Saturday, 2 September 2017

Italy: pre-qualifying 2017

I offered, somewhat tentatively given every bet I’ve offered recently has either been ill-judged or damned by the gods, three early tips. These were Verstappen not to be classified at 3.25 (Betfair Sportsbook), and Bottas to ‘win’ qualifying at 6 each way, and to ‘win’ FP1 at 7.5 each way (the latter two are both Ladbrokes). My reasoning was pretty straightforward. For Verstappen, he has a 50% DNF rate. For Bottas, I believe (although others disagree) that Monza should be great for Mercedes. It’s clearly the best car in a straight line, and Monza is mostly straight lines.

Alonso has a 35 place grid penalty, at the time of writing. Both Red Bull drivers also have substantial penalties. I wonder if a Force India on the podium is a worthwhile bet... certainly to be top 6 is worth a look. Sainz also has a 10 place grid penalty.

Elsewhere, Mr. B wisely suggested that Alonso’s penalties are due to prioritising Singapore, and Red Bull might be doing something similar.

The result of first practice, which was curtailed by rain, was Hamilton fastest, then Bottas and Vettel, with hefty chunks of time between them. Raikkonen was next up, then Ricciardo and Verstappen. BFFs Perez and Ocon followed, then Vandoorne and Massa.

Second practice had Bottas a tiny bit faster than Hamilton, with Vettel very close behind and Raikkonen next up. Verstappen was over half a second back, and followed by Ricciardo, Vandoorne, Alonso, Ocon and Massa.

Third practice was delayed by 44 minutes due to rain. When the curtailed session finally started everybody went out on wet tyres, although most only did installation laps. For what it’s worth, Massa and Stroll were fastest, then came Hulkenberg, Sainz, Palmer, Ericsson, Kvyat, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Vettel.

With rain possible, I’m not tempted by the idea of a bet on qualifying. Could be entertaining, and highly unpredictable.

Morris Dancer

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