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F1 Grand Prix Races

Friday, 15 March 2013, by

Australia Pre-Qualifying Analysis

The 1st Race of 2013, Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park

Free Practice Results
        FP1
FP2
1st
Vettel
Vettel
2nd
Massa
Webber
3rd
Alonso
Rosberg
4th
Hamilton
Raikkonen
5th
Webber
Grosjean
6th
Raikkonen
Alonso
7th
Rosberg
Hamilton
8th
Sutil
Massa
9th
Button
Sutil
10th
Grosjean
Hulkenburg
11th
Perez
Button
12th
Hulkenburg
di Resta
13th
di Resta
Perez
14th
Maldonado
Ricciardo
15th
Bottas
Gutierrez
16th
Guitierrez
Maldonado
17th
Vergne
Vergne
18th
Ricciardo
Bottas
The season opener is always difficult to make money on. Until racing starts it is guesswork to work out who has the quickest car. Serious betting is best avoided until around the 3rd race of the season.

Previous Winners
2012
Button
2011
Vettel
2010
Button
2009
Button
2008
Hamilton
2007
Raikkonen
2006
Alonso
2005
Fisichella
2004
Schumacher
2003
Coulthard
2002
Schumacher
The very speculative evidence from winter testing suggests Red Bull is just the quickest, followed by Ferrari, McLaren then Lotus with Mercedes being the wild card (as discussed in the Driver's Championship section). Free practice seems to confirm that Red Bull is very strong, and the McLaren is weak, whilst Ferrari and Mercedes are just ahead of Lotus. Although the McLaren usually does well here, it was very weak in the wet last year so will likely struggle in rain predicted by BBC weather predicts. The McLaren should definitely be avoided for fastest qualifier or race winner.

Even after free practice finished we still cannot be sure of pace. Most teams are still testing and setting up their cars. Only after the first qualifying session of the season will we have a rough idea of the pace of each team. Red Bull certainly look strongest but they are only a few tenths of a seconds ahead so there is no certainty. Betting on race winner at Australia after qualifying will be much less of a gamble, so skipping betting on qualifying is recommended.

Click to see live odds.

Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes within three tenths

Betting on the 2013 drivers championship before the season has started is not recommended. Without knowing which team has the best car it is very difficult to predict. The main information is last year and winter testing. In 2012 the quickest car varied between Red Bull and McLaren, with Ferrari and Lotus behind. Meanwhile Lotus and Ferrari had excellent reliability, Red Bull were okay whilst the McLaren failed mechanically many times. However, it is difficult to judge if this has changed. Since each car will have different fuel loads, the lap times they post in winter testing are not a reliable means of judging strength. Waiting until the championship develops or betting on individual races is recommended instead.

The final test times put Rosberg, Alonso and Hamilton on top of the combined times for Barcelona, reports Fomula1.com. Factoring in estimated fuel loads and it looks like all the top five teams are within about three tenths of each others, reports the BBC. It looks like it will be a very competitive and varied season but this makes predicting the drivers world championship very difficult.

The most obvious contender will be the Red Bull, primarily based upon their pace of last year. During testing they have rarely set quick times but Red Bull usually try and hide their pace so this proves nothing. Whilst there is no reason to suspect Red Bull will not be very competitive this year, this can only judged by comparison with the other teams who we have more information on. Webber thinks that the Red Bull will not be dominate, reports ESPN so Vettle's odds of 8/5 (2.6) from Paddy Power are not terrible value for money but are probably not the best bet. Meanwhile, Webber's odds are much higher at 20/1 (21.00) from Bet 365 but it is difficult to imagine Webber taking the championship if Vettel is unable to.

Ferrari seem generally pleased with their car. Although it is still slower than the Red Bull, the situations is vastly better than the start of the 2012 season, with Alonso claiming the Ferrari is 200 times better than a year ago, reports ESPN. Given how close Alonso came to victory in 2012 he is a strong contender. His odds of 3/1 (4.00) from Blue Squareare certainly as good as Vettel's. Massa is an interesting outsider. Although his first half of 2012 was terrible, during the second half he actually scored more points than Alonso if every time Massa handed a position to Alonso did not occur. Whilst still very unlikely to win, odds of 66/1 (67.00) from Bet 365 could be worth a small bet.

Despite often having the fastest car in 2012, McLaren do not look currently very strong. They appeared to be slightly behind the pace of the top teams, reports the BBC. They are likely struggle at the start of the season. However, unlike many of the other top teams, they have made a considerable upgrade to their car. As these are tested and tweaked, we can expect the McLaren to improve. The McLaren is a long term car, reports ESPN. If true then avoid betting on Button or Perez until after the first few races. Their odds will likely increase as their current low pace is revealed, giving good odds if they will improve throughout the season.

Lotus surprised many by being so competitive in 2012. Although they should still be competitive for race wins, it appears they are probably not yet quicker than their rivals. Grosjean thinks Lotus are in the top 4 or 5 cars, reports ESPN. Raikkonen will likely get the most out of his car and must be considered a strong contender given his performance last year. His odds of 12/1 from Bet 365 are not bad.

Mercedes appears to the wild card of the season. They had some success in 2012 but had a very weak second half of the season. It was very unexpected for Hamilton and Rosberg to set the fasted times on the last two days of testing, reports Sky Sports. The general consensus is that the Mercedes will have a unexpectedly successful season. Hamilton's odds of 19/2 (10.5) from Betfair are worth a small bet. Rosberg has far higher odds but few rate Rosberg as highly as Hamilton.

The recommended bets are Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton. However, all of this is very speculative. Whilst it can be enjoyable to place a small bet on the championship, it is so much more of a true gamble compared to races where the pace of each team is roughly evident, where past performance at the track is known and the times from free practice or qualifying is known. Avoiding the championship and betting on individual races is recommended.

Odds above accurate at Sunday 10th March, 20.28 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Heavy rain on championship deciding race
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Hamilton
2nd
Button
3rd
Webber
4th
Vettel
5th
Massa
6th
Hulkenberg
7th
Alonso
8th
Raikkonen
9th
Rosberg
10th
di Resta
11th
Senna
12th
Perez
13th
Schumacher
14th
Kobayashi
15th
Recciardo
16th
Maldonado*
17th
Vergne
18th
Grosjean
*Maldonado – 10 place penalty.
Rain is currently predicted (http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/3448439) though the weather system of Interlagos is notoriously unpredictable. Assuming it is a wet race then making firm predictions is extremely difficult; anyone could spin off, anyone could be caught on the wrong tire in changing conditions or anyone could see their competitors gain a free pitstop due to the safety car. However, there are a few key factors that could help guess correctly.

In previous years Interlagos has been a Red Bull hunting ground. Webber won in 2009 and 2011 whilst coming 2nd in 2010. Vettel won in 2010, came 2nd in 2011 and 4th in 2009 (having qualified 16th). Whilst they were both beaten by the McLarens it is possible that Red Bull went for a wet weather setup whilst McLaren were more balanced on the setup. This would make sense since a wet race is probably the only chance Vettel has of losing the championship so Red Bull would compensate with a wet weather setup. Meanwhile, earlier in the season the McLaren was extremely poor in wet conditions. Since there has not been a wet race since Germany it is possible this may not be true due to developments of the car. Whilst there are no certainties, the Red Bulls look substantially stronger for victory than the McLarens providing there is substantial rain. Vettel's odds of 8/1 (9.00) from Betfair are excellent value for money. Given the uncertainty of a wet race, a small back up bet on Webber at odds of 11/1 (12.00) from Bet 365 is recommended.

The big uncertainty is Alonso. The Ferrari is good in wet conditions but not truly dominant. His victory in Malaysia involved much skill but also a level of luck. Having never won at Interlagos before and being quite far down the field it is difficult to imagine him beating the Red Bulls. Whilst not impossible, higher odds than those Vettel has would be needed to make Alonso good value for money yet he has near comparable odds of 9/1 (10.00) from SkyBet. Keep a close eye on him for live betting but currently he is not good value for money.

Massa could have an impressive race. The Ferrari does well in the wet, Massa has won here twice previously, he is racing almost as well as Alonso currently and had qualified higher. A win would be unlikely, having not won in other two years and probably having to move aside for Alonso. A podium might be possible and odds of 5/1 (6.00) from Paddy Power is good value for money, even given the possibility having having to hand it to Alonso.

As for the championship, Alonso has odds of 4.1 (5.00) to win from Bet 365 whilst having odds of 5/4 (2.25) for a podium from Bet 365. Since Alonso has to take a podium to win the championship reguardless of what happens to Vettel, betting on a podium is probably wiser if you think there is a realistic change of Alonso being crowned world drivers champion.

.

Odds above accurate at Sunday 25th, 12.59 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © Dell's

Storm clouds loom over Interlagos
FP3 Results
1st
Button
2nd
Vettel
3rd
Webber
4th
Hamilton
5th
Grosjean
6th
di Resta
7th
Hulkenberg
8th
Alonso
9th
Maldonado
10th
Massa
11th
Senna
12th
Rosberg
13th
Perez
14th
Kobayashi
15th
Schumacher
16th
Ricciardo
17th
Vergne
18th
Petrov
The rain is on the horizon but with no one certain if it arrive in time for qualifying this could be the most unpredictable battle for pole this season. The usual safe bets are today far from safe but this opens opportunities for those willing to make risky bets.

Hamilton and Vettel are joint favourites to win qualifying, with odds of 47/25 (2.88) from Blue Square and 47/25 (2.88) from SkyBet respectively. Neither of these odds are exceptional value for money. Button was two tenths quicker than Hamilton yet only has odds of 33/10 (4.30) from Bet 365whilst Webber was only a tenth slower than Vettel yet has odds of 15.0 from Bet 365. The usual two contenders for pole, Vettel and Hamilton have lowers odds yet do not look particularly stronger than the competitors. With four drivers being so close there is very little to choose between them and none can be recommended.

The key issue is the rain, with the possibility of rain towards the end of qualifying. If so this will likely change everything. However, the last race with rain was Germany and the cars have developed massively since them. However, back then the McLarens were very weak in the rain whilst Alonso was masterful. On this basis, unless you wait until qualifying is taking place before betting, the McLaren is best avoided. Meanwhile, Alonso's odds of 21/1 (22.00) from Betfair are excellent value for money. This bet would be purely dependent upon the rain and the hope that the comparitive speed in the rain will not have changed since Silverstone. Since both of these possibilities are reasonable possibilities a small bet on Alonso is worthwhile.

Odds above accurate at Sunday 24th, 15.19GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © Leandro's World Tour

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

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