Sunday, 30 March 2014

Malaysia: post-race analysis

The bet was green, huzzah! 2.5 are not the longest odds in the world, but I'll never complain about a winning bet. I am mildly peeved with myself that I didn't tip Vettel to be best of the (non-Mercedes) rest at 5.5 pre-qualifying, but of 2 bets, 2 were positive (admittedly, one only a smidgen), which is quite pleasing.

Perez had a DNS (did not start) due to some sort of software issue, it seems. That's very unfortunate for the Mexican, but he's not the first and probably won't be the last to have this sort of technical problem.

Off the line, Rosberg had a pretty good start, Hamilton retained the lead and Vettel, although not getting too bad a start, ended up being squeezed out by Ricciardo. Vergne had a shocker and got passed by perhaps 10 cars or more.

Early on Hamilton started to build a substantial lead with little effort, but Rosberg was dogged by the Red Bulls. Although he managed to retain and then, somewhat, establish a gap he was never quite out of sight. Vettel got past Ricciardo, but the Aussie was keeping the German honest. Behind them Alonso and Hulkenberg were pretty close.

Raikkonen had a lacklustre first few laps, dropping a few places. Later he suffered a puncture due to a collision with Magnussen. This happened very far from the pits, and he lost a large amount of time, from which he never really recovered.

Rain had stayed away from the start, but there was the threat of a light shower late on. This prompted the drivers to try and stay out as long as possible, to avoid having to make an additional stop if it did start to turn soggy. Everyone went for three stops, except Hulkenberg, who went for two. This worked well for the Force India driver, and although he couldn't retain fourth against Alonso (on fresh medium tyres) he was a comfortable fifth with the gap to Button one of great size (40 seconds or so).

Ricciardo, at the final stop, suffered woe. His front left tyre was not placed properly, so he stopped before leaving the pits and was wheeled back, so it could be put on correctly. This cost a lot of time. Then his front wing broke and punctured his front right tyre. And then he got a penalty for an unsafe pit lane release, and ended up retiring the car. One wonders if there's some sort of Australian driver hex at Red Bull.

At the front it was pretty serene for Hamilton, who glided around, finished off the Telegraph crossword and basically cruised to victory. Rosberg was a little way back, and though Vettel was only a few seconds down the road the Mercedes never seemed under serious threat. Alonso was a short way back, and then Hulkenberg, but the top 5 were miles ahead of the field.

Behind Button, who was sixth, there were Massa and Bottas. Team orders were to let Bottas through, but Massa ignored the order. We'll see if there's any fallout. Magnussen got ninth, with Kvyat doing well to snag the final point.

Grosjean was 11th (Maldonado, yet again, retired) and Raikkonen ended up 12th. Kobayashi got 13th for Caterham, which could prove critical for the small team in their battle with Marussia.

An interesting graphic appeared on the BBC, denoting fuel consumption (based on weight). The Williams seems to be easiest on fuel, with Mercedes and Force India comparable, then Ferrari and Red Bull (Ricciardo was probably hardest on fuel). There was still plenty left, Hamilton could've done another 10 laps or so, but at other circuits (such as Bahrain) things may well be tighter, so the information could prove quite useful.

Here are the current standings for the Drivers' title:
Rosberg 43
Hamilton 25
Alonso 24
Button 23
Magnussen 20
Hulkenberg 18
Vettel 15
Bottas 14

It's interesting that there's quite a bunching up, but there are also two class, as it were, of driver. Hamilton and Vettel only have one finish to their name. The others all have two. In the betting, Hamilton has again become short odds favourite (2.3 or so versus about 4.1 for Rosberg) but this may be over-reacting. I do think it'll be a Rosberg-Hamilton duel, but the result of that is not a forgone conclusion.

Bahrain has many straights, so I suspect Mercedes and Williams will rather enjoy it, and both teams are also good at fuel efficiency, if the BBC graphic was accurate (which it should be because it's based on FIA information). It's the next race, and happens next weekend.

Morris Dancer

5 comments:

  1. A good review, Mr Dancer, of a race I enjoyed watching in a pub with a group of us still wearing dinner jackets from the party the night before :)

    Breakfast was (partly) financed through my outstanding good judgement and skillful choice of tipster when I also collected having followed in with your Hulkenberg tip.

    So my grateful thanks!

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  2. Mr. M, one aims to please. Hope you backed the Rosberg title tip at about 16 and 24 (Ladbrokes and Betfair) as well.

    Must admit I feel a bit irked by Vettel's failure to get pole, as that would've been a delightful win, but to be flat (essentially) isn't too bad. I think Red Bull may be worse in Bahrain, as the many straights won't be to their liking and high fuel consumption (mentioned in testing) of the circuit could affect them more than others.

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  3. Nothing up here as yet as regards the Bahrain GP this weekend, so I'll just post my bets on this thread and cut and paste these as and when.

    With Ferrari still seemingly in the doldrums, I'm expecting Williams to be well into the points and I'm investing a total of 7 points (aka GBP) on Valtteri Bottas as follows:

    5.5 points at 10/11 with Ladbrokes on him finishing top 6 to win 5 points
    1.5 points at 5/1 also with Ladbrokes on him finishing top 3 to win 7.5 points.

    Come on you Walt!

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  4. Mr. Putney, it's too early for the pre-qualifying piece.

    The top 6 bet seems reasonable, but I'd be less tempted by the podium bet.

    The bets I've looked at (NB these are not tips) so far, all Ladbrokes are:
    Rosberg pole 3.25
    Mercedes double-podium 8/11
    Hulkenberg, Magnussen or Button to be winner without Rosberg/Hamilton (various odds, I think Bottas is fairly long, compared to his podium odds)

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  5. Incidentally, I had a bit of a computer issue this morning. It seems to be resolved, but if I disappear it's probably recurred.

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