Well, that’ll teach me to be greedy. Grosjean was indeed top 3, but not pole. His pace was good but not quite good enough for the hedge to get matched.
In Q1 it was business as usual, with Gutierrez joining the pointless teams. However, Di Resta had a shocker and finished a measly 18th. No traffic issues, the car simply was not fast enough.
Q2 was more competitive, as might be expected. Both Williams, Vergne, Button, Hulkenberg and Sutil left at this stage.
Q3 was more interesting than has been the case of late because there were three cars with a chance of pole: Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus. Mercedes had seemed off the pace, but a last gasp lap from Hamilton put him on pole, snatching it away from Vettel, who was second. However, it’s worth noting that pole-sitters tend not to win at the Hungaroring, which is a bit weird given how hard it is to overtake. Grosjean and Rosberg share the second row, with Alonso and Raikkonen, Vettel’s title rivals, behind them. Massa and Ricciardo are next, with Perez and Webber ninth and 10th. Perez trundled about on the medium tyre and Webber, after a KERS failure in Q2, suffered some other problem in Q3 and was unable to put in a fast lap.
So, how will the race pan out? I expect Hamilton’s tyres to suffer greatly. Ferrari also had issues on the soft tyre and may suffer poor pace early on. I expect the Red Bulls and Lotuses (Loti?) to be solid throughout. If I were Vettel I’d be more worried about Grosjean and Raikkonen than anyone else.
The bet on Grosjean was wrong, and my own fault for getting a bit carried away with the commentary. My earlier instinct was to back Vettel (he didn’t win but would’ve been hedgeable), but I did think Grosjean stood a good chance. Ah well.
I was tempted to back Lotus to top score, but I’m not sure I can see anyone beating Vettel (and if he wins Webber only needs 8 points [6th] to equal the best result Lotus could have, if they were 2nd and 3rd). That said, Grosjean starts on the clean side of the track, and whilst Raikkonen doesn’t I do expect him to be faster than Alonso (given Ferrari may have compromised race pace for qualifying). However, if you believe that to be a realistic chance then you’re far better backing Grosjean for the win than Lotus to top score (just 3.5 with Ladbrokes), as Grosjean’s about 8.4 or so.
The other bet that tempted me was laying Hamilton to finish on the podium, but the odds of about 3 were too long. So, I went for another bet I was considering, and think pretty likely, laying Rosberg to be top 6 at 2.3 Not great odds (even if it comes off the weekend will be red), but I suspect the Mercedes is going to devour its tyres again. In addition, he has Raikkonen and Alonso right behind him, and Webber further back who may be able to challenge with a cunning strategy. It’s forecast to be hot, and the Mercedes hates the heat more than any other car.