Saturday, 16 November 2013

America: pre-qualifying

The tyres for this weekend are medium and hard.

P1 saw another red flag due to fog/the medical helicopter not being there. That’s the second time such issues have affected practice, after the smog of India. The session was curtailed because of this, and Button ignoring the red flag has earnt him a 3 place grid penalty.

In P1 Alonso was fastest, followed by Button, Bottas, Gutierrez, Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Webber, Hulkenberg and Maldonado. I’d give that list zero credence when it comes to betting, frankly.

P2 was business as usual, both in terms of no delays and of Vettel being fastest. Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton were next, with Kovalainen, Gutierrez, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Button and Alonso rounding out the top 10.

I’m not going to read huge amounts into P2, but it’s nevertheless interesting that Kovalainen and Gutierrez were faster than their team mates. I may keep an eye on the odds for either the Finn or the Mexican to make Q3.

Because the qualifying will end at 7pm and the race markets may take a while to get going the pre-race piece may be up this evening, or tomorrow. The race starts at 7pm.

Just before P3 the commentary team of BBC radio were saying that the session might not be hugely helpful, as there’s apparently a huge temperature difference between the time of P3 and that of qualifying/the race. In P3 Bottas was very fast on the hard tyre, and on his medium tyre fast lap he flat-spotted it, which meant his ‘fast’ time wasn’t representative of his pace. Hulkenberg was very fast on the medium tyres.

In P3 Vettel was fastest, then Webber and Hamilton. Hulkenberg (who seems unlikely to get the Lotus seat and may not have any next year) was next, then came Grosjean, Button, Rosberg, Perez, Bottas and Sutil.

Weather forecasts for qualifying suggest a very low chance of rain.

I’m loathe to bet on very short odds because anything can happen in Formula 1 (and as a man once said, it usually does). I was tempted to back Bottas to be top 10, but the limited liquidity (a few pounds at 3 and then at 2) mean I can’t tip it.

Hamilton to be top 3 (qualifying) at 1.8 was briefly tempting, but considering the Red Bulls likely have places sewn up and Hamilton’s been a shade off the pace compared to his team mate, and Grosjean has a chance of upsetting the applecart (off-chance Hulkenberg or Kovalainen might as well) I decided it was too short.

I expect Bottas and the Saubers to have a pretty good qualifying, and Ferrari not to.

Morris Dancer


  1. The odds on Vettel winning have shortened still further - he is now a crazy 1/5 to win with most bookies. At these odds I'm more temped to lay him .... surely sooner or later he'll mess up or his car will let him down.
    The greedy bookies even have Bottas, pointless all season, at odds-on to finish in the top 10 tomorrow - just awful,awful value.
    I'll stay with my pint of Old Speckled Hen staked on a Grosjean win at 40 (now less than half those odds at 18) with Betfair (equivalent to 37/1 in real money). Sooner or later the Lotus driver is going to win a Grand Prix and I somehow very much doubt it's going to take him another 37 attempts.
    In terms of relative improvement, he's certainly driver of the year having latterly out-performed his team mate.

  2. Vettel wins pole, with Webber next to him...

    Maybe I'll just watch the NFL instead...

    Tim B

  3. Mr. Putney, relative improvement from getting the first ban for years isn't too hard :p

    That said, I do agree that his recent form has been excellent. One more reason why a Hulkenberg-Grosjean pairing would be so good: they're the two best non-world champions on the grid. It'll be a travesty if it doesn't happen.

    I'm looking at various bets (or will be when I'm less sleepy) and Bottas for points was one of them. Less than evens for points is ridiculously short given he's 9th, hasn't scored yet, and has the likes of Button, Rosberg and Massa behind him.

    Mr. B, cheer up. I know this season's turned into a procession, but next year things will be shaken up (if Vettel remains victorious I imagine a small percentage of fans will consider this a 'golden age' and everybody else will get very bored. Won't help the viewing figures at all).

    Also, turn 1's tricky for the first-placed man because it's uphill and then a hairpin. So, the chap just behind 1st can watch to get a guide to the braking point. That's the theory, anyway, as I remember from last year.