Sunday, 3 April 2016

Bahrain: pre-race

In protest at the qualifying shambles, I decided not to watch qualifying. I did follow the BBC livefeed instead, however, and will watch the race tomorrow.

Worth noting Magnussen will start from the pit lane tomorrow, because he missed a mandatory weight check yesterday.

In Q1, Nasr was eliminated first, then Haryanto (Manor driver). Palmer was next and then Magnussen (so, pretty atrocious for Renault). Perez was out next. Ericsson and Wehrlein were the last to be eliminated (great performance from Wehrlein).

In Q2, Kvyat was eliminated first. Then Button, Gutierrez and then Stoffel Vandoorne, standing in for the injured Alonso (great d├ębut performance). Sainz, Verstappen and Grosjean were eliminated next.

Q3 saw Hulkenberg eliminated first. Then Massa was out, Bottas and Ricciardo. The pole position went to Hamilton, less than a tenth ahead of Rosberg. Bit irked I went for the wrong bet, but there we are. Vettel lines up third and Raikkonen fourth.

After the qualifying, Hamilton was investigated for reversing in the pit lane, but was allowed to keep pole.

Several bets present themselves (before checking the amrkets)
Ferrari top score
Grosjean points
Vandoorne points

Ferrari are 4.33 with Ladbrokes to top score. Top scoring, if all four of the starting grid finish, requires a team to have the winning car. First and fourth outscore second and third. However, if one team has only one car finishing, then second and third (or even third and fourth) is enough to top score. It’s intriguing but the odds on Vettel or Raikkonen winning (maybe each way) might be more tempting (6 and 17 with Ladbrokes).

Grosjean is 1.9 for points, and Vandoorne is 2.75. I think Vandoorne’s odds are tight. He’s two places off points in his first F1 race, although he has (I think) enjoyed success at Bahrain in other vehicles. Grosjean’s odds may underestimate him. But they’re also not all that long.

After idly perusing the market to see if any value leapt out at me, a few things were worth considering:
Vettel, win 7.4 (hedged 3.4), Betfair
Massa, top 6, 2.37, Ladbrokes

Several of those bets revolve around Ferrari potentially being a match for Mercedes, and trying to calculate the best value if that’s the case. There’s also a small reliability question mark over the Prancing Horse, whereas the Silver Arrows, by testing and the first race, appear to be bulletproof.

In the end, after quite a lot of time to trying to work that out, I went for two bets:

Vettel, win, 7.4 (hedged at 3.4), Betfair
Grosjean, points, 1.9, Ladbrokes

Australia had a cracking start and a topsy-turvy race, which was entertaining but also made direct comparison between the top two teams tricky. The reason I’m relatively confident about Ferrari’s prospects is that Mercedes has almost always had a massive edge in qualifying. If that’s gone, it’s possible that the Ferrari will actually be the faster car.

For Grosjean, I think his car is nicely placed. He has free choice of tyres, the highest starting car to do so, a good engine, a good driver and his pace is probably better than starting ninth suggests (had he done another lap he may have beaten Hulkenberg).

The race starts at 4pm.

Morris Dancer

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