Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bahrain: pre-race

In Q1 everyone save Mercedes had to put on the soft tyres (about a second or more faster than the medium tyres) to make it through. Caterham and Marussia failed to escape, as did Sutil and Maldonado.

In dry qualifying drivers start on the tyre they qualify on in Q2 (with an extra set provided for Q3). This is to stop people in Q3 not bothering to run, or trundling about lazily.

During Q2 James Allen remarked that the Red Bulls were quite short-geared, which echoed an earlier comment that Ricciardo (unlike almost everyone else) was running in 8th gear at a certain part of the track.

Q2 saw the following (from 11th to 16th) eliminated: Vettel, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Vergne, Gutierrez and Grosjean. Vettel and Hulkenberg were outshone by team mates, with Ricciardo (in this session) 3rd and Perez 6th. Bit surprised Hulkenberg did not make it, frankly.

Rosberg ended up with pole, ahead of Hamilton. Ricciardo qualified 3rd, but will go back 10 places as per his grid penalty. Bottas was next, followed by Perez, Raikkonen, Button, Massa, Magnussen and Alonso. (Alonso apparently had an engine issue which meant he lost power each lap. In Q2, Vettel said he had downshift problems, which would be due to a software issue).

Incidentally, Sutil got a 5 place grid penalty for forcing Grosjean off the track in Q1.

McNish reckons Perez will end up with a podium place.

It's important to try and predict how the differing cars (due to aerodynamic and engine power) will behave on circuit. Fuel efficiency may also become really important for the first time this year. In terms of fuel efficiency, Williams are best, followed by Force India and Mercedes. Ferrari and Red Bull come next (not sure about McLaren, but Button did express concerns that they were thirstier than they should be). 

Aerodynamically, Red Bull are top, then we have Ferrari and Mercedes. Williams are a bit rubbish in this regard. And if you don't know which engine is best and which is worst you haven't been paying bloody attention. 

Sectors 1 and 3 are, broadly speaking, just straights connected by tiny corners. There, engine power paves the way to victory. Sector 2 is a bit more squiggly and aerodynamically superior teams will be faster here. However, passing is harder in a squiggly section, whereas it's much easier on the straights in 1 and 3. So, on-track, I would expect Red Bull and Ferrari to have some difficulty moving far up the running order. However, all is not lost for them. Because they do have decent pace (enough to beat a few ahead of them, at least) they can pass them during the pit stops. A potential issue might be that, off the line, there's a pretty long run to the Schumacher corner (the renamed turn 1) and I suspect non-Mercedes cars might end up having difficulty making up ground. 

The bets I was initially interested in were Perez for a podium, Bottas to be fastest after Rosberg/Hamilton and Hulkenberg to be top 6.

Hulkenberg's odds were less than 3, and given he has both Williams, his team mate, both Mercedes and both McLarens ahead of him this doesn't seem like value. It wouldn't be a shock for him to climb that high, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he did not. [On a side note, this is a great opportunity for Perez to put in a cracking performance. He's suffered a first lap puncture and a DNS so far this season, whereas, until now, Hulkenberg has been qualifying and racing very well].

Perez for a podium was 5.1, and Bottas to be next after the Mercedes cars was 11/4 (or 3.75, I think, in new money). In qualifying, Perez's speed trap time was about 4-5mph faster than Bottas', which may help the Mexican in the race. On the other hand, the Williams is more fuel efficient and will be able to run faster for longer.

It's quite hard to call between the two bets. In the end I decided to back both. It's unlikely both will come off (it would require one of the Mercedes' drivers to suffer a reliability failure) but it could happen. I backed Bottas to win without Rosberg/Hamilton (3.75, Ladbrokes) and Perez to get a podium (5 with Betfair, hedged at 2.2).
So, the ideal result for me (including title bets) would be Rosberg, Bottas, Perez, Massa.

As an aside, I thought I'd check the winner's market. Rosberg and Hamilton are practically identical, at just over evens. Bottas is third at, er, 40.

So, two exciting race bets:
Bottas to be winner without Rosberg/Hamilton (3.75, Ladbrokes)
Perez to get a podium (5, hedged at 2.2, Betfair)

Morris Dancer


  1. Morris - interesting that you've gone for Bottas to win without Hamilton and Rosberg at 11/4 after having earlier rather rubbished my very similar bet on a straight Bottas Podium at almost twice the odds of 5/1.
    My bet also has the advantage of paying out should Bottas finish top 3 but is beaten by one or two non-Mercedes driver(s).

  2. Was that on the post-race for Malaysia?

    Kudos to you for that bet, Mr. Putney. I must admit I can't recall it, or my response, but right now it's looking rather sharp.

    Anyway, if Bottas is the top non-Mercedes driver we can both be happy.

  3. Yes - it was posted in the post-race Malaysia thread as follows:

    "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! "