Formula 1: Against The Odds

Sutil Difference In Strategy

with one comment

It was interesting to note that in today’s Q3 Qualifying session, nine out of the ten drivers opted to go for the Super Soft Bridgestone tyre and chase the best possible grid slot. The exception was Adrian Sutil. Force India had been muted in the build up to the weekend as one of the teams that could possibly upset the status quo at the front of the field. This decision to deviate from the norm simply makes that possibility more intriguing.

I’ll hold my hands up and say that I don’t know which will prove to be the better strategy. There are far more intelligent people than me, paid a lot of money to figure that out. However, there is one area where I think that playing things this way round could really help Sutil: The Fastest Lap market.

The young German – whilst not favourite – could definitely be considered a contender to set the fastest lap of the race, regardless of strategy. To this point in the weekend; he has started by setting the fastest lap in P1 and finished it by being the third fastest car through the speed trap in qualifying. He has also proved his mettle in the past in this sphere, by setting the fastest lap of the race in Italy last year.

However, what I feel marks him out this weekend is his strategy. Assuming (dangerous I know) that everyone in contention will be looking to stop once; his rivals in the top ten will presumably cover one-third of the race distance on the softer of the two tyres before switching to the harder compound. Conversely Sutil should be able to run until two-thirds race distance before changing his rubber.

At that point, the cars will have approximately 60kgs of fuel left to complete the race – similar to the starting fuel loads from last year’s Grand Prix. All of his rivals will have been running the harder – and therefore slower – compound tyre for something like 16 laps. Sutil by comparison will be switching to the softer – faster – tyre to use on what will then be a rubbered-in and less dusty track. It is at that point that I feel he will be in contention to set the fastest lap of the race.

Somethings to consider: Barrichello will likely be in a similar position and he wasn’t massively (3.5 tenths) slower than Sutil in qualifying. There is the possibility that the race pace of someone like Vettel even on a worn harder tyre will still be faster than Sutil. But perhaps the biggest danger would be an unscheduled stop, late in the race by one of the front runners – when they would surely take the softer tyres again.

All considered though, I don’t see anyone that is significantly more likely than Adrian Sutil to set the fastest lap of the race. That makes the 25/1 odds that are being quoted seem generous to me. As I type, SportingIndex have posted their Fastest Lap Index, thus introducing a place element to the bet and mitigating against some of the scenarios above. Recommended bet:

Buy Adrian Sutil @ 4 on SPIN’s Fastest Lap Index (50-25-10).

Good Luck.

Image reproduced courtesy of Mark McArdle under these terms.


Written by f1punter

March 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm

One Response

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  1. Sutil set the second fastest lap of the race on his final lap. I’ll take that given his first lap spin.


    March 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

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