Sadly, Rosberg didn’t really get near a podium place, and his 5th place finish flattered him as Massa and Hamilton got drive-throughs. It might have been different if it had rained, but it didn’t.
For the first time this weekend it was dry in Sao Paulo, making it hard to predict how the cars would go (particularly as some would have wet setups and others setups suited for the dry).
The start was pretty good. Rosberg dove into the lead, and Alonso had a pretty nice start. However, it soon became apparent Rosberg lacked speed, and a radio transmission revealed this was due to lack of rear grip. He began an inexorable decline through the order.
Once Vettel was ahead he had an easy time of it, yet again. Red Bull forgot to get the tyres ready for his pit stop, but his advantage at that point was such it didn’t materially alter the state of play.
Webber had a nice tussle with Alonso, whose Ferrari was motoring along nicely, and eventually ended up on top. A decent finish for a number two driver.
Alonso’s third was impressive, and the Prancing Horse was galloping along well. In fact, Massa would’ve had a much better finish but he received a drive-through penalty for crossing the pit lane entry line. This is permitted, but only to a certain point, which he definitely crossed. He was very unhappy about this, and perhaps a warning would’ve sufficed as any advantage would be marginal.
Ironically, given Rosberg’s wet setup in practice and qualifying looked good, it was Hamilton who seemed far more comfortable in the dry race. Although he couldn’t match the podium chaps he was ahead of his nearest rivals until he suffered double woe. Firstly, he tangled with Bottas (there was a slight touch but it had the impact of ending Bottas’ race and causing a tyre to be shredded on Hamilton’s car, necessitating a slow drive back to the pits), and then he got a drive-through for it. Bit hard to call either way… I probably would agree with the drive-through, but it’s certainly not black and white. Rosberg finished 5th.
McLaren had the best day, in relative terms. I think their two drivers made up about 23 places from grid to flag between them. Button got 4th which, rather depressingly, is their best result this year. Perez (6th) also made up a lot of ground. Both drivers drove well and it was a good, solid performance.
Hulkenberg got 8th, and had a slightly anonymous afternoon. He drove well, but the action elsewhere meant he neither made many passes nor got passed a lot. There are rumours he’s signed for Force India. If true, I’d have mixed feelings. He deserves a top seat, but at least he’d stay in the sport. Di Resta looks like he may end up leaving. Grumpy paranoid lunatic Maldonado seems to be staying.
Ricciardo managed to get 10th, just ahead of Di Resta.
The race was very entertaining in the first half and fairly good in the second. Interlagos is amongst my favourite tracks precisely because it seems to always throw up good races. However, in the dry there was no disguising the tediously predictable dominance of Vettel. We must hope that next year it’s more competitive. Nine wins in a row is as impressive as it is boring.
Mr. M’s (comments, previous article) podium bet looked good on paper, but was thwarted by Grosjean’s engine unhelpfully exploding and Rosberg’s poor performance. The safety car bet also appeared to make sense (I checked the odds pre-race and they were about 1.4 and 3.25 for Yes and No respectively) but it did not make an appearance. Bit unlucky, given rain seemed possible throughout but never really materialised.
I believe they’re reducing the number of ‘engines’ (technically they’re called ‘power units’ as they include engines, souped-up KERS and turbos) allowed next year, and this may adversely affect reliability. If that’s the case then lower numbers of classified finishers, more safety cars and laying rather than backing could prove useful betting guidelines early on in 2014.
As always after a season concludes I’ll be doing a look back at how things went from a racing and a betting perspective. This is the fifth year I’ve done tips either here or on the old pb channel 2 blog, so I’ll also be doing a piece comparing how the years went.
After that and before the 2014 season kicks off I’ll do a piece or two about the regulation changes.
It hasn’t been the best year (actually, it’s probably been the worst), but the overall loss is about four stakes or two, depending how you bet. Whilst not happy with that, it’s also not disastrous.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the articles this season, and enjoy rather more profitable ones in 2014.