Since Abu Dhabi:
It’s not been officially confirmed, but it’s highly likely Hulkenberg, whom I rate, will replace Sutil and partner Di Resta at Force India.
The BBC have also released their half-season calendar, which includes the lion’s share of terrible tracks but also has a few gems (Silverstone, Spa and Interlagos). I remain less than impressed with the broadcaster’s nefarious canoodling with Sky. (The list is: Spain, Monaco, Valencia, Britain, Belgium, Singapore, Korea, Abu Dhabi and Brazil).
Quelle surprise, Vettel got pole and broke another record (15 poles in one season). Webber also got second, making it a 1-2 lock-out for Red Bull.
I didn’t offer a tip on this as I couldn’t see past Vettel getting it in the dry but there was a serious chance of rain (it didn’t appear but numerous engineers believed this also) and that would’ve made things utterly unpredictable.
Slightly surprisingly Button beat his team mate and McLaren locked out the second row. With rain a strong possibility tomorrow and Webber’s trademark handbrake starts the moustachioed one may stand a decent chance of victory. Alonso took fifth, and Rosberg got a cracking sixth for Mercedes.
The top 10 were rounded out by Massa, Sutil, Senna (who has impressed me during his brief time with Renault) and Schumacher, who was miles behind his team mate. However, this often happens in qualifying, but in races Schumacher is one of the top overtakers and Rosberg often goes backwards, so we’ll see how that goes.
Further down the field Maldonado showed why his money has secured his seat, getting 18th, whilst his probably soon-to-be-ejected team mate got 12th. Petrov only got 15th, highlighting Senna’s relative skill, and the Saubers got a poor 16th and 17th.
I offered a pair of tips for this race: Button to win at 7 (hedged at 2.5) and Alonso for a podium at 2.6.
From both a racing and betting perspective, the race was disappointing. The reason was simple: the Red Bull was absolutely unrivalled and when Vettel’s gearbox went slightly wonky the victory was gifted to Webber.
No rain meant less excitement. Frustratingly, Alonso looked likely to get a podium for almost the entire race, until the last 16 laps or so when Button, on the same compound, passed him.
There were some tussles lower down the grid, but all forecasts of rain proved false and it was an unusually processional race (at the front) for Red Bull.
The silver lining (half of one, anyway) is that the bets I’d made earlier in the season for Button to finish in the top 3 came good, as did the small hedged bet for him to win the ‘without Vettel’ market (Alonso would’ve been my first choice). However, both of these bets were made in the first half of the season.
It’s been a season of two halves for me. After my traditional rubbish start I went from Turkey to Italy with a single loss (with hedging), but the latter half of the season has been red. In the last 6 races I’ve made a loss at 4 of them, and contemplated but decided against two long odds bets in Korea that would’ve turned the whole half-season around.
On the plus side, I was ahead for both qualifying and races. Despite the latter half of the season being better with laying, you’d be better (£43.90 better assuming £10 stakes) over the season going without hedging bets.
Bit irritated about today. Any number of small differences (rain, Vettel’s gearbox breaking) could have given Alonso third, but that’s the way things go.
The next season won’t be available free-to-air in the UK due to the BBC’s decision to shaft the licence fee-payer and canoodle with Sky (the only way the sport could stop being free-to-air). Hopefully this won’t adversely affect tipping (mind you, seeing it free-to-air in the latter half of the season didn’t stop me buggering it up).
I’m thinking of returning to the pre-qualifying, pre-race, post-race analysis style I went for in 2010. I write more or less the same amount anyway for a single article, and if anyone has views on this I’ll take them into account.
Although the last few months have been ropey, overall the season’s green and that’s pretty nice. I’ll do a review in the nearish future and another post looking ahead to 2011 (from a betting perspective, so I won’t wait for driver lineups to be confirmed). Thanks for reading my articles, hopefully you made a little bit of money, and I’ll be writing more in 2012.