F1Punter

Formula 1: Against The Odds

A Punt On A Podium

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I’ve been assessing the win and podium markets for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix and nearly all of the bookmakers have their prices lined up in grid slot order. That doesn’t sound unreasonable, although for their odds to match the true probability of victory, it would have to mean that every driver has qualified on their merits.

That got me looking at Mark Webber. His sector times were really very good today, but he clearly didn’t string it all together on his final flying lap. Webber himself claimed that the bumpy track caused him issues, whilst Red Bull team principle Christian Horner indicated that he had made a mistake. Either way Sebastian Vettel showed that the car possesses pace and I feel there is scope for Webber to improve upon his qualifying position during his home race.

To do that he is obviously going to have to overtake cars that are ahead of him. I’m not going to pass judgement on the new overtaking-friendly regulations prior to the first race, but I will make use of another innovation this year: the published pre-race weights. As we can see, Mark Webber has more fuel on board than every driver ahead of him with the exception of the league-of-their own Brawns. Not only does this further explain his qualifying performance, but also means that he can stop later than his five rivals.

It is fair to say that the Australian has never been the luckiest of drivers and equally that the Australian Grand Prix has rarely been a happy hunting ground (Minardi points aside). Any stakes are therefore tempered, especially as it is the first race of the season. I am however going to take a punt on Webber causing an upset tomorrow.

Logic would suggest that the Brawn pair have two out of the three podium positions locked out, however I feel that this has lead to some generosity in that particular market. For me the high attrition rate from which this race traditionally suffers levels the playing field somewhat. Even with the two Toyotas out of the way, I don’t believe that Mark Webber is only the eighth faster driver on the grid and I’ll speculatively back him at 10/1 (available with several firms) for a top three finish.

A more conservative approach would be to buy him on SportingIndex’s Race Index at fourteen. Good luck.

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Written by f1punter

March 28, 2009 at 10:38 pm

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