Sunday, 30 June 2013

Great Britain: post-race analysis

Well, that was a dramatic race. Even better, it was profitable. When Hamilton’s tyre exploded it looked set to be yet another Vettel victory, but then the German’s car lost drive, gifting Rosberg the lead. He did well to retain it at the end against a strong attack from Webber. It’s also nice to benefit from some good luck when it comes to bets.

The start saw Vettel instantly pass Rosberg into second (maybe because the odd-numbered side of the track is a significant advantage). Webber meanwhile had a terrible start, even by his standards, and Massa gained a huge number of places.

To make matters worse, Grosjean nudged Webber off the track and damaged his front wing (replaced at the first round of pit stops).

A big question was whether or not Mercedes would be able to maintain decent race pace, as this has proved their weakness so far this season. Hamilton seemed to have no real issues keeping Vettel behind him, until the Briton’s tyre burst apart. It did so at the worst possible place on the circuit, and although Hamilton nursed his car back to the pit to get some fresh rubber he lost a huge amount of time.

Shortly thereafter Massa suffered an almost identical incident, and then Vergne likewise (the damage from the shredded rubber flaying the Toro Rosso’s floor eventually meant his car had to be retired). Late on Perez suffered similarly.

It’s hard to say whether the problem is something specific to Silverstone (sharp kerbs) or whether the new Pirelli tyre compounds are simply not good enough.

Vettel, from nowhere, lost drive and had to cruise to a stop, giving Rosberg the lead. Rosberg had enough time to pit and retain top spot as the safety car emerged, a tactic also employed by Alonso (Webber also had fresh tyres but I forget if he pitted prior to or just after the safety car). Raikkonen stayed out, queried this on the radio but by then it was too late.

On fresh tyres Webber and Alonso carved their way through the field and Raikkonen ended up down in fifth, after being passed by Hamilton. Rosberg was hanging on for dear life at the end, but hang on he did and victory was his. It was a very dramatic race, an exciting finish and great recovery drives from Webber and Hamilton.

Massa also recovered well from his tyre blowing out to get sixth, and Sutil and Di Resta getting seventh and ninth was a great result for Force India. Ricciardo’s eighth will help his career prospects and Hulkenberg did very well to get the final point in tenth.

Vettel’s non-finish coupled with Alonso being third and Raikkonen fifth means they take a fairly sizeable chunk out of his lead, but it’s still quite large, and the Red Bull is still better than the other cars (barring Mercedes) at qualifying.

Vettel 132
Alonso 111
Raikkonen 98

Only Alonso is within even a win (25 points) of taking the lead from Vettel.

Interestingly, Mercedes have now risen to second in the Constructors’:

Red Bull 219
Mercedes 171
Ferrari 168
Lotus 124

Over the last few races Ferrari and Lotus seem to have slightly dropped off the pace (they were aided by the safety cars bunching up the field today), whereas Red Bull have stayed fast and Mercedes appear to be getting on top of their tyre issues (although today temperatures were fairly low [relative to other circuits] and the compounds were the hardest combination).

After the race Gary Anderson went to turn 4 on the circuit and stated that the kerbs were unsafe because the concrete was in such a position as to make it prone to cutting the tyres open. If that’s true, it should mean the problem could be easy to solve and prevent it occurring much elsewhere.

It’s also worth noting that the next race, in Germany, takes place next weekend.

Morris Dancer


  1. Easily the best well at least the most exciting Grand Prix of the season so far even if I'm somewhat biased.

    Also it was brilliant from a betting perspective with 2 wins out of 2 and better news still with Romain Grosjean winning nul points following his late retirement.
    26 points so far from 8 races extrapolates to his achieving only 62 points for the season, compared with my SELL bet, prior to today's race, on him winning <103 points.
    I'm expecting Sporting to reduce drastically their points spread after today's failure - should they have him on offer to sell at or above 95 I'll be topping up on my bet that's for sure!

  2. I have mixed feelings. It was tremendously exciting, but the tyre issue could've caused a serious injury.

    Your Grosjean spread bet's looking rather tasty, Mr. Putney. In addition, the increased race competitiveness of Mercedes combined with the strength of Red Bull and the fairly good Ferrari pace (and Force India too) will mean he probably won't have many easy points opportunities.

    Strange but true: Vettel has never won his home race. I think it's Hockenheim he really struggles at (even in 2011 he couldn't get on the podium), but he may find the Nurburgring a bit tricky too. They were joking about Rosberg winning another home Grand Prix, but it's not beyond the realms of possibility.

  3. An exciting race, but the sort I hate. Tyre failure puts a random factor into the race that is distinctly unsporting. It turns what should be a test of drivers and machinery into a game of Russian Roulette.

    I also believe the relevant kerbs have not changed for a few years, and neither have the drivers' lines. If this is the case then it must be the tyres.

    However I have a great deal of sympathy for Pirelli. Their hands are tied; they have better tyres but a couple of the teams do not want them, and all teams have to agree to a change. Perhaps that will change now.

    And now for why I've probably been wrong about Pirelli leaving at the end of the year in disgust:

    The FIA have really mucked this up.

  4. I'm going to have to try and see about sorting the clock...

    That's interesting. Anderson made a strong argument for it being the kerbs, but we haven't seen such incidents at recent British Grands Prix.

    The FIA seem rather rubbish.

    Hmm. I hope the Nurburgring isn't similarly afflicted, but it may be worth considering when betting.

  5. Anderson may be right - the kerbs caused the problems, but the fact the problems have not occurred in previous years (*if* it is true that the kerbs have not changed) puts the emphasis back on the tyres. They should have been able to cope.

    The problem with the FIA is that they are a bunch of old mates, an in-crew, trying to run a business masquerading as a sport.

    It has to be either a sport, in which case much of the top personnel have to go, or a business, in which case it needs to be run on proper business lines, and the top personnel have to go.

    Installing Jean Todt as president of the FIA was a retrograde step. He is a very capable person, but the FIA needs people from outside motorsport to take the reins, people who can sort out the mess without any historical baggage.

    Good starts would be clarifying the rules (i.e. tearing up the rulebook and reimplementing), along with the Concorde Agreement being made public and open.

  6. A welcome to Mr Cotton, I hope we haven't lost Nigel on transferring to this new blog - he was invariably very cute as regards the betting markets.

    Morris - I agree with you in terms of the very tough competition faced by Grosjean. In addition to the three leading teams to which you refer, he also has to contend with his own superior team mate as well as with the likes of di Resta, Ricciardo and even the McLareen duo.

    It's difficult to see him averaging better than 4 points (i.e. 8th place finish) per Grand Prix. This would result in him accumulating 11x4+26 = 70 points for the season, leaving me with a very handsome profit.

    Of course there's always a remote possibility that he could achieve the odd 5th place or better (i.e.10 points +), but even then I should then finish well ahead on my spread bet.

    Unless I've missed something here, Sporting have been uncommonly generous.

  7. Aha - I see Sporting have finally woken up. Their spread on Grosjean's Season's points after today's Grand Prix is 87 to sell and 93 to buy .... a whopping great SIXTEEN points lower than a couple of days ago when I placed my sell bet at 103 points.

    I'm tempted to close out at 93 to realise a tasty £50 profit at £5 per point, but I think I'll hold on for now as I feel sure there's still some more value in this bet.

  8. That's true, Mr. Cotton. It'll be interesting to see what they do for Germany.

    There are several options:
    Limit cars to the track (sounds silly, but means no more kerb-driving)
    Modify the kerbs
    Use the updated Pirellis that were vetoed by the teams because they suspected the new compounds would help Red Bull
    Use Pirellis from 2012 (as they're harder this would also help Red Bull/Mercedes)
    Use the same tyres as Silverstone

    Mr. Putney, not a spread-bettor but I agree with your assessment. On both a car and driver basis I think Grosjean's not going to make up the difference needed to put you into the red.

    I hope we see Mr. Nigel again.

  9. Morris - in the probably vain hope that the Polish spammers have now left PB2 - they don't appear to have been around since the conclusion of the Canadian GP posts - please would you duplicate your German Grand Prix threads on there also so that Nigel or anyone else for that matter might rejoin the debate.

  10. Mr. Putney, it's my understanding that any comments require moderator approval to pass after a piece on pb2 is several days old, hence the absence of new comments/spam.

    I do post links to my F1 stuff on both the main site and my Twitter feed. I think that Mr. Nigel ceased posting replies due to the excessive spam on pb2 prior to this blog's creation rather than through being unaware of the new blog. I'm a bit reluctant to double-post articles as we could well end up with two disjointed comments threads rather than one coherent discussion.

  11. OK, I take your point as regards disjointed comments, it was just an idea.
    Mentioning this blog on the main PB site should tempt interested would-be posters to at least take a look.

  12. A fair one, Mr. Putney. I would like to see Mr. Nigel return. Given the next race is the last of the first half of the season I might put up my mid-season review both here and on pb2, adding a little signpost to this blog.

    I'll put up the early discussion thread for Germany tomorrow.