Monday, 2 November 2015

Mexico: post-race analysis

A good race from a betting perspective, and reasonable as a spectator. The Nasr bet was plain wrong. I overestimated attrition and the pace of the car, and he was always behind his team mate too, so that was just a smorgasbord of ill-judgement on my part. The Bottas bet had its fair share of luck, but luck does play a role in F1 betting, more, perhaps, than other sports, and I shan’t complain if it’s good.

At the start, Vettel and Ricciardo came together at the first corner. The Aussie was clearly behind, and had it been at any time other than the start I suspect a penalty would’ve been dished out. It gave Vettel a puncture at the worst place to get it.

Otherwise it was pretty much formation flying. Massa did get ahead of Bottas but then locked a brake and lost the place. Rosberg broke free of DRS range from Hamilton fairly easily, and though the two Mercedes were never more than a few seconds apart the pair of them swiftly began leaving Kvyat, Ricciardo, Bottas et al. far behind.

Raikkonen, who started some way down the grid due to a penalty, passed Bottas about a third of the way into the race, but the two drivers came together. The Williams was fine, the Ferrari suffered terminal damage. Raikkonen was philosophical and Bottas, to my slight surprise, received no penalty.

The second pit stop for Rosberg was unexpected (his team had told him previously he had to make the tyres he was on last to the end), and Hamilton had to be repeatedly called into the pits before he did so (the team citing safety issues). This meant the Briton returned to following the German, instead of retaining the gifted lead, albeit with tyres that might not last.

Around lap 52, Vettel crashed out. He’d had a few off-track excursions earlier in the race, and his exit made it the first in about nine years that Ferrari failed to have a single car classified. The crash also brought out a safety car.

Williams, having pitted before lap 10, were always on for 2 stops. Red Bull appeared as if they could make do with 1, meaning Bottas had little hope of a podium (unless the Red Bull tyres fell off a cliff, which was a possibility). However, when the safety car emerged the only car of those four to stay out was Bottas, initially, but he came in the following lap and effectively retained 4th behind Kvyat.

When the safety car came in, Bottas was right on the tail of Kvyat and, without DRS, managed to pass him on the straight. Bottas was on the medium tyre, Kvyat the soft. The Russian kept within half a second of the Finn for several laps, but Bottas was unflappable, and then Kvyat’s tyres faded and he dropped back.

This was in contrast to Massa, who was 5th ahead of Ricciardo but got passed by the Aussie.

Perez, who stayed out and did not make a second stop during the safety car period, was being closely followed by Verstappen, but in the closing laps managed to pull away. Impressive tyre management once again from the Mexican. That said, his team mate finished ahead of him.

Grosjean got the final point, less than a second ahead of Maldonado.

From a betting perspective it’s the best on a bet-and-forget basis of the year, although the hedged result for the UK (where 3/3 bets came off) was a little better. I think 8.4 is the longest odds bet that’s come off this year, which is nice.

There were several pieces of good fortune, though. Vettel getting an early puncture, both Ferraris failing to finish, no penalty for the Raikkonen collision and the late safety car meaning Red Bull (perhaps unnecessarily) pitted were all helpful for Bottas. However, the Finn nailed the pass when it was on, kept Kvyat behind skilfully despite inferior pace tyres, and then stretched his legs to a comfortable 3rd, in the end.

As for Nasr, I overestimated, the car, the driver, and the rate of attrition. Fortunately, you only lose one stake even when you’re wronger than the Thirteenth Earl of Wrongcaster.

It’s also worth noting that the DRS seemed less effective than might be expected on such a long straight, which is presumably due to the high altitude and thinner air.

It was a good day for Williams and Red Bull (as well as Mercedes, obviously), but terrible for Ferrari. Force India also had a strong points finish, with Toro Rosso and Lotus getting the last few points. Sauber and McLaren never looked like troubling the scorers.

Here’s the Constructors’:
Mercedes 617
Ferrari 374
Williams 243
Red Bull 172
Force India 112
Lotus 71
Toro Rosso 65
Sauber 36
McLaren 27
Manor 0

I think that’s mostly done and dusted, with the exception of Lotus and Toro Rosso, who have just 6 points between them.

The penultimate race, Brazil, is in a fortnight.

Morris Dancer

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