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Sunday, 18 November 2012, by

USA Pre-Race Analysis

Championship close to being resolved
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Vettel
2nd
Hamilton
3rd
Webber
4th
Raikkonen
5th
Schumacher
6th
Hulkenberg
7th
Alonso
8th
Grosjean*
9th
Maldonado
10th
Senna
11th
Massa*
12th
Button
13th
di Resta
14th
Vergne
15th
Perez
16th
Kobayashi
17th
Rosberg
18th
Ricciardo
*Massa– 5 place penalty.
*Grosjean – 5 place penalty.
Vettel's typical win is a controlled race from pole and this looks easier than normal, largely due to the first corner. The left side of the track vastly lacks grip and some estimate that it will be a whole second slower at the race start. If so, Vettel has little to fear from Hamilton or Raikkonen. Behind Vettel on the right side of the grid is Webber who is notorious for his slow starts and Schumacher who is too far back to challenge. Also, there are great fears about a first corner crash but Vettel will be the one driver likely to escape this. By contrast, slow starts by Hamilton, Webber and Raikkonen will make them prime targets if a crash develops behind them. Vettel's odds of 11/20 (1.55) from Betfair are good value for money. With so much uncertainty over the race betting any on other driver for race winner is a true gamble. However, of all the front runners Raikkonen has the highest odds at 31/1 (32.00) from Betfair, the Lotus usually does better during the race and likes warm temperatures so is best for a small back up bet.

Due to the issues over the race start and first corner there is much more uncertainty compared to a normal race. On this basis betting heavily is not advised. However, assuming they make it through the first corner then a few drivers look reasonably placed. For the above reasons Raikkonen will probably have a good race and a podium looks reasonable at 5/4 (2.25) from Paddy Power. Schumacher might also do well, starting on the clean side of the track might leave him 3rd or even 2nd going into the first corner. The high speed of his Mercedes should help him avoid being overtaken in the DRS zone on the long straight. Due to the Mercedes struggling with tire degredation he might have to stop an extra time, ruling out a podium position. Top 6 at 69/50 (2.38) from Blue Square is good value for money. Equally, with the Lotus running well and being on the clean side of the track, Grosjean at 2/1 (3.00) from SkyBet is good for a top 6 bet [edit: Massa has changed his gearbox giving him a five place penalty. This moves Grosjean onto the dirty side of the track so he is less likely to do well].

One riskier strategy is to count on a first corner incident. Assuming the accident comes in the midfeild then look to drivers who have qualified about 15th or lower. Their current odds are far higher than what they are worth if all drivers from 15th and back are in 10th position and back after the first corner. Substantial money could be made from top ten and top six finishes with some lucky early betting.

Odds above accurate at Sunday 18th, 14.19GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © John Rees

Saturday, 17 November 2012, by

USA Pre-Qualifying Analysis

F1 returns to America

Free Practice Results
        FP1
FP2
1st
Vettel
Vettel
2nd
Hamilton
Webber
3rd
Alonso
Alonso
4th
Button
Hamilton
5th
Webber
Button
6th
Massa
Massa
7th
Hulkenberg
Rosberg
8th
Kobayashi
Senna
9th
Rosberg
Kobayashi
10th
Perez
Schumacher
11th
di Resta
Raikkonen
12th
Ricciardo
Maldonado
13th
Vergne
Grosjean
14th
Raikkonen
Perez
15th
Grosjean
Ricciardo
16th
Maldonado
Vergne
17th
Schumacher
Hulkenberg
18th
Pic
di Resta
Although Formula 1 is visiting a new circuit the situation looks very familiar. Vettel is quickest in both free practise sessions and over half a second quicker to the nearest competitor in both. On the surface it looks like an easy victory for Vettel. The Red Bull is currently massively quick and COTA's long sweeping corners suit's Red Bull. However, cautions is advised. Being a new circuit, COTA could throw up some unexpected challenges. Firstly, the first corner is a blind up hill left hand turn. The possibility of a substantial a first corner crash is very real. Secondly, the high heat of Austin might mean tire degradation play a major role during the race. Finally, as highlighted by multiple spins during free practise, the track still lacks grip compared to most courses. Despite the speed of the Red Bull all these factors make victory for any driver is even more uncertain than usual. With all these unknown factors betting large amounts at Austin is not advised.

All this uncertainly make qualifying more important for betting. With the Red Bulls looking so strong it seems unlikely that any other car could beat them in qualifying. Vettel is favorite for pole position with odds of (1.49) from Betfair. However, Webber has odds of 8/1 (9.00) from Betfair which is much better value for money. Over the last four races since since the Red Bull became so dominant, both drivers has been near equal at qualifying. Each race they have qualified next to one another and twice Vettel was in front whilst twice Webber was in front. Judging by those four races there is little reason to favour one driver over the over. Betting on both is advised, try to break even on Vettel and then make profit on Webber. If betting £10 then place £7 on Vettel and £3 on Webber. You make 43p profit is Vettel take pole, £17 if Webber takes pole and lose £10 someone beats them. With Hamilton over a second off the pace in FP2 and Alonso having not taken a dry weather pole in many years this is as safe a bet as you'll likely find this weekend.

Odds above accurate at Friday 17th, 02:50 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © mrlaugh