Sunday, 19 April 2015

Bahrain: post-race analysis

It wasn’t a classic. Whilst it was red, it was to the tune (using my £10 comparison stake approach) of a whole 50 pence. So, every race has been red, but I’ve got 3/7 bets this season right, and if I get a 2/1 winner next time it’ll push me green overall. It’s a little odd, really.

Button did not start, when his car refused to even make the hundred yards he made in qualifying. I don’t know if the DNS counts as the first constructor retirement, and Ladbrokes won’t let me log-in, so when they slay their gremlins I’ll find out and report back (as per Mr. M’s cunning tips, I backed Toro Rosso [winner if Button doesn’t count] and Red Bull to fail first). Update: on checking, Ladbrokes scored it a winner, so kudos to fair play for that. Yet again, Mr. M’s tips (including two losers on Hulkenberg points and Grosjean top 6) proved more profitable than me.

Massa failed to get away for the formation lap, but was able to manage a pit lane start. Sainz got a really weird penalty (5s), apparently for exceeding the maximum time permitted on the reconnaissance lap.

After the first few corners I was hopeful. Hamilton led ahead of Vettel and Raikkonen. Unfortunately, Rosberg remembered what this racing business is about, and his car was, during the first stint, simply faster than the Ferrari. He passed Raikkonen relatively easily, and then passed Vettel, despite the difficulty of running in turbulent air (the key was the Mercedes being much faster on the straight than the Ferrari, which seemed better in the corners).

Then we got an interesting strategy shift. The top 3 went onto soft tyres for the second stint, but, counter-intuitively, Raikkonen went medium. And he matched the pace of Hamilton (who was on the allegedly far faster soft tyre) and narrowed the gap to Rosberg and Vettel.

However, Ferrari did leave Raikkonen out too long on the medium tyre, which probably cost him circa 6s. It may have ended up costing him the win. That said, the soft tyre on his final stint did enable him to catch and pass Rosberg and get close(ish) to Hamilton.

What of Vettel? He pitted a third time, for a new nose. He emerged very close behind Bottas, but over a dozen or so laps simply couldn’t pass the Finn. Good for Bottas, who reportedly had the first race of the year without back pain. Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that it was also the first race in which he out-qualified his team mate.

Vettel seemed weirdly out of sorts. He went wide a few times, locked his brakes rather a lot and never really looked comfortable.

Ricciardo got 6th, beating Grosjean to 7th, which I found slightly surprising. Still, fairly solid for Lotus. Ricciardo’s engine exploded as he crossed the line.

Perez snagged 8th, impressive, and a cut above Hulkenberg’s disappointing 13th (perhaps due to strategy?). Kvyat recovered from a lacklustre qualifying for 9th, and Massa held on for the final point.

However, Alonso was 11th, and given this is just a week after China that’s pretty good. I think McLaren for points in Spain could be interesting. They need to unlock more horsepower and, perhaps even more importantly, sort out the reliability which struck Button four times this weekend and gave him a DNS.

Alonso was ahead of Nasr, Hulkenberg, Ericsson, Maldonado (who had an issue which caused a long pit stop) and the Manor Marussias.

It was a bit disappointing in terms of the race, the title and the betting. The Mercedes was just a little bit ahead of the Ferrari, and, crucially, faster on the straight. Both cars suffered a late problem with braking, which may have cost Rosberg 2nd, but Hamilton’s lead was sufficient for him to retain the victory.

Unless Ferrari make a great leap forward after the fly-aways, this season is gone for them. However, for next year they could be set fair. James Allison is probably the best designer, Vettel and Raikkonen (if the Finn stays) are a great partnership and Arrivabene seems like a serious team principal.

Hamilton 93
Rosberg 66
Vettel 65
Raikkonen 42

Looking good for Hamilton.

Incidentally, something I forgot to mention before is that Maldonado may be in trouble. His sponsorship comes from PDVSA, a big Venezuelan firm. However, with the Venezuelan economy about to explode and the IMF preparing the dustpan and brush, this funding may either fail to be renewed or disappear. If so, this will imperil Maldonado’s position in F1 next year. So, consider this when/if driver markets appear (I’ll also be watching for the odds on Kvyat leaving Red Bull and, perhaps, Verstappen taking his place [Hulkenberg possible if they want to give Verstappen another year in the theoretically junior team]).

Betting-wise, I’m 3/7, and scarcely one a half stakes red. Which is a bit weird. I’ve failed at every race this season, but ¾ of those have been pocket money. I may try just offering the one tip per race, and see if that works (still a bit irked by Verstappen’s engine dying in China, guaranteeing a late safety car).

The next race is Spain in three weeks’ time, just after the excitement of the General Election.

Morris Dancer

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Bahrain: pre-race

Qualifying was definitely exciting, and every bet I’d considered (for qualifying) proved utterly wrong, so it’s a good job I didn’t back any of them.

In Q1 Button’s dire fortune continued, with his third immediate car failure this weekend. One suspects his hopes of finishing the race must be thin indeed. Naturally, both Manor Marussia’s exited at this stage (Stevens again substantially faster than Merhi). Kvyat, oddly, also failed to escape the first part of qualifying, though it’s unclear if it was some sort of problem or he was just slow [on that point, Eddie Jordan, who is mad as a box of frogs but also hears rumours from many places, suggested that whilst the Renault engine is a bit weak, Red Bull has other problems entirely unrelated to the engine]. Maldonado was the fastest of the five departing drivers, and he had some sort of power issue.

Q2 was very close, and featured the slightly odd sight of Rosberg going off-line on the main straight to perhaps check the braking point. However, that also meant he got dust all over his race tyres. Verstappen’s been a bit off-colour all weekend and starts 15th, with Alonso right ahead of him. It’s the first time McLaren have escaped Q2 and, more importantly, he was within three-tenths of 11th-placed Perez. Progress is being made and after the fly-aways (for the next race) he and Button may see themselves battling for points. Nasr and Ericsson start 12th and 13th, with Perez 11th.

This session was also notable for the Williams suddenly becoming incredibly fast, making it appear that Q3 might be a three-way contest (or a two-way contest behind the Mercedes).

In Q3 the Williams fell back a little, adopting their traditional positions of 5th and 6th (Bottas a tasty four-tenths ahead of his team mate). Ricciardo got a decent 7th, ahead of Hulkenberg (surprisingly quick in 8th, Sainz’s 9th and a perhaps disappointing 10th for Grosjean).

At the sharp end, Hamilton put in a stonker to claim pole by four-tenths, ahead of Vettel, who was two-tenths ahead of Rosberg. Raikkonen starts just a tenth behind Rosberg.

I think Vettel has a decent shot of beating Hamilton, and Raikkonen Rosberg. The Renault reliability still looks suspect, and Ricciardo may get swamped off the line again.

Early betting thoughts:
Lay Ricciardo top 6
Ferrari top score
Raikkonen podium
Vettel win each way
Grosjean points
Alonso points

And Championship winner – Ferrari 18.5 (Betfair)

Lay Ricciardo top 6 was only available at 4.1. Whilst I think it’s pretty unlikely, I’d want probably 3, or 2.5 (to lay).

Ferrari are 4 to top score. That requires either a Vettel victory [if the top four on the grid finish in the top four] or a Mercedes problem. Barring a mishap, it’s effectively the same as a Vettel (or Raikkonen) win. It’s worth considering.

Raikkonen is 1.9 for a podium. I do think he has a good chance. This is probably value.

Vettel to win is 4.1 with Betfair (where it’s hedgeable) and 4.33 with Ladbrokes (more for winning and can be converted to top 2 with an each way bet at 1/3 the odds [NB there is a top 2 market on Betfair but Vettel’s only 1.5 for that, he’s over evens on Ladbrokes, if you go each way]). I quite like this, although I think Raikkonen has a better chance of getting one over Rosberg.

Grosjean’s just 1.5 for points, which is rubbish. Alonso’s 3.5. Mildly tempting, but given how unreliable his car is, not tempting enough.

Vettel and Raikkonen are very evenly matched. I think it makes more sense to consider betting on them taking the Constructors’ than the Drivers’, at 18.5, if you feel that way inclined. I only raise it now rather than post-race because if Ferrari do well in the race the price will drop like a whore’s drawers.

Oddly, then, my problem isn’t a dearth but a surplus of tempting bets.

Best value for me is Vettel, each way, to win at 4.33 [NB when I do an each way bet I make it so the total bet is one stake (a theoretical £10) rather than two bets of £10 each]. Even if he starts badly I think he can pass Rosberg during pit stops, and if he has a great race he could win it. Update: and as I write this the odds fall to 3.75. That’s pretty frustrating. The odds had already dropped from from about 5 to 4.33. And Ferrari are down to 3 to top score (if they’d still been 4 I would’ve tipped that instead). On balance, I think 3.75 is still value (each way). But it’s a tight call. (Pre-qualifying it was 7). If it falls any lower, I’m not backing it.

Raikkonen for a podium at is sound [Betfair’s odds just improved]. He’s simply a better racer than Rosberg, and has (according to all reports) a car that’s faster on race pace.

So, two tips:
Vettel, to win (each way), 3.75, Ladbrokes [when the site decides to allow me to log-in]
Raikkonen, podium, 2, Betfair

Obviously I’m relying on all the mood music about race-trim pace of the Ferrari being sound. If it isn’t, then I’ll be out of pocket and the race will be rather less interesting.

The race is very nicely poised.

Morris Dancer

Bahrain: pre-qualifying

The tyres this time round are soft and medium. It’s a night race, again [well, sunset is three minutes after the start time], which, unfortunately, may decrease tyre wear. That said, Ferrari are looking good on long runs, although unlikely to trouble Mercedes in qualifying.

Although it’s less likely to have an impact during qualifying compared to the race, the engines do seem a bit wonky (especially Renault), Vettel had brake issues in practice, and Button’s McLaren failed in both sessions (Alonso’s was looking reasonable).

Speaking of McLaren, they reckon that, correcting for the power deficit, it’d be 0.6-0.7s or so off the Mercedes, which is more or less Ferrari territory. Something to consider if/when they get their arse in gear this season, and for 2016.

In P1, Raikkonen was fastest, two-tenths up on Vettel. Then we had Bottas, Sainz, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Alonso, Nasr, Kvyat and Massa. The Mercedes were working fine, but given it’s much warmer at that time of day than either qualifying or the race the team decided to test some potential new parts rather than try and work on pace issues. This irked me a little, as I’d considered backing Raikkonen at 15 to be fastest (each way for top 2) in P1. However, Mercedes may adopt a similar tactic in certain comparable races (maybe Singapore/Abu Dhabi), so I’ll try and remember for then.

In P2, normal service was [almost] resumed. Rosberg was a tenth up on Hamilton. Neither got a perfect lap, however. Raikkonen was next, again a tenth ahead of Vettel, who was a tiny margin ahead of Bottas. Ricciardo and Maldonado were separated by twenty-five thousandths, with Nasr, Kvyat and Massa rounding out the top 10.

P2 may, unusually, be more indicative of pace than P3, because it occurs at the same time of day as qualifying/the race, and therefore is of more use for the teams. From watching the summary video, it also seemed the track wasn’t as cool as expected, which may mean tyres are an issue.

During P3 an engineer from Williams played down the prospect of them beating Ferrari in qualifying, and suggested Vettel was very fast indeed.

Vettel was on average 0.6secs a lap faster than Rosberg when they were both running the 'soft' tyre, which will be the main one used in the race.”

In P3, Hamilton was less than a tenth ahead of Vettel. Rosberg was a few tenths further back, a tenth ahead of Raikkonen. A more substantial gap led to Bottas and Massa, with Maldonado next up, then Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Nasr.

Maldonado’s been faster than his team mate all weekend (admittedly, Grosjean missed P1) and Nasr’s been top 10 in every session. The Ferraris and Mercedes look close, though I suspect the Silver Arrows will still dominate qualifying. The race might be different.

Right after qualifying, bets that sprang to mind were:
Raikkonen top 3
Rosberg pole
Nasr to reach Q3
Maldonado to reach Q3

I also considered the following race bets:
Ferrari, highest scoring team 4.5
Vettel each way win 6
Raikkonen each way win 10

Raikkonen top 3 (in qualifying) is 2.16. Not tempting, as, although he has a crack, I suspect the familiar trio of Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg will get there.

Rosberg’s only about 2.8 or so for pole. Too short, given Vettel seems to have a realistic chance and Hamilton is favourite.

There’s only a pathetic 1.55 for Maldonado to reach Q3 (the Red Bulls, Saubers, his own team mate and maybe Toro Rossos/Hulkenberg could prove troublesome, so this is the least tempting so far). There’s 1.6 for Nasr, again, not very intriguing.

I was briefly tempted by the winning margin, but if Mercedes are slightly sandbagging they could be a fair way ahead of Ferrari, which makes things hard to tell (time-wise) when it comes to the winning margin.

I considered laying Rosberg at 1.14 to be top 3 in qualifying, but the money disappeared the moment I looked at it.

So, no bet on qualifying.

Ferrari are 4.5 to top score. If all four Ferraris/Mercedes finish then, assuming there’s no huge problem, they’ll be in the top four. Therefore, winning the race = being the top scoring team (1st and 4th yields 37 points, 2nd and 3rd 33 points). I think Ferrari has a realistic prospect of doing this, their pace seems to have worried Mercedes and Williams appear to think (in the race) the prancing horse is too much for them to handle.

Vettel’s available at 6 to win, Raikkonen 10 (each way is 1/3 the odds for top 2). The Finn shouldn’t be underestimated. But for the safety car he might’ve beaten Vettel in China, or run him damned close. On Betfair, they’re 6.8 and 13.5, respectively.

Whilst I’m tempted by those driver bets, and the Top Scoring Team bet, I expect Mercedes to get a 1-2 in qualifying. If they do, the odds will lengthen. If you think Rosberg or Hamilton will start behind one or both Ferraris, the top score bet is probably the first one I’d look at.

So, no tip, but the qualifying and race look like they could be pretty exciting.

Morris Dancer

Sunday, 12 April 2015

China: post-race analysis

Must admit to being rather disappointed how the bet turned out. Retirements were few, and with just three laps left Verstappen’s engine blew up on the pit straight, guaranteeing a safety car. However, I do put this down to bad luck rather than ill-judgement, and luck should even itself out over the course of a season. This is also why I dislike short odds bets. I had one red and one green this weekend, but because of the short odds I finished very slightly down. Not awful, but red’s never good.

The race start was notable for Raikkonen dispatching both Williams on the first lap and Ricciardo leaving the handbrake on, sliding from 7th to 17th.

From then on, the top 6 stayed as they were (Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Massa and Bottas), although at time the gap covering the top 4 fell to just 10 seconds. It was close between the Mercedes and Ferrari, but not quite close enough (China’s fairly difficult to overtake on). However, further down the grid there was some fantastic racing.

Both Lotuses were comfortably in the points, 7th and 8th, and keeping pace with the Williams (although some way down the road). Then Maldonado cocked up his pit entry, and emerged about 14th or so. He got in a fight with Button and Alonso, and very entertaining it was too, until the Briton hit Maldonado from behind, which caused the Venezuelan to retire. On pace, the Lotus was good. Late on, the McLaren seemed reasonable.

Verstappen was tremendously impressive, passing cars with great skill and on for good points before his engine died with just three laps to go. It was on the main straight, and he considerately parked it right by a gate. As the Sniff Petrol Twitter feed noted, the Chinese marshals were unwise to hire the Chuckle Brothers to manoeuvre the stricken Toro Rosso into the pit lane.

Verstappen’s bane was Ericsson’s boon, enabling the Swede to claim 10th. Ericsson and Ricciardo spent half the race duelling, and it was great entertainment. Nasr had another impressive race, and claimed 8th, giving Sauber some more tasty points.

Ricciardo’s race was compromised by the terrible start he had (and not aided when Kvyat was instructed to let him past, and then spent a lap or so obstructing him). However, he fought back, although with a few uncharacteristic mistakes, and got 9th.

Retirements were few and far between. Hulkenberg peeled off with a gearbox problem, and Kvyat’s engine died. Late on, so did Verstappen’s. Maldonado had to retire after Button hit him from behind (entirely the Briton’s fault).

All McLarens and Manor Marussias were classified, which will help them improve reliability and pace yet further. Perez was the fastest chap outside the points, with Alonso right behind him.

After the race, Button and Maldonado were summoned by the stewards to explain their collision.

The most interesting thing about the top 6 was that it appears Hamilton deliberately backed up Rosberg to make his life (with Vettel) more difficult. Mercedes told Hamilton to speed up or they’d pit Rosberg first (risking Rosberg overtaking Hamilton due to the undercut) at which point Hamilton suddenly remembered where the accelerator was. It’s also worth noting that Rosberg was far closer to Hamilton in both qualifying and the race than he has been so far this year.

So, I’m a bit frustrated with the way the bet went. I do think it was just bad luck but, as I said, that’ll hopefully even itself out over the course of the year. On the plus side, Hamilton won. He still needs 12/16 wins over the course of the season to break the record, though.

Hamilton 68
Vettel 55
Rosberg 51

Mercedes 119
Ferrari 79
William 48
Sauber 19
Red Bull 13
Toro Rosso 12
Force India 7
Lotus 6
McLaren 0
Manor 0

I don’t think this is sewn up, yet. Mercedes were faster today, but Ferrari was snapping at their heels. Williams were lonely, in a league of their own. Behind, it’s close enough for lots of exciting racing and uncertainty. Nasr was impressive again, as was Verstappen. The Sauber’s pretty good this year (they’re ahead of Red Bull in the title race).

I’ll be keeping my eye out for long-term bets on Verstappen (to get a world title or similar), and I suspect, if things stay as they are, he might take Kvyat’s seat sooner rather than later.

This was a third red race in a row, but because of the way things worked out I’m only down about a stake and a half overall. Not happy about that, obviously, but it’s also far from a calamity.

Bahrain is next weekend, a race that tends to be dreadful. Last year was a classic, though, so we’ll see whether it’s a beauty or a beast of a race. Overtaking has (last year aside) been very difficult there, so I expect a premium on qualifying, plus substantial woe for Red Bull (Ricciardo seems to be starting horrendously this year). If tyre wear is high, that may help Ferrari, who have often run well there when they’ve been competitive.

Bahrain’s the last fly-away at the start of the season, after which there’s a three week wait until Spain.

Morris Dancer

Saturday, 11 April 2015

China: pre-race

For such a short odds bet, the Vettel tip was much closer than I anticipated, or wanted. In the end it came off, which is a nice start to both the weekend and qualifying betting in 2015.

The first session of qualifying was pretty close (backmarker Manor Marussias aside). In the end, Hulkenberg was the fastest chap to be booted out, ahead of the two McLarens (although the gap from McLaren to the rest of the field appears to have declined).

The second session was even more competitive. Maldonado failed to reach Q3, as did Kvyat [perhaps a shade disappointing], both Toro Rossos and Perez, who starts directly ahead of his team mate.

Q3 was a little odd. Mercedes were ahead by miles, as expected, although Rosberg did manage to close the gap to a miniscule 0.04s. Williams suddenly came to life and looked in danger of locking out the second row and shunting the Ferraris back to row three. In the end, Vettel’s final lap put him 3rd on the grid, with Massa (who looked pretty good in qualifying) ahead of Bottas and then Raikkonen. Three-tenths down the road is Ricciardo (the Red Bull appears to gradually be improving), then Grosjean. Huge kudos to Sauber for getting both their cars into Q3, just over a tenth behind Grosjean and with Nasir less than a tenth ahead of Ericsson.

It also emerged during qualifying chatter that Ferrari lose only about a tenth of a second on used soft tyres, whereas Mercedes lose three-tenths. Given the soft tyre is perhaps as much as two and a half seconds a lap faster than the medium, and two stops are expected, this may prove significant. On single lap pace the Mercedes are in a league of their own, but the Ferraris may be more competitive on race pace (especially if they can use the faster tyres for longer and with less wear). Ferrari also appear to have one more set of fresh soft tyres for the race, which may prove handy. I think there are 56 laps or so, which means perhaps 15 laps [guesswork, it’s approximate at best] on new soft tyres. Against that is that the Mercedes appears to be faster generally, so I’m doubtful that the Ferrari can beat them on pace.

I expect Raikkonen to advance up the order. Unfortunately, there are markets for top 6 and podium, and I suspect he’ll rise from 6th to 4th, so that’s not something easy to put money on.

Grosjean’s a bit tricky. I expected him to do better last time, but he did suffer a race-long power shortage. I do rate him as a driver, I’m uncertain about his car’s reliability/pace, though. Sauber seem fairly quick, but the battle for the back end of the points will be fierce. It seems the top end may be dominated by car performance, with 7th onwards determined more by driver ability.

Weather forecast:
Race start is 2pm local time (7am UK). Rain had seemed possible, but the forecast now indicates a very low chance of rain.

In the last 10 races only 3 have seen a safety car make an appearance [sometimes due to rain].

Potential bets are a bit tricky. It looks a fairly safe bet on a Mercedes 1-2 (though it’s not certain), and Vettel seems highly likely for the final place on the podium. So, I looked, initially, elsewhere to see what seemed tempting:
No Safety Car
Maldonado/Grosjean for points, or a Lotus double score
Alonso points

No Safety Car was available at 1.8. For something that’s occurred 7/10 (I think) times in the most recent past, that seems good value, especially given the race is expected to be dry (and rain played a role in at least one race where the safety car made an appearance).

Grosjean was 1.5 for points, and Maldonado 2.2, with 3.25 for both to score points. That’s somewhat tempting. My problem is that Maldonado is not necessarily the driver likeliest to finish a race.

There was 3.5 for Alonso to score. I consider this very much an outside shot, and those odds do not tempt me [it could well happen, but there’s a case for Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Force India, Sauber to get points too].

Other bets that sprung out at me were:
Hamilton and Rosberg to be top 2 at 1.5 [any order]

Decided against that. Whilst likely, Ferrari might be in a position to challenge, and there’s always the possibility of accident, pit stop cock up or suchlike.

So, oddly, another single low odds bet:
No Safety Car 1.8 [Ladbrokes]

Race start is 7am tomorrow, I think. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes, from the front of the grid down to McLaren.

Morris Dancer

Friday, 10 April 2015

China: pre-qualifying

Ahead of qualifying, there are a few critical questions. How rapidly can McLaren resolve their substantial issues? Can Williams fight at the front? Will the Red Bull engine get sorted? And, most importantly, will Ferrari be able to fight the Mercedes on pace or was that a one-off due to the particularly hot and humid situation in Malaysia?

The Chinese track is a very nice one to answer the final question. It’s got plenty of straights, including one of the longest in F1 (Abu Dhabi’s might be longer by a smidgen). The prancing horse gallops faster than the rest on a straight, but in the corners the Mercedes has the advantage. So, if Ferrari can fight with Mercedes at circuits which aren’t very hot and humid, and if the team wants a shot at the title, this is the sort of place they must be competitive and (ideally) winning.

In P1 Hamilton led Rosberg by half a second, with Vettel half a second further back and Raikkonen yet another half-second down the road. Nasr was also 0.5s back, followed rather more closely by Ricciardo, Kvyat, Sainz, Bottas and Massa.

Hamilton also led in P2, four-tenths up on Raikkonen. Ricciardo was seven-tenths back, with Vettel and Rosberg within a tenth of the Aussie. Kvyat was four-tenths off Rosberg’s time, followed by Bottas, Nasr, Grosjean and Button.

There was a slightly idiotic comment by someone or other on the BBC livefeed that the substantial gap between Mercedes and Ferrari was indicative of the Silver Arrow reasserting dominance. Not really. The Mercedes was four-tenths faster in every practice session in Malaysia, and we know how that turned out. Of course, you’d prefer to be ahead than behind, but it’s entirely possible that’s a mirage of performance advantage rather than a true reflection of being substantially quicker.

Checked Twitter briefly during the back end of P2. Sounded like the Mercedes was half a second up on the soft tyres, but Raikkonen was marginally faster than Rosberg on the medium compound. That suggests Mercedes should be set fair for qualifying, but if they can’t make the soft tyres last a while and/or screw up strategy, Ferrari could give them another thrashing.

At this stage, we may yet have a Mercedes-Ferrari fight for the win, though I think qualifying is near certain to go to Mercedes. Williams seem a little off the pace, still, and Red Bull may have made up some ground. Nasr’s looking pretty good and, along with the Lotuses, should be fighting to be reach Q3.

Bets that leapt to mind were:
Hamilton pole
Lay Rosberg top 3 [just a weird hunch]
Nasr top 10/reach Q3
Vettel pole, each way

Hamilton’s 1.4 for pole. That’s actually a bit longer than I was expecting. Somewhat conflicted about that, as I think it very likely, but there’s always the risk of a technical failure. I also happened to spot that Vettel is 1.7 to be top 3, which may be better value.

There wasn’t much to lay Rosberg, just a little at 1.2 [so can’t tip it as there’s not enough there]. I probably wouldn’t’ve in any case.

Irritatingly, there’s just 1.5 available for Nasr to be top 10 (I’d want 2.5 preferably, or longer).

Vettel at 15 to get pole (each way, 1/3 the odds for top two) is tempting. I could see him beating Rosberg as well as Raikkonen.

I waited quite a few hours to see how the markets matured, but there wasn’t any more for Nasr, and the odds are a bit stingy (barely longer than Hamilton for pole), so I decided against that.

Vettel each way for pole (top 2, effectively) at 15, Hamilton pole 1.4 and Vettel top 3 at 1.7 looked the most tempting.

In the end, I went for Vettel top 3 at 1.7 with Betfair, no hedging. The other two were interesting, but I dislike such short odds for Hamilton, and the Vettel bet seems best value to me. He can get it whether the Ferrari’s on terms with Mercedes or not.

Qualifying’s expected to be dry, but the race may be wet, so I’ll be checking the weather forecast closely tomorrow. It starts at 8am.

Morris Dancer