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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Malaysia Pre-Race Analysis

Rain predicted for Malaysia.
Qualifying Results
Starting Position
1st
Vettel
2nd
Massa
3rd
Alonso
4th
Hamilton
5th
Webber
6th
Rosberg
6th
Raikkonen
8th
Button
9th
Sutil
10th
Perez
11th
Grosjean
12th
Hulkenberg
13th
Ricciardo
14th
Gutirrez
15th
di Resta
16th
Maldonado
17th
Vergne
18th
Bottas
Heavy showers are likely for the race, reports the BBC, which typically means an unpredictable race. Although last year Alonso used the rain gain many positions, usually Malaysia is won from pole or top 3. This is the best indication for race winner. Vettel might look strong by taking pole by almost a second, however, he did the same in Australia yet finished 3rd. It looks as though the Red Bull is very quick on a single lap but wears out the tires very quickly. By contrast, the Ferrari appears to handle the tires very well. Also, the Ferrari is typically quick in the rain, suggesting Alonso's odds of 11/5 (3.20) from Blue Square are good value for money as are Massa's odds of 10/1 (11.00) from Blue Square. The key question is how quick the Red Bull is in the rain. It is difficult to determine if Vettel's pace was simply because of the single lap pace of the Red Bull or that it is strong in the rain. On this basis his odds of 11/5 (3.20) from Blue Square are good.

Grid position of race winner since 2001
Grid Position
Number of times
1st
5
2nd
2
3rd
1
7th
1
9h
1
With the top three drivers looking competitive, spread the bets across them. If betting £10 on race winner then place £4 on Vettel to win £12.80, place £5 on Alonso to win £16 and £1 on Massa to win £11, losing £10 if anyone else wins.

Further down the grid there are few promising bets. The Mercedes appears weak on tire degradation so may struggle at Malaysia, meaning Hamilton's odds of 12/5 (3.40) from Paddy Power for a podium are not vastly appealing. The Lotus is good on tire degradation, however, Raikkonen has a three place grid penalty (see ESPN for details) means reaching the podium from 10th is a big ask.

Lower odds betting like top 6 and top 10 finishes are probably best avoided given the likely rain and the resulting unpredictable retirements it will cause. The rain will make it ideal for live betting though.

Odds above accurate at Saturday 23rd, 16.30 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Australia Pre-Qualifying Analysis

Rainstorms possible for qualifying

Free Practice Results
        FP1
FP2
1st
Webber
Raikkonen
2nd
Vettel
Webber
3rd
Vettel
Massa
4th
Alonso
Alonso
5th
Rosberg
Webber
6th
Sutil
Grosjean
7th
Massa
Rosberg
8th
di Resta
di Resta
9th
Hamilton
Hamilton
10th
Grosjean
Sutil
11th
Button
Perez
12th
Maldonado
Button
13th
Perez
Hulkenberg
14th
Hulkenberg
Guiterrez
15th
Gutierrez
Vergne
16th
Bottas
Maldonado
17th
Vergne
Ricciardo
18th
Ricciardo
Bianchi
Thundary showers are expected in qualifying, reports the BBC, making a chaotic qualifying likely. We have limited information about wet weather pace of each car. Last year, Alsono seemed quickest, qualifying 1st in both wet qualifying sessions. His odds of 12/1 (13.00) from Bet 365 look reasonable value for money. Also, Button was the fastest when it rained in FP2. Though it seems very unlikely that such a weak car could take pole, he has very high odds of 50/1 (51.00) from Bet 365. On the off chance his wet weather pace in FP2 was genuine he might be worth putting £1 or £2 on. However, with such little information this early in the season and the unpredictability of the rain, keeping bets low is recommended.

Previous Winners
2012
Alonso
2011
Vettel
2010
Vettel
2009
Button
2008
Raikkonen
2007
Alonso
2006
Fisichella
2005
Alonso
2004
Schumacher
2003
Raikkonen
2002
R Schumacher
There is no clear best bet if qualifying is dry. The top 3 drivers were within a 10th of a second in FP2. Vettel has very low odds of 1/1 (2.00) from Blue Square. After pole in Melbourne he may be the strongest contender though his times in free practice are far from dominant, making such odds are not good value for money. Raikkonen's odds of 5/1 (6.00) from Paddy Power also cannot be recommended because Raikkonen is rarely a strong qualifier. Massa is an interesting option, setting a very competitive time in free practice and usually qualifying higher than Alonso lately. His odds of 25/1 (26.00) from SkyBet may be worth £1 or £2. We should have much more information about the pace of each team for China, so keep bets low until then.

Odds above accurate at 22nd March, 21.28 GMT. Click to see live odds.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Australia Pre-Race Analysis

Qualifying delayed by Melbourne Weather

A disappointing wash-out down-under means we're unlikely to complete qualifying until a few hours before the race. Stay tuned!

After many months of waiting we're still holding out for a good indication of the pace of each team. Betting is more risky than usual. We also need to know how mechanically reliable each car is and how they will handle the tires. Keeping bets low for now is recommended.

Grid position of race winner since 2001
Grid Position
Number of times
1st
6
2nd
2
3rd
1
11th
1
The best evidence we have is previous years. Nine of the last ten years have been won by a driver who qualifies top 3. Restricting bets for race winner to the top three qualifiers is recommended, spreading bets across those three.

The most important thing to do is enjoy the race, trying to learn the potential of each team and driver. After a couple of races there should be good data to start making more accurate predictions on.

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.

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 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 the BBC [http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/21650532]. 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.

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