Formula 1: Against The Odds

First Lap Carnage in Catalunya

with 4 comments

Circuit de CatalunyaThe old adage states that you can’t win the race at the first corner, but you can lose it. With the prospect of a processional race ahead of them, I just wonder how many drivers will remember this tomorrow. We are reaching that point where establishing supremacy both within your team and with your rivals can set the tone for the rest of season. Will some drivers think that it is time to gamble?

Sebastian Vettel was starting to get the upper hand on Mark Webber at Red Bull. When they have both finished races this season it is the German that has crossed the line first. When Vettel has failed to finish, Webber has failed to capitalise. Prior to today, he had three poles to the Australian’s one. The return to Europe is seen by many as the start of the season proper. Vettel will not be happy to have come off second best. Turn one is one of the few passing places on the circuit and once the rhythm of the race is established, Vettel knows that putting a move on his own team-mate will be discouraged from the pit wall. A pass at the first corner may represent his best chance to win the race. Equally Webber is not known for giving ground. Could there be fireworks?

In third is Lewis Hamilton. Whilst also involved in his own inter-team battle for supremacy, Hamilton knows that the Red Bulls are the biggest threat to his championship charge. Splitting the pair (or better) is the only chance Hamilton and McLaren have of not seeing the Red Bull pair scampering off into the distance. The Brit is clearly thinking along the same lines:

“Anyway, third on the grid is almost as good as pole position here, if not a little bit better: it’s a long way down to the first corner, and you can get a good draft and pass people. So I’m hoping to get a decent start, make good progress early on”

In fourth place is local hero Fernando Alonso, another thinking about his start:

“Tomorrow, it will be very important to get a good start: recently they have not gone so well for me and so this would be just the right moment to get one!”

Elsewhere on the grid, any driver knows that unless he fancies staring at the diffuser of the car in front of him on the grid all afternoon, making places of the start is the only thing to do. The raft of FIA penalties handed out his weekend has also gone some way to mixing the grid up from an order representative of true pace.

Seven of the previous twelve races here in Barcelona have seen at least one first lap retirement. Last year Trulli, Buemi, Bourdais and Sutil all failed to complete a tour. The year before it was Vettel and Sutil again. It is admittedly no Monaco or Montreal, but a tight-ish turn one sees the cars bunch together before turn two. There is plenty of scope for collisions.

I can’t help but feel that the larger field this year could contribute towards first lap problems, if only because there are more individual positions being jockeyed for. Twice already this season four cars have failed to finish the first lap.

So what is the best way to play this market?

The few firms that are offering a market which let you bet on there being at least one first lap retirement are not giving much away with odds-on prices. Therefore I’m going to get creative. Given that most first lap accidents involve the coming together of at least two cars, dutch Exactly Two Retirements (11/2 William Hill) with Three Or More Retirements (9/2 Paddypower) to give a bet of Two Or More Retirements at 2/1.

Equally, given the competition at the front of the field, Bet365 are offering specials on individual drivers failing to complete the first lap. Bizarrely Mark Webber is not one of those quoted, but you can dutch Vettel, Hamilton or Alonso to retire on the first lap at 6/1. At that price I’m interested to get involved just in case there is any hot-headedness.

Good luck.

Image reproduced courtesy of Jose Mª Izquierdo Galiot under these terms.


4 Responses

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  1. Interesting bets. I’m also tempted to have a cheeky punt on Lewis to lead the first lap. It’s been trading as high as 16.5 on betfair. He’s always been a good starter and I thing the Red Bulls will be cautious going into the first bend.

    Flutter F1

    May 9, 2010 at 7:37 am

  2. Even bigger in fact. It’s a long drag, will that F-duct make a difference? Probably worth a flutter. The one thing that will scupper both our bets is formation flying by the Red Bulls. I think that is only an outside possibility though.


    May 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

  3. Harsh words break no bones but they do break hearts.

    your free file

    January 5, 2012 at 7:10 am

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