morris Dancer


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Peter said...

"Rosberg poss. worth a look for pole north of 11/1 ?"

Terrific tip Nigel, easily the best of the season so far. Evens, 2/1, etc winners are one thing, 11/1 shots are quite another.

Take a bow Sir!

Nigel said...

Thanks for that.
I had a gut feeling that the Mercedes pace hadn't disappeared - just that they had more important things than one lap speed to work on in practice.

Having taken that bow, I must admit that I have no clear idea of how this race will pan out (and I'm not sure the teams have, either).
There were hints in third practice that Mercedes had improved their long run pace, but of course different conditions from Friday; fuel loads; etc....

Rosberg for a podium, or even an outside chance of the win ??
(Or struggling to finish top 6...)

I'm tempted to lay one of the top three (Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen) for a podium, but I can't decide which one...possibly Vettel.
Equally I'm considering sitting on my winnings and enjoying the race.

Morris Dancer said...

An early bet I'll consider is for Monaco, and both Mercedes to finish on the podium.

Apparently the third sector of Spain is very good for predicting Monaco pace, and the Mercedes really excel at it. So, they could be 1-2 for Monaco, and overtaking there's very hard (obviously).

Peter said...

Spurred on by Nigel's tip for Rosberg to win pole, I slightly chickened out, backing him to qualify in the top three, which paid 9/4. Nothing like 11/1, but better than a poke in the eye with the proverbial.

For my final bet, I'm staying with my season long spread bet on Ricciardo's points tally, which requires him to average one point per GP.
Having qualified in 11th yesterday, I'm hoping he'll squeeze into the points where for which he's on offer at 2.1.
Like Nigel, I'm struggling to find the winner, but Lewis Hamilton looks good value with Betfair at 9.0 = 7.6/1 in real money.

Peter said...

"I'm tempted to lay one of the top three for a podium, but I can't decide which one...possibly Vettel."

Another good call by Nigel.

Presumably Morris' hedge on a Raikkonen was matched to produce a winning bet for him.

Ricciardo just squeaked into the points to reward my final bet of the day.

Morris Dancer said...

I'm afraid it wasn't. I had hoped it might be, but, alas, no.

Writing the post-race thingummyjig now.