Qualifying began drier than it’s been all weekend, but with the rain starting to fall again. Intermediate tyres were the order of the day, and all teams rushed to set early laps as conditions worsened.
Gutierrez and Maldonado left along with the pointless teams in Q1. Not too surprising.
Both Force Indias and both McLarens failed to escape Q2, and Perez ended the session by crashing his car. Kovalainen could only manage 11th, and Bottas was 13th.
The start of Q3 was repeatedly delayed because the rain was too torrential even for wet weather tyres. Rosberg’s lay value dropped to 4.3 (as I mentioned on pb.com for those who wanted a safe hedge).
Eventually Q3 got under way, and so much time had been wasted that by the time they got out it was only a lap or two before they switched wets for intermediates (not unlike the over-cautious use of safety cars in the wet). Sadly, Vettel got pole, with a surprisingly and suddenly huge margin. Not sure, but I’d hazard a guess he was aided by a helpful track condition which existed briefly (ie a short lull in the rain). Otherwise the sudden and significant margin he had on everyone else was quite odd.
Rosberg got 2nd, and Alonso did amazingly well to drag his prancing horse to 3rd, alongside Webber. Hamilton and Grosjean should be disappointed to be sharing the third row, but Ricciardo and Vergne should be pretty happy to be on the fourth (not least because a bad call by Toro Rosso in Q1 almost meant the Frenchman failed to escape it). Massa and Hulkenberg round out the top 10.
The Rosberg bet didn't come off either way. I must admit I chickened out and laid at 4.3, but the 3 hedge wasn't matched so it counts as red for the record.
My initial thoughts are:
Check the weather forecast tomorrow morning and wait until then to bet
Hulkenberg for points
Grosjean for a podium
Lay Kovalainen for points
I decided to leave it until Sunday morning, partly so the betting markets would have time to get going. It’d also mean the weather forecast would be likelier to be correct (40% chance of rain, which is a bit unhelpful).
Hulkenberg’s odds for points were just 1.5. Too short for me, particularly given the possibility of rain. Kovalainen didn’t have lay odds, so obviously that bet’s out too.
Grosjean was about 3-3.25. That felt a little short to me. He’s been driving very well, but with Vettel, Rosberg, Alonso, Webber, and Hamilton ahead of him and the possibility of wet spots in the race, I decided against it.
I was going to check the Ladbrokes market for both cars in a team to score points (for Toro Rosso) but that seems to have disappeared.
In the end, I backed Rosberg for a podium (2.16 at Betfair). He’s been driving well all weekend (all of it wet) but in the dry he should be fast enough as well. Also, whilst Vettel’s a mile ahead of everyone Rosberg is almost as far ahead of Alonso.
I think Webber’s not quite there, Hamilton’s struggled with setup which not only compromises pace but will probably increase tyre wear, Alonso’s fast but his car is not and Grosjean’s good but seems to have been off the pace in the rain.
If you think that’s a good bet you may be interested in (NB this is not a tip) the dual forecast. Vettel-Rosberg is just 3.5 with Ladbrokes but 5.3 on Betfair. Riskier, but it could work out.
So, just the one tip: Rosberg to get a podium at 2.16, no hedge.