Formula 1: Against The Odds

Made in Malaysia

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Below are my thoughts on some of the speciality markets that are available for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Let me know what you think:

Number of Finishers

SportingIndex have in my opinion priced their quote for the number of drivers to finish the race a point or two too high at 15.5 – 16. In the previous eight races at Sepang, just 63% of drivers have been classified by the FIA, equating to the expectation that just 13.9 drivers will finish tomorrow’s race. To sell at 15.5 and lose would require more than 70% of those that line up to complete and this has only happened once since the race’s inception and not since 2003. On the fixed odds front, PaddyPower go 13/10 that 14 or fewer drivers complete and that looks a fair price.

My only doubt is that it is early in the season to be drawing conclusions about the reliability of this year’s packages. 17 out of the 22 starters were classified in Melbourne, although that is a race that has seen 17 out of 20 complete in the recent past. Overall though, hot and humid weather and the possibility of rain are conditions conducive to a low number of finishers.

Lap of First Retirement

Bet365 are offering a market on the time of the first retirement from the Grand Prix priced as follows:

Under 3.5 laps 8/11
Over 3.5 laps Evens

Whilst 8/11 might not be the type of price that many look to get involved at; since the first race in 1999, there has been a first lap retiree on five occasions. In 2005 it took until the third lap for both Hondas to let go and Patrick Freisacher to take refuge in the safety of a gravel trap. For the record, the two occasions where the under bet would not have been landed are 2004 (lap 24) and 2002 (lap 10).

Safety Car

Not much luck with the Safety Car bet in Melbourne, but I am happy that it was value at the odds. Again here in Kuala Lumpur the historic records do not seem to match up with the bookmaker’s quotes. Just two of the eight races at Sepang have seen a safety car, the last being in 2001. This should come as no surprise, as the Hermann Tilke designed track has ample run off areas and recovery zones to keep itself free of stricken cars and debris. This hasn’t stopped BetterBet and BetDirect offering Evens that we won’t see the Mercedes CLK 63 AMG called in to action. It looks wrong to me.

Fastest Lap

Less of a statistics-based bet here, more an opportunity to take advantage of a standout price. SportingOdds are offering 9/4 that Kimi Raikkonen sets the fastest lap of the race. This is considerably bigger than their competitors and – perhaps remarkably – longer than the lay price available on Betfair.

Although qualifying indicates that McLaren appear to have closed the gap to Ferrari, realistically I can only see this being a shootout between the two Tifosi representatives once the cars are in race trim. Massa is clear favourite and I presume that SportingOdds feel that he will be able to bolt from Pole Position and make hay with a clear track. The only problem I have with this is that he will, initially at least, be carrying full race fuel. Later on in the race as we approach the pit stops (a time where a large proportion of lap records are set), there is a high likelihood that Massa will be managing the race from the front and it will be Kimi in the sister car who is pushing to make up a deficit.

Interestingly, on the five occasions that the Finn has raced around the Sepang track in an F1 car, he has set a faster race lap than his team mate every time.

The potential for rain, the small lingering doubts about Kimi’s engine durability and the respect for his team mate have stopped me from wading in to this price, but overall I think that the traders at SportingOdds are being generous in their differing opinion from the rest of the market.


Written by f1punter

April 7, 2007 at 9:30 pm

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