Sunday, 28 July 2013

Hungary: post-race analysis

The race bet came off, although that may be due to luck, but if luck helps me out I won’t complain. Overall the weekend was very slightly red.

I’m writing this after listening to it on the radio, and plan on giving the highlights on TV a look later.

At the start it was largely formation flying at the sharp end. Further down the grid Webber had a good start, leaping to seventh (he started 10th) and Di Resta also made up some places.

The closest thing to a major incident at the start was Massa and Rosberg having contact, which slightly damaged Rosberg’s car and put him down quite a few places (helpfully). Late on Rosberg’s engine died on him, which was probably due to overheating from running in dirty air for the entire race.

Most of the frontrunners went for a three stop strategy, starting on softs. Raikkonen, although starting soft, went for a two stop, as did Webber and Button, both of whom started on the medium tyre.

Hamilton’s tyre wear seemed the same as everybody else’s, and after the first pit stops Vettel and Grosjean (in competitive terms second and third) were stuck behind Button (at that stage on slightly old medium tyres) whereas Hamilton was ahead. This enabled Hamilton to easily, gradually build up a nice gap of circa 10-12s on his main rivals.

Vettel passed Button eventually, but when Grosjean did the same thing there was contact, Grosjean was forced to cut the chicane and Button pitted shortly thereafter. For this, the Frenchman got a drive-through penalty, but the radio commentary team reckoned that it was harsh, and that Grosjean was ahead at the time of contact.

This effectively ended Grosjean’s hopes of a win, or even a podium.

At the sharp end Webber’s strategy and good start was looking to possibly put him in contention for a podium place, but Hamilton, after Vettel got stuck behind Button (albeit more briefly) after the second pit stop, was looking very good for the win. The Briton came out behind Webber after the Briton’s final stop, but managed to multi-21 past Webber with relative ease.

After the final stops Hamilton had a comfortable lead and, barring reliability problems, seemed destined to cruise to triumph (his fourth at the Hungaroring, a circuit where pole-sitters tend to lose. I believe he was circa 8-9 to win, or something like that). Raikkonen was second on old tyres and Vettel third on much fresher ones. The Finn and German tussled over second, but Vettel could not pass him.

Rosberg, with a few laps to go, retired. A shame for him but this did enable Maldonado to rise to 10th, and gain Williams their first point of the season.

Alonso finished fifth, with a lacklustre performance. Ferrari said pre-qualifying that they were compromising race pace for qualifying, and it showed (but didn’t get them a great qualifying position). They seem to be going backwards when Red Bull are resilient, Lotus are resurgent and Mercedes are fast.

Grosjean ended up sixth, which he must be disappointed with. That said, he’s been fast this weekend and it bodes well for his prospects. Button was seventh and Perez ninth, and McLaren also appear to have taken a step forward. They aren’t going to trouble the frontrunners, but regularly racking up points will help them. (Massa was eighth).

Here are the Drivers’ standings:
Vettel 172
Raikkonen 134
Alonso 133
Hamilton 124

Right now I see Alonso going down and Raikkonen/Hamilton potentially making up ground on Vettel. Mercedes are a bit up and down on race pace, but Ferrari now seems to have lost its edge in the races without gaining anything in qualifying. 38 points with 9 races left is a good but not insurmountable margin (I think Alonso had a similar margin over Vettel last year).

The Constructors’ are as follows:
Red Bull 277
Mercedes 208
Ferrari 194
Lotus 183

I think Red Bull are highly likely to get this. Their car is reliable, and their drivers likewise. Massa isn’t quite quick enough, Grosjean’s a bit up and down, and the Mercedes seems to be slightly unpredictable in terms of both reliability and race pace.

The next race is 4 weeks away, which is a shame. On the plus side, it’s the excellent Spa circuit in Belgium.

Morris Dancer


  1. I forgot something.

    Both Force Indias ended up retiring. I think they did the same in Malaysia, so when it's very hot the team seems to suffer significantly. They've also been much slower than earlier in the season, as per, Germany, suggesting they've been hit hard by the tyre changes.

  2. Well done to Hamilton and Mercedes. And well done to Williams on their first point of the season.

    It sounded like an interesting race. Do you have any idea what the official track and air temperatures were - did the air temperature approach the 50 degrees predicted earlier in the week?

    There were five retirements, at least two of which were engines. I might do a little analysis of the failures to see if there was/is a strong correlation between temperature and mechanical failures that might effect betting patterns.

    If you are going to suffer racing withdrawal symptoms, the next BTCC races are next Sunday - shown live on ITV4.

  3. I believe 40C was an early forecast, but on the day it was 34C, with a track temperature of 50C (at the start).

    Never watched BTCC. Given the four week break I should probably try to get a bit of work done, though I might give the old touring cars a look.

  4. A pretty lousy race day result for me, but at least my SELL bet on Grosjean Points remained intact. It looked for a while as though he had a reasonable chance of winning but fortunately for me he still lacks a degree of experience and pure guile to transform pure pace into podium results.

    Good on Lewis though - from hereon he has to be regarded as a top contender at every Grand Prix, rather like Rosberg was until recently!

    Oh well, a full four weeks to wait until the next race ....snooze!

  5. Bad luck, Mr. Putney.

    I think Grosjean was perhaps a shade unlucky. The Massa overtake was great, and it was a technical rather than substantive issue to cross the line (literally) at the point he did. A driver with another name and reputation may not have had the penalty.

    Rosberg's had bad luck with DNFs, 3 to Hamilton's 0. It's been great to see the two Mercedes drivers so closely matched.

    1. Well done on your race bet.

      I note that Vettel left the track completely on lap 19, twice, while defending against Raikkonen.
      There is nothing in the rules making a distinction between overtaking and defending when it comes to staying in bounds, so I think Grosjean was more than a shade unlucky on the Massa overtake.

      Been a bit too busy to post any tips, but I'll try to get back in the game after the break.

    2. Cheers. Poor odds, but winning's winning and if I'd stuck with that philosophy I would've been green in qualifying too.

      I missed Vettel parting ways with the circuit. Hmm.

      Coming back in time for Spa is good timing.

    3. "Rosberg's had bad luck with DNFs, 3 to Hamilton's 0."

      Silverstone ?

    4. Whilst it's true Hamilton's tyre exploded and Rosberg was fortuitous to inherit the win, Hamilton did recover to an impressive 4th.