Formula 1: Against The Odds

China: A Red Revolution?

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One week later and we are in the familiar position of having Hamilton and Raikkonen together on the front row, facing a drag down to turn one. Surely Hamilton will favour caution this time around? However with Bet365 having slashed their prices and the track layout not as favourable, betting on Raikkonen to lead after the first lap is not attractive as it was in Japan. That doesn’t mean that it won’t happen though and that is just one of the reasons why I think that Raikkonen’s price of a shade over 6/1 (Betfair) in the outright win market is generous.

Given that Felipe Massa is a much shorter price than his teammate, it would appear that the market expects Kimi to cede his position to the Brazilian at some point. In my opinion, that is only going to happen early in the race if either Massa is quicker or on a more aggressive fuel strategy and it can only happen if the two drivers are running together on the track. Given that Massa was the quicker driver in Q1 and Q2, but not in Q3 I’m not convinced that fuel loads will necessitate a switch and equally the chances of them maintaining their adjacent positions must diminish as the race progresses.

Throw in that the Finn won here last year and appears to be back on form, along with the chance that Hamilton is fuelled lighter and must show some caution at some stage: I’m not convinced that the price is right. Kimi winning the race from Hamilton then Massa has no different effect on the Championship than him pulling over and letting Massa chase Hamilton home.

Something is pushing Kimi’s price out though and I wonder whether SportingBet haven’t got a bit carried away with that approach full stop, as they have eased him from 11/10 to 11/8 in the Fastest Lap market. Why? Raikkonen has claimed no less than ten fastest laps this season, all of which have come in the last thirteen races. Last time we had a dry race in Shanghai (2005) he set the fastest lap here as well. Second position behind Hamilton certainly wasn’t a shabby performance in qualifying and it is worth a bet that he can set the fastest lap at 11/8.

Given that the Ferraris are second and third on the grid and that the Shanghai circuit is one that has rewarded both the team and drivers in the past, I was tempted by the odds-against for the current constructors championship leaders to be the highest scoring team this weekend. However, despite their position, that feat has only been achieved on six occasions this season and I am happy to concentrate on Kimi Raikkonen solely.

On an unrelated note, I’d like to take advantage of the expected low attrition rate. Both this track and this season have on average seen close to 80% of drivers classified and IG Sport are expecting the twenty competitors to amass between 975 and 1000 laps between them come race day. Buying that quote at 1000 unfortunately has little upside and given the potentially huge downside, I am simply not interested. However the closer the Betfair price for over 15.5 finishers edges towards 4/5 the keener I’ll become.

Finally, I want an interest in the late-season form of Toro Rosso: Building on a top ten finish here in 2005, last year’s race saw both cars from Faenza finish in the top six. The two cars participated in Q3 today and Sébastien Bourdais has not been outside of the final top ten in any session this weekend. Given that his Q3 time (set on the harder tyres admittedly) was nearly 3.5 seconds slower than his Q2 time, I am making the assumption that he has a healthy splash of fuel aboard too. Just two points scoring finishes for the Frenchman this season is a touch concerning, but I am yet to come across anyone who doesn’t genuinely believe that it should be three. Betfair are top-priced 13/8 about a Bourdais points-finish.


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