Sainz remained, as expected, in hospital undergoing checks during qualifying. He appears to be fine, and is intent on performing in the race, though I’m not sure if the team or medical staff will agree.
As expected, both Marussias left in Q1, as did Ericsson and Alonso. Only the Mercedes managed to make it through without using the substantially faster supersoft tyres.
Q2 was rather more competitive, with every departing driver from a different team. From 11th to 15th, we lost Kvyat, Nasr, Button, Maldonado and Massa. Massa reportedly had bad traffic, and by the time he cleared it his tyres had gone. There was a second from Maldonado to his team mate, and nearly two betwixt Massa and Bottas, so that seems credible, given how closely matched the Williams drivers have been this year.
In Q1 we had a slight surprise, with Rosberg getting his second consecutive pole. He was faster than Hamilton in all sectors, and topping the time sheets in every session. No fluke this. However, he started pole last year, buggered up the braking for turn 1 and lost the race then with a very early pit stop.
Behind the Silver Arrows we had Bottas, leading Vettel and Raikkonen. Hulkenberg and Perez came next, a strong starting position for the Force Indias. Grosjean starts 8th, with Verstappen outqualifying both Red Bulls and Ricciardo only 10th.
The race is expected to be dry. The long and tricky pit lane entry suggest one stop, if possible on the tyres, will be the preference of teams.
Initial thoughts that sprang to mind were:
Force India double score
Rosberg was only 2.3 or so for the win, which is too short given Hamilton’s advantage wheel-to-wheel.
Vettel’s 1.8 for a podium. Bit tight.
And 1.72 for Force India to double score is also mean, given reliability and crashing potential.
Safety Car was 1.68 with Betfair. Which is somewhat tempting (the 1.5 on Ladbrokes is not).
So, nothing leapt out at me. In line with standard operating procedure, I browsed the markets hoping someone had horribly mispriced something.
The following seemed of interest:
Nasr for points at 4 (4.3 with Betfair).
Back Nasr at 4.3, hedged at 2 [NB if liquidity runs out, I’d back at 4 on Ladbrokes]
Really hard to call the race due to lack of running. Could be entertaining if all the set-ups are wrong.