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F1 Grand Prix Races

Sunday, 2 September 2012, by

Belgium Post-Race Analysis

Massive crash but Button needed no help to win

Race Results
1st
Button
2nd
Vettel
3rd
Raikkonen
4th
Hulkenberg
5th
Massa
6th
Webber
7th
Schumacher
8th
Vergne
9th
Ricciardo
10th
di Resta
11th
Rosberg
12th
Senna
13th
Kobayashi
14th
Petrov
15th
Glock
16th
Pic
17th
Kovalainen
18th
de la Rosa

After such a weak season Button notches up another victory. Although he faced far fewer competitors than normal his pace was incredible and no one could touch him. With quickest times in free practice and in the qualifying sessions, his weekend was more dominant than Hamilton's in Hungary. However, it's difficult to know if Button has genuinely stepped up his game or if he just got the set-up on his McLaren perfect. Regardless, he certainly looks likely to be more of a factor than than he has been mostly this season.

The big upset was Grosjean's crash taking out Hamilton, Alonso, Kobayashi and Perez. Whilst none of these could have challenged Button it would have been extremely interesting to see if they could have matched Raikkonen for pace. Especially disappointing is Sauber not getting a chance to show their potential. Although Kobayashi was slow during the race he probably suffered damage during the crash and they are worth watching for the future as more podiums are likely this season. Vettel and Hulkenberg also had very impressive races, Vettel using his one stop strategy to move ahead of even Raikkonen from 11th and Hulkenberg took his Force India to 4th.

After Alonso's first retirement this year his competitors had a chance to keep up. Button's win moves him closer to putting himself into the hunt for the championship but he is still far away. With Hamilton also retiring and Webber not having a great race Alonso has got off lightly in the championship race. Raikkonen is now a single point behind Webber and 14 in front of Hamilton. Alonso's main concern is Vettel, now 8 points ahead of his team mate and 24 behind Alonso. The margin is still big but Alonso now has an even harder fight on his hands.

Monza race weekend 7th to 9th of September. Click to see live odds for next race.

Image © Evoflash

Sunday, 2 September 2012, by

Belgium Pre-Race Analysis

A very unusual qualifying session.
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Button
2nd
Kobyashi
3rd
Maldonado*
4th
Raikkonen
5th
Perez
6th
Alonso
6th
Webber*
8th
Hamilton
9th
Grosjean
10th
di Resta
11th
Vettel
12th
Hulkenberg
13th
Schumacher
14th
Massa
15th
Vergne
16th
Ricciardo
17th
Senna
18th
Rosberg
*Maldonado – 3 place penalty.
*Webber – 5 place penalty.

Button takes his first poll position in two years during one of t strangest qualifying results in the last few seasons. Both Saubers achieved their best qualifying position with Kobayashi 2nd and Perez 5th. Raikkonen also had best qualifying of the year by coming in 4th. Maldonado's excellent 3rd was demoted to 6th after blocking a car in the pitlane (see Planet F1), promoting Raikkonen, Perez and Alonso.

There is no obvious reason why so many drivers who are relatively weak at qualifying have taken substantially higher grid positions than the Red Bulls or Hamilton. Since it is unclear why this happened it is also unclear if those who qualified well will be able to retain pace during the race. Caution is heavily advised for betting on Spa this year.

Jenson Button is the favourite to win with odds of 7/5 (2.40) from Paddy Power. The McLaren generally does not suit Spa that well and there is speculation that Button was so much quicker than Hamilton because his car was set up for qualifying so these odds are not brilliant. Raikkonen is second favourite with 7/2 (4.50) from Bet 365. Raikkonen almost always does better in the race than qualifying, the Lotus having arguably the best race pace of any car in the field. Having won here four times, Raikkonen has an excellent chance of taking a fifth victory at Spa from 3rd on the grid. 7/2 (4.50) is good odds though also placing a equally sized bet on Button would ensure a profit whichever wins would be wise.

The big uncertainty are Sauber. They usually do well in high speed tracks in colder weather which puts them at home in Belgium. In the correct conditions the Sauber often show massive race pace and can often finish far ahead of where they qualify, Perez taking podiums from 10th and 15th on the grid. If Spa is one of the courses that maximises their potential pace – and qualifying suggests that it is – then a win cannot be discounted. 113/10 (14.3) from Betfair for Kobayashi and 83/5 (17.60) from Betfair for Perez are both worth at least a small bet. If victory sounds ambitious then podiums at 57/25 (3.28) from Betfair for Kobayashi and 7/2 (4.50) from SkyBet for Perez seem good value given that the Saubers usually finishing higher than they qualify. The Saubers may split their strategy, with Kobayashi covering the leaders whilst Perez tries his own strategy which he has so masterfully pulled of in the past so hopefully at least one Sauber will find the best strategy and take the podium. Top 6 are also good odds at 67/100 (1.67) from Blue Square for Kobayashi and 1/1 (2.00) from Blue Square for Perez.

The best strategy would be betting on all the top four for victory, trying to break even on a Button victory and profit for the other four. As a rough approximate example, betting £30 with £12 on Button, £14 on Raikkonen, £3 on Kobayashi and £2 on Perez would yield £1 profit if Button wins, £14 if Raikkonen wins, £12 if Kobayashi wins and £10 if Perez wins. The major challenge to this plan is Alonso in 5th. Maldonado should hold up many of the pack who lacked pace in qualifying and additionally di Resta might hold up Vettel in 11th and a demoted Webber in 12th (see ESPN.). Alonso's relentless nature is renowned but his win's at Malyasia and Valencia were dependent upon a car higher up the field having a slow pit stop or retiring . Since Alonso free admits his car is weaker than the Lotus and the McLaren it is difficult to imagine him taking victory without luck coming his way (see ESPN). Overall though, with so many uncertainties after such a bizarre qualifying it is very difficult to guess what race pace each car will approximately have so live betting or simply avoiding betting on Spa this year might ultimately prove wisest.

Odds above accurate at Saturday 2nd, 01.02 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © samarvid

Saturday, 1 September 2012, by

Belgium Pre-Qualifying Analysis

Rain washes out FP1 and FP2
Free Practice Results
FP3
1st
Alonso
2nd
Raikkonen
3rd
Perez
4th
Kobayash
5th
Button
6th
Massa
7th
Webber
8th
Grosjean
9th
Vettel
10th
di Resta
11th
Maldonado
12th
Hamilton
13th
Schumacher
14th
Hulkenberg
15th
Vergn
16th
Ricciardo
17th
Senna
18th
Kovalainen
19th
Pic
20th
Glock
21nd
Petrov
22nd
de la Rosa
23rd
Karthikeyan
24th
Rosberg
With FP1 and FP2 completely washed out with torrential rain the only meaningful information for the rest of the weekend came from free practice three. The session was quite unusual with the two favourites for poll setting low times. Neither Vettel's 9th or Hamilton's 12th look particularly competitive. Their odds are 31/10 (4.10) from Betfair and 18/5 (4.60) from Betfair respectively and these do not look like value for money. With the Red Bull usually doing well Vettel is the better bet but looking elsewhere is advised.

Alonso and Raikkoen came 1st and 2nd. Alonso has odds of 7/1 (8.00) from Blue Square but he not taken poll in two years except for in the wet. Raikkonen has odds of 8/1 (9.00) from Bet 365 but he has not qualified higher than 4th this season. These two bets look like better value for money than Hamilton or Vettel but at this stage there is little reason to favour any of these four to take pole. With so much uncertainty, it might be advised to avoid qualifying bets and save money for the race when the grid order is known.

The major surprise is the two Saubers, Perez coming 3rd and Kobayashi coming 4th. Betting on poll would be extremely ambitious but this pace suggests they will qualify better than normal and do well in the race. This is in line with the trend of the Sauber preferring high speed courses and cold weather. Perez for a podium at 14/1 (15.00) from SkyBet looks like good value for money after his podiums in Malaysia and Canada. Also recommended are Perez finishing top 6 at 11/4 (3.75) from Bet 365 and Kobayashi top 6 at 3/1 (4.00) from Bet 365.

There are two important developments. Lotus will not run their new double DRS reports ESPN whilst Webber has a five place grid penalty after a gear box change reports ESPN.

Odds above accurate at Saturday 1st, 11.55 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © nic_r

Saturday, 1 September 2012, by

Belgium Pre-Qualifying Analysis (2)

Very heavy rain meant neither practice session revealed any useful information, especially since dry weather is predicted for the rain and the race. The pre-qualifying blog entry will be delayed until a full update will can be posted after free practice three when more information will hopefully be revealed.

There are two important developments. Lotus are unlikely to run their new double DRS reports ESPN whilst Webber has a five place grid penalty after a gear box change reports ESPN.

Friday, 31 August 2012, by

Belgium Pre-Weekend Analysis

The 12th Race of 2012, Belgium Grand Prix at Spa.

Previous Winners
2011
Vettel
2010
Hamiltonv
2009
Raikkonen
2008
Massa
2007
Raikkonen
2006
Not Held
2005
Raikkonen
2004
Raikkonen
2003
Not Held
2002
Schumacher
2001
Schumacher
After the long summer break Formula One returns to arguably the greatest track on the calendar. Belgium may prove very different to the recent races this season. After a series of warm tracks during the summer, Belgium will probably be the coldest track so far this season, substantially affecting some teams. Rain is not current forecast for qualifying or the race but Spa is renowned for unpredictable weather changes that develops suddenly. Also, coming back from the break many cars will have substantial upgrades that could shift the balance of power.

The high speed corners of Spa suit the Red Bull best. They managed 1st and 2nd position in 2011 and could have done similar in 2010 except for a few mistakes. Webber was on pole, dropped to 6th after after a terrible start but eventually finished 2nd whilst Vettel was running well until accidentally hitting Button. Vettel is second favourite for victory at 4/1 (5.0) from Skybet and 21/20 (2.05) for a podium from Betfair. These are good odds for a track suiting the Red Bull. Webber's odds of 133/10 (14.3) for victory from Betfair and 11/4 (3.75) for a podium from Paddy Power are excellent value for money on a track he finished 2nd on for the last two years. Top 6 for Webber at 18/25 (1.72) from Bet365 are also good odds.

Hamilton is favourite for victory after his impressive pace at Hungary and on a course he has won before. However, although he is likely be in the hunt for victory, with so many strong competitors 3/1 (4.0) from Skybet is not vastly good value for money. Button faces a paradox at this year Belgium GP: Button's excels in changing weather conditions likes those typical of Spa but the McLaren is currently extremely weak in the rain so Button is unlikely to win in either dry or wet conditions.

Belgium is arguably one of Alonso's weaker tracks, having never won Spa. However, this season Alonso has truly shown his skill in the rain, taking pole on both wet qualifying sessions this season. 41/5 (9.2) from Betfair is good if rain occurs so Alonso is one to watch for Saturday live betting.

The big unknown are Lotus who have unusually low odds. They were exceptional in Hungary, Spa will be their first race with their new Double DRS and Raikkonen has won here every single time he has finished the race. However, Lotus seem to suit the warmest courses best. Both drivers got podiums in Bahrain and Hungary, Raikkoen took the podium in Spain and Valencia whilst Grosjean just missed out with a 4th in Spain and was 2nd in Valencia when he suffered from a mechanical failure. Spa may be the coldest track this year, a likely maximum 20 degrees (see F1 Weather for details) compared to 46 in Hungary. Unless the new Double DRS is exceptionally powerful victory looks unlikely, a podium is much safer but waiting until pace of Lotus is revealed in the practice sessions and qualifying is advised.

Odds above accurate at Friday 31st, 12.43 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Image © TiM_BiG

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