Unfortunately, both Sky and the official F1 site have been redesigned to make them worse. In a perplexing move, the official site’s results page now no longer shows the gap between the top time and those following.
Practice 1 had Rosberg about three-hundredths ahead of Hamilton, but Hamilton was 1.2s ahead of third-placed Bottas. Bottas was three-tenths up on Sainz, with Vettel and Verstappen close behind. Massa, Raikkonen, Maldonado and Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.
In second practice Rosberg was fastest again, exactly one-tenth up on Hamilton, who was seven-tenths ahead of Vettel. Raikkonen was four-tenths off his German team mate, and was followed by Bottas, Kvyat, Sainz, Maldonado, Grosjean and Hulkenberg.
The McLarens have been very slow, 14th and 15th, and 13th and 16th.
Point of order: at the moment, Sauber are still running Ericsson and Nasr. Van Der Garde does not have a super licence. Whether this’ll change, I don’t know, but without one, he cannot race in F1.
Worse still, according to this BBC report the Sauber team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, could potentially face jail over the farce:
Stevens and Merhi, Manor Marussia’s drivers, did not run in either practice session so far.
Based on the first two practice sessions, a few bets spring to mind, not unlike a frolicking gazelle:
Maldonado top 10
Vettel/Bottas top 3
Lay Magnussen top 10
Rosberg was just about evens for pole. As I think it’s 50/50, that doesn’t tempt me.
Maldonado was around 1.66 for Q3. Given I think the Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams and Red Bulls are definitely faster, that’s too short.
Bottas and Vettel were 2.5 and 3 respectively for top 3. Hard to pick, and with Massa/Raikkonen (or even Ricciardo) perhaps capable of an upset, again it doesn’t tempt me.
The odds on laying Magnussen for Q3 were 50. Whilst I think it very unlikely, I don’t lay such long odds.
An unexpected bet caught my eye: Ladbrokes, 2.87 for a gap from pole to second of 0.15s or less. Unfortunately, the new F1 site’s appalling redesign appears to have made it impossible to find anything from last year [or earlier] except race results. That’s terrifically stupid and bloody irritating. I wanted to see what the results were from last year.
Anyway, decided against that bet. Possible one Mercedes will have a problem, or one driver put in a fantastic lap. So, no tip for qualifying.
Remember, qualifying and the race start at the early hour of 5am. Normally it’d be 6am, but following Bianchi’s crash several races now have earlier starts, to allow more light if they drag on and to try and decrease the possibility of a severe accident occurring.
And for those without Sky, it’s worth noting the BBC is not showing qualifying on TV or broadcasting it via radio. BBC coverage of qualifying [live] is limited to audio/text via the website, which is pretty poor.