Friday, 11 October 2013

Japan: pre-qualifying

News was breaking as I began writing this piece that Maria de Villota, the former Marussia reserve driver who lost an eye during testing a year or two ago, has been found dead in her hotel room. At the time of writing it appears to be a natural death, but this has not been confirmed. She was 33.

The tyres for the weekend are medium and hard. In Gary Anderson’s piece about Suzuka, available here:, he writes that the medium may become overworked, as happened in Korea (most notably with Perez). Flat spotting a tyre shouldn’t cause it to come to pieces.

With that in mind, pace on the hard tyre may be critical. I doubt I’ll watch P2 live (starts at 5.55am) but I might see if it goes up on the iPlayer to try and compare times on the hard tyre. Worth bearing in mind that fuel load has a very significant effect and although the teams are likely to have high fuel runs they won’t have identical fuel loads.

P1 saw only the hard tyre being used. Hamilton was fastest, three-tenths up on Rosberg, who was three-tenths up on Vettel, with Webber very close behind. Another three-tenths down the road was Massa, a shade ahead of Alonso, followed by Grosjean, Raikkonen, Perez and Ricciardo.

In P2 the medium tyre was used (as well as the hard). Vettel and Webber led the way, followed by Rosberg, Raikkonen and Grosjean. Hamilton, Ricciardo, Massa, Buttton and Alonso (hard tyre time, the rest being medium) rounded out the top 10.

I had a quick look at the betting markets for qualifying, but nothing struck me. I expect Vettel to get pole and the top 3 to be a Mercedes/Red Bull mix.

I have, however, backed (with a pound or two) Mr. Putney’s suggestion in the comments of the early discussion thread to back Grosjean for the win. Happily, his odds had increased to a perplexing 55.

Qualifying is at 6am and will be on the BBC live. I’ll endeavour to wake up in time to watch it.

Morris Dancer


  1. Betfair certainly appears to have some zany odds on anyone other than Vettel winning on Sunday.
    I actually asked for and obtained 65 for Grosjean, 19 for Aloso and 23 for Raikkonen. I can't remember anything like it - it seems the market is absolutely convinced that Vettel is destined to be the winner.
    We shall see.

  2. Post qualification and perhaps it's not going to be quite the Vettel procession everyone had been assuming.

  3. Mr. Putney, I actually managed to wake up in time to watch the whole thing.

    If Webber starts badly it could still turn into a procession. That said, the grid is better than might've been expected.

  4. I've noticed that on Betfair, Vettel's odds on winning have lengthened from 1.49 pre-practice to 1.72 currently.
    Expressed in terms of probability, this means he is reckoned to have a 58% chance of winning (previously a 67% chance) and a 42% chance of not doing so (previously a 33% chance).
    Meanwhile, Grosjean's odds of winning have shortened to a more sensible 29 with Betfair, equivalent to a 3.4% probability, approximately half the odds on offer pre-practice, so a nice laying opportunity for anyone who backed him then.

  5. I knew there was something I forgot to write in the pre-race piece (now up).

    Good call on betting against Vettel. Might not come off, of course, but if he has a bad start it could look very clever at the end of lap 1.