Saturday, 5 October 2013

Korea: pre-race

Argh. I forgot that Webber’s got a 10 place grid penalty when I backed him at 6.5 for a podium spot. Oh well. From 13th he could yet achieve it. And, as I didn’t mention it before, the tyres for the race and supersoft and medium.

Briefly looking ahead to next year, it sounds like weight/height will be critical, so I may well compare those for the drivers (if I can find the data) ahead of next season.

Brilliantly, I managed to sleep in and missed the first half of qualifying, only to discover Radio 5 didn’t carry the coverage (despite me degunkifying the battery slot of my ancient Walkman, thanks to Mr. HD2 for that tip, specifically to listen to it). Once on Radio5Live it turned out I’d missed Legard’s grating voice (he stills talks over men far more insightful than himself, incidentally), so it wasn’t all bad.

In Q1 the pointless teams continued their long habit of predictably leaving the stage, and this time were joined by both Williams drivers.

Q2 was also a three team affair, with both Toro Rossos, Force Indias and, surprisingly, McLarens exiting. Bit surprised that McLaren appear to have taken a step backwards, and that both Saubers managed to get into the top 10. It’ll be interesting to see if the Swiss team can maintain its pace in the race.

Tedious finger-waver Vettel once again got pole, two-tenths up on Hamilton. I do respect Vettel’s excellent driving skills but it does make things (coupled with his excellent car) rather predictable. Webber qualified third but will start 13th, as mentioned above. So, Grosjean and Rosberg make up the second row, and are followed by Alonso and Massa, Hulkenberg and Gutierrez and then Raikkonen (not sure why the Finn was so slow, a full 1.3s off his team mate’s pace). Perez qualified 11th but will start alongside Raikkonen 10th on the grid.

A few Korean things to watch out for: nobody’s won from pole. I’m hoping this holds true but, alas, do not believe it. Secondly, it’s a great circuit for overtaking on the first lap as the starting section is just a collection of long straights. So, Webber (unless he leaves the handbrake on again…) could make up several places easily. Last but not least, there may well be a nearby tropical storm (qualifying was dry, incidentally).

However, the forecast I just checked showed that it’s very unlikely for any rain to arrive. Which is something of a shame, but there we are.

Bets were a bit tricky. Was tempted by both Rosberg and Grosjean for a podium at 2.6 or so, but that’s too short, I feel. Interestingly, Alonso has criticised the Pirelli tyres (too soft to push) and downplayed his prospects in the race:

I also looked at Ferrari to top score (partly based on the negative comments of Alonso I’ve discounted that) and Hulkenberg to be top 6 (he’s a good driver but on race pace I think Raikkonen, Webber and maybe the McLarens will have the edge).

In the end I went for Mercedes to top score at 3.5 with Ladbrokes. It seems a very close fight between them and Red Bull. If a Mercedes finishes first I think they’re nigh on certain to top score. If Vettel is first then they could still win, contingent upon Webber’s finishing position (and whether or not he suffers a trademark reliability failure).

So, I think the teams are more or less evenly matched, but one starts 1st and 13th, and the other 2nd and 4th.

Anyway, let’s hope Hamilton wins, Rosberg is second and Webber third.

Morris Dancer


  1. Post qualifying, my third and final bet for the Korean GP is a small 7/1 punt on Grosjean winning "without Vettel". Starting third on the grid, he should have some sort of chance and most bookies price him at 5/1 for this bet, so Hills' odds which are 40% better look distinctly generous.

    Now where's that alarm clock?

  2. That's entirely possible. Grosjean was good last time round, I think. Not sure the Lotus will be on the pace with the Red Bulls and Mercedes, though.

    Race start is 7am, I think. I do plan on waking at that time (although history indicates this means I'll have a terrible night's sleep and then wake at 7.30am). However, if Legard is inflicting commentary upon us then I shall turn the radio off and wait for the highlights.

  3. I will be in the office at 7am your time so will have it on the big screen whilst I pretend to work. Then the horses later on. It's going to be a busy betting day.

  4. Grosjean top6 (tick)
    Safety Car (tick)
    Vettel win (tick)
    Lap 1 retirements 0 (tick)
    *cough* Hulkenberg top6 (tick) *cough*

    Webber podium was a good bet as he was making excellent progress before Sutil took him out.
    Alonso P6 was realistic. I was greedy going for podium

    All in all, only punted a few pounds on each of them and am up a pint or two. Now to settle down and wait for the horses.

  5. I've seen the result, but haven't seen any coverage so I'll wait until the highlights before writing the post-race piece.

    Really surprised by Hulkenberg managing the result he did. That won't harm his seat prospects for next year one bit.

    I wonder what odds Lotus were to top score. Ferrari were 11, and Lotus were longer than that.

    So, a red bet. Have to wait and see if that was misjudgement or misfortune, but given where both finished I'd guess it was a misjudgement.

    Congrats, Mr. M.