Saturday, 20 September 2014

Singapore: pre-qualifying

Ah, Singapore. Tight, twisty and tedious as Monaco, although it does look nicer due to being nocturnal.

The tyres are soft and supersoft.

In P1 Alonso was fastest, ahead of Hamilton and Rosberg (but don’t get excited, Alonso has topped a session or two earlier this year and it didn’t translate to marvellous pace in the race. The car’s simply not good enough). Vettel and Ricciardo were next, followed by Vergne, Raikkonen, Button, Kvyat and Perez.

In P2 Hamilton led Alonso and Ricciardo, with Raikkonen, Vettel, Magnussen, Button Perez, Hulkenberg and Kvyat rounding out the top 10. Rosberg was one and a half seconds off the pace, as a Maldonado crash brought out a red flag during his fast lap.

P3 had Alonso fastest again, barely half a tenth ahead of Ricciardo. Rosberg was third, then Vergne and Vettel, wuth Hamilton sixth, then Massa, Bottas, Raikkonen and Gutierrez.

The mini-forecast on the sport’s official site suggests that storms could hit on both Saturday and Sunday, so I’ll check the forecast before before qualifying and the race.

Suggestion from commentary (featuring co-commentator Eric Silverman, who seems sound) was that Mercedes' P3 times were sandbagging. I’m inclined to agree.

Weather forecasts indicate a 40% or so chance of rain during qualifying, which makes a bet less likely.

My initial thoughts were:
Rosberg for pole
Vettel/Ricciardo pole each way

Rosberg was only 2.5, which was significantly meaner than I was expecting (perhaps 3.5 or even longer). He has a good chance but with rain possible and a mistake likely to lead to a curtailed session I am not inclined to back this.

Vettel was 17, Ricciardo 13 for fastest Q3 time (Ladbrokes). Hmm. Quite tempting. But with Mercedes sandbagging and Alonso possibly getting in the way I decided against it. I’m generally wary of betting when rain could be on the way (and at Singapore/Monaco) anyway.

So no bet.

I expect Mercedes to get pole, Williams to be some way off for once and Red Bull to have a decent day.

Morris Dancer

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