Sunday, 3 November 2013

Abu Dhabi: post-race analysis

I listened to this on ye olde radio. I felt more confident about the Hulkenberg bet than the Rosberg one, but ironically the latter came off and the former didn’t. Slightly weirdly, this race is the first this year where my profit has been between £1 and £40 (assuming the standard £10 stake per bet).

Off the line Webber, shockingly, had a bad start. Vettel, amazingly, got into the lead. Who would have suspected this could happen?

Anyway, Webber also got passed by Rosberg, and Hamilton got passed by Grosjean and Hulkenberg, though he soon took the place back from the German. Ricciardo, having qualified well, immediately went backwards.

Interestingly, Massa was ahead of Alonso (the pair were right behind the Hamilton/Hulkenberg tussle) and the Spaniard couldn’t pass him. It seems Fernando was not faster than him.

After the first pit stops Webber was able to get ahead of Rosberg, and the top three remained in their positions throughout the race (effectively). At one point it seemed Grosjean might try to one stop (almost everyone had two stops) and get ahead of Rosberg and/or Webber, but in the end he had a second stop and finished a solid fourth.

Sutil, who did one stop, stayed out for a long time, which held up a number of cars and enabled Grosjean and the other leaders to build a nice gap. Hulkenberg slid down the order after the pit stops and then got a drive-through penalty because of an unsafe release, taking away any hope of points.

Raikkonen’s weekend from Hell continued. Unpaid all year, disqualified and sent to the back of the grid, and he suffered a collision with a Caterham on lap one which immediately put him out.

Massa was ahead of Alonso almost all race, but late on Alonso got the jump through the last pit stop phase. He was investigated (as he had all four wheels over the white lines that denote the track limits) but will not suffer any penalty.

Di Resta, like Sutil, had just the one stop and did very well to get fifth, ahead of Hamilton. After the early part of the Grand Prix Hamilton complained about a total lack of grip (probably due to running in dirty air for a very long time) and later on got told the right side of the car was overheating.

Perez finished up ninth, behind Massa and ahead of Sutil, which is an ok position. McLaren looked a bit racier in practice, though. Button’s race was compromised almost immediately as he suffered damage to his nose on lap one and had to pit right away.

So, the race was fairly entertaining, albeit not at the sharp end. Second in the Constructors’ remains very tight:
Mercedes 334
Ferrari 323
Lotus 297

I think it’s very unlikely Lotus will be able to get second now. Even third would be a stretch. Although they’ve got great race pace and are kind to tyres, their qualifying’s a little off the pace and there are only two races left. With Vettel having decided that all the races belong to him that leave second or third the best others can hope for. Ferrari might overhaul Mercedes, but I suspect the Silver Arrows will hold onto second place.

The Hulkenberg bet was a clear misjudgement on my part. Whilst the unsafe release penalty shunted him well down the order he was outside the top 6 anyway, and that was on pace rather than being due to misfortune. Ferrari surprised me a bit with their race pace, to be honest.

The Rosberg bet came off, which I’m quite pleased about. 4 to finish where you start is a bit long, and for most of the race it seemed the likeliest result.

The bets I didn’t take (Webber to win and Mercedes to top score) didn’t come off. Webber was 3.35 to win, but finished over 30 seconds behind Vettel. If Vettel had suffered an alternator failure and been forced to retire, then both of those untaken bets would’ve come off.

The good news is that the two remaining races are at very good circuits (well, we’ve only been to Austin once but that first race was thoroughly entertaining). And then we’ve got the massive regulation changes for 2014. The last time we had such a big change a chap called Button won the title, despite being 70/1 to do so.

After the race it emerged that the Lotus/Quantum deal may finally have been concluded:

If this proves to be the case then it could be good news for Hulkenberg. It will increase his chances of going to Lotus next year, but there have been many rumours that Maldonado had already signed an agreement with the team, so we’ll have to wait and see.

The other potential change is Massa to Williams, replacing Maldonado, and Sir Frank has been suggesting Brawn might like to rejoin the team he worked for several decades ago.

Morris Dancer


  1. I lost about £4 on my 3 lay bets which ain't bad considering Vettel and Webber duly performed as expected.
    Any disappointment was compensated by the fact that I correctly called both of Morris' bets.

  2. It was another processional for Vettel, and as if that wasn't enough, there was a 1 hour discussion with Vettel, Christian Horner and Mario Andretti aired right before the race. A surfeit of Sebastian, I'm afraid.

    I really can't get excited about whether Mercedes or Ferrari come second or third in the constructors. If it was Marussia or one of the other 'have not' teams, I might have been a tad more intrigued.

    After Vettel shot away at the start, I just sighed and turned it off.

    It's hardly Vettel's fault that he is so good and has the best wheels, but it's just utterly uninteresting to watch him zoom away even though he's already won the championship.

    I should have bought your book instead :-)

    Yup, it's Tim B

  3. Tim - you're right, much more of this and F1 will die a death. Of course it's wrong to blame Vettel for his and his car's masive superiority, which is only accentuated by the fact that his closest competitors appear to be going backwards rather than catching him up - metaphorically speaking that is.
    Even so, the public would be rather more accepting of his monotonous winning ways if there was rather less of the childish yelping at the end of every race.

  4. Mr. B, you can still buy it, you know!

    [And, if you backed my tips, you'd probably still be green this weekend].

    Whilst it was tedious at the sharp end there was, I felt, a pretty interesting midfield battle. At the same time, I'm also looking forward to the major regulation changes and hope they bring a new winner for each title.

  5. Mr Dancer,

    You may like this piece of gossip.

    Raikkonen's reported £50,000 a point is much, much more than that, almost certainly more than £100,000!

    Last time I checked he was on 183.

  6. I'm trying to remember what the figures I'd heard were... something like £6-7m in salary and £12m or so for points (I think).

    Hmm. Vettel gets $1m for every win, whereas Raikkonen would get (using £100k) £2.5m! That's around $3.7m.

    On the other hand, Vettel does actually get paid on time.

    Nice to see you here, Mr. Bob.