Friday, 15 April 2016

China: pre-qualifying 2016

The poison dwarves have retreated. Todt and Ecclestone have buckled, the team principals have won, and the qualifying format returns to the sanity of the 2015 approach. Huzzah!

Alonso has fractured ribs, but that won’t stop him racing. He has been told, however, that if his situation worsens he has to stop immediately.

Hamilton has another sort of pain, taking a five place grid penalty due to a gearbox change. If he makes another bad start from there, it may not be as terrible because the super long straight should play into the Mercedes’ hands.

Rain is a possibility for both the third practice session and qualifying. Could be light, could be heavy. The race is likely to be dry.

Because of early start times, the pre-qualifying piece is up today.

Both Friday practice sessions were entirely dry.

In P1, Rosberg was top, a tenth up on his team mate, with Vettel half a second down the road and Ricciardo half a second off the German. Raikkonen, Kvyat and Sainz were next, with Button, Hulkenberg and Verstappen rounding out the top 10.

The second practice session had Raikkonen fastest, a tenth ahead of Vettel. Rosberg was a tenth back, with Hamilton two-tenths off his team mate. Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Perez and Bottas completed the top 10.

So, when betting on qualifying we need to consider how cars will perform in the wet and the dry. Cars with better aerodynamics will have superior (relative) grip in the wet.
So, I anticipate the Red Bulls getting a relative performance boost, and Williams (and maybe Force India, as well as Manor) going backwards in the wet. McLaren may benefit from wet conditions.

Alonso and Button were 11th and 12th in P2, and 8th and 12th in P1, so a McLaren making P3 is not impossible, although I’d want tasty odds.

As for pole, I think the Mercedes probably still has the edge. Rosberg has been consistently faster than Hamilton (although the same was true last weekend and Hamilton snatched pole by a tiny margin).

Sainz or Verstappen for Q3 is another bet worth contemplating, if the odds are right.

Rosberg’s odds for pole are just 2.6. Given the potential for rain and the fact he couldn’t get it in Bahrain, a strong track for the German, I am not tempted.

Button and Alonso had Q3 odds of just 2.34, which is bloody tight. I’d want 4 or so, at least.

Sainz and Verstappen at 1.33 is likewise too damned short.

So, no bet on qualifying.

Of course, if you simply want to relax with a book that’s funnier than a mongoose wearing a fez, then buy my excellent new comedy The Adventures of Sir Edric.

Or, if you prefer the fear factor, enjoy The Haunting of Lake Manor Hotel horror anthology, in which I have a short story.

[NB both are under my pen name Thaddeus White].

Morris Dancer

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