Formula One: Spanish Grand Prix preview
Like the Bookmaker’s, Hamilton Always Wins
“Gambling? It’s a mugs game, the bookmakers always win”. It’s a common statement and a common belief but one I will never subscribe to.
But, for one minute, let’s surmise those who preach such sermons – and invariably partake in the mass rip-off which is a Grand National fun bet and make a weekly charitable donation via the purchase of Lotto tickets – are right.
It means there is 75 percent degree of certainty (odds of 1/3) that Lewis Hamilton will be crowned World Champion this year. And, in turn, a c28 percent chance (odds of 5/2) he will be awarded the BBC’s Sport’s Personality of the Year award.
“Folly” some would say, claiming Rosberg is a worthy adversary whilst pointing out he is leading the World Driver’s Championship standings. I would point to the barometer of the all-knowing shrewd bookmakers, who state he has just a 20 percent chance (4/1 odds) of prevailing.
Therefore those who reside in the ‘folly’ camp should invest their annual Lotto quota on this outcome, an investment based on judgement as opposed to blind luck.
Of course they couldn’t do that as that would be gambling and the bookmakers always win. Besides, losing money due to blind luck is far more palatable than having your judgement proven wrong.
As the bookmakers are always right (essentially translating to your judgement being wrong) who would have thought Daniel Ricciardo would transpire to be a better driver than Sebastian Vettel?
With the Australian’s price for race victory in Spain this weekend being shorter than his vastly more experienced multiple World Championship winning team-mate, that is what you, the bookmakers ally, has to believe.
For four years I relentlessly admonished Mark Webber, berated and ridiculed him and now, through a line of form with Daniel Ricciardo who has a sum total of two top-six finishes to his credit from a 54-race F1 career, it turns out I was being far too kind to him.
It was always an injustice he kept his F1 seat beyond three seasons and another travesty could soon be upon us as the rumour mill suggests Jean-Eric Vergne may be on his way out of the sport.
Three times this season the Frenchman has hauled his Torro Rosso into Qualifying Session 3 (bolstering my bank account – not being in the ‘bookmakers always win’ camp – in the process) and his reward for such heroics may well be redundancy. Once again, with a line through his former teammate, Ricciardo, the formbook says he is as good as Vettel!
Talking of good, such are his slow speeds and ability to avoid collisions Saga Insurance have offered Max Chilton a fully-comp policy 35-years prematurely. Amongst a select group, Pedro Diniz, Ricardo Rossett, Alex Yoong et-al, he will go down as one of the greats.
Fernando to excel on home tarmac once again
The 2014 F1 season is compiled of 15 character building races, additionally there are the three comathons: Monaco, USA and Hungary, where on-track overtaking is non-existent.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya completes the set. Admittedly it’s not going to send you asleep but it’s an x-rated porn film which has been toned down so much it plays out like an episode of Downton Abbey.
Forgetting last season, when tyres were put together using double-sided sticky-tape, nine of the ten Spanish GP (2003-2012) have been won by the pole-setter. Suffice to say it’s generally a tedious spectacle.
Thankfully homeboy Fernando Alonso rises to the occasion and his record here reads: 1-2-5-2-5-R-3-1-2-4-2. Last season he started this race in fifth yet stood on the podium’s centre step after a masterful performance.
Racing on home tarmac always sees the Spaniard display speed and performance above and beyond what is seemingly feasible. That’s underlined by his victory at the Valencia street circuit in the 2012 European Grand Prix. On a track where an F1 car would struggle to find room to overtake a Renault Megane, Alonso converted eleventh on the starting grid into a stunning race win.
Not for one minute am I suggesting Alonso has the equipment to overcome the Work’s Mercedes but the normally trustworthy Red Bull aero-package has not been receptive to the Barcelona circuit – race and qualifying results in recent season’s underlines that statement – and I am expecting him to finish ahead of ‘lightly carbonated best served chilled’ drinks team in the battle for a podium finish.
Similarly both McLaren and William’s have been a bitter disappointment following bright starts in Australia. Meanwhile Raikkonen probably wishes he was a racehorse allowing his lack of performance to be attributed to his off-season back surgery …meaning no one could question the validity of excuses.
Alonso’s record here speaks for itself and, with a third and two fourth paced finishes added to his impressive CV this season, he remains the brightest burning star beyond those driving a Silver Arrow.
The bookmakers obviously know best but if I was one I’d make him the clear favourite for a podium position below Messrs Hamilton and Rosberg.
Alonso to make the podium in Barcelona? Best odds available: 7/4
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