Friday, 3 October 2014

Japan: pre-qualifying

There was an interesting Q&A with Eddie Jordan which can be read here:

The line that really caught my eye was this:
"Honda and McLaren want to hit the ground running. They want Alonso or Sebastian Vettel and it's possible both could wind up there.”

That sounds incredible, but it’s worth noting that Jordan was months ahead of the curve when it came to Hamilton jumping to Mercedes.

In other off-track news, Simona De Silvestro will not become a Sauber driver. It was a credible possibility but, for financial reasons, has not happened. I feel this may (financially) be a mistake, as being the only woman driving in F1 (and the first for decades) would be good for sponsorship and Sauber’s profile.

Caterham have been visited by bailiffs, but has sworn it will race on. This is rather weird. The firm was acquired in-season by a Swiss-Middle East consortium, so one would’ve thought they’d be at least financially stable for the near future.

Anyway, the tyres in Japan are medium and hard. One imagines wets and intermediates stand a chance of some use, as there’s an off-chance of a typhoon affecting the circuit (tiny chance the race may be cancelled). So, check the forecast.

I didn’t watch either P1 or P2, as usual, because the timezone difference means they were rather early.

In P1 Rosberg was a tenth and a half ahead of Hamilton, with Alonso half a second off the top time and Bottas half a second behind the Spaniard. Raikkonen, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Button Vettel and Kvyat were next up.

In P2 the Mercedes drivers swapped positions, Hamilton nearly a quarter of a second ahead of Rosberg, and over a second ahead of Bottas. Button, Vettel and Raikkonen were next up, with Alonso, Magnussen, Kvyat and Ricciardo rounding out the top 10.

Interesting that both McLarens were in the top 10 in both sessions, and a little odd Bottas was at the sharp end and Massa was 11th and 14th. Equally interesting, their rivals in the Constructors’, Force India, did not trouble the top 10 with either car in either session.

Too close to call between the two Mercedes drivers, but if both cars finish I expect they’ll be a day and a half ahead of the rest (if it’s dry. A wet race could throw things up in the air).

I did check the odds on Magnussen reaching Q3 but they were a mean 1.28 on Ladbrokes and although 1.5 was up on Betfair that’s still a bit tight, and there was only £11 available.

So, no tip.

Qualifying starts at 6am tomorrow morning. I’ll try not to repeat the sin of seasons past and sleep in.

Morris Dancer

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