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Formula 1: Against The Odds

French Fancies

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I thought that I had spotted some value in the winning margin market. Bet365 are offering Evens that the winning margin in Sunday’s race will be greater than six seconds. The average winning margin around Magny-Cours in the last ten years is 9.97 seconds. In those ten races the winning margin has been greater than six seconds no less than eight times. Have Bet365 made a gaffe?

Possibly not, as the one thing that I am afraid of is a Ferrari one-two. Since Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa became teammates they have shared six one-two finishes; none of which have seen a gap between them of more than six seconds.

The only way I would get involved in this market now is if for any reason I thought that a one-two was unlikely – namely if it was raining (which slightly increases the average winning margin too).

This got me looking at the other markets and my eye was drawn to SkyBet’s ‘Without the Big Six’ market. This is an outright market that excludes Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Kubica and Heidfeld. Following his impressive qualifying session Fernando Alonso is an odd-on shot. Is this right?

Magny-Cours is of course a home race for Renault. How much pressure were they under to mask their performance in qualifying with a light fuel load? The logical comparison would be Fernando Alonso’s home grand prix in Spain. There, a stellar qualifying performance saw him qualify second on the grid, but his true race pace had him pegged in sixth and falling into the clutches of Mark Webber (+1.7 seconds) before his untimely engine failure.

Lets look at the seven races so far this season and who has won the race without the big six:

2 x Win – Mark Webber
2 x Win – Jarno Trulli
1 x Win – David Coulthard
1 x Win – Fernando Alonso
1 x Win – Nico Rosberg

Interestingly Red Bull have been best-of-the-rest in three out of the last four races. In Turkey where Fernando Alonso took this accolade it was again Mark Webber who followed him home. We have already got David Coulthard covered with a points finish, but at 13/2 Mark Webber must be worth a shot with each-way terms available for those that are inclined.

Elsewhere an uneventful start to the Canadian GP has seen the average lap of the first retirement in 2008 jump up to 2.86 laps. Magny-Cours is a circuit where another clean start is possible: the average lap for the first retirement in the last ten years is a mammoth 10.5 laps. Bet365 are offering 6/4 that the first retirement will come during the second lap or later. This looks a value price to me, but beware that the last three races here at Magny-Cours have seen early retirements.

Nelson Piquet Jnr. has failed to complete five out of the seven races this season. He raced at Magny-Cours four times in GP2 and didn’t trouble the chequered-flag twice. Despite this he can be laid at odds-on to be classified in Sunday’s main feature. Well I certainly wouldn’t be backer.

Finally, there is some 4/5 available on Betfair that we won’t see the Safety Car deployed. With one outing here in the last ten years that would appear to be value, but with the FIA speculating that there could be thunderstorms during race-day (they predicted heavy rain for Saturday that failed to materialise) I am happy to pass it over. If it is still available at 2pm local time and there is blue sky above Nevers then I may reassess.

Whatever you fancy for tomorrow, good luck! If you spot any value anywhere or simply have a strong inclination for an outcome then please post in the comments.

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