MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX 2014
RUNNING P/L: -2 POINTS
So after last fortnight’s Rosberg benefit race, we had a race full of stories and the people who predicted that Mercedes will run away with the races early in the season looked to be proven right. Rosberg had the race sewn up very early on in a way that was very reminiscent of Vettel in the back end of last year. Behind Rosberg were Ricciardo and Magnussen. The former was later disqualified and that is under review meaning our selection Jenson Button technically finished 3rd. Unfortunately, his fate was almost written when he failed to get through to Q3. He drove magnificently to finish 4th and other notable performances were the 2 mentioned before along with Valtteri Bottas. The Finnish Williams driver showed that he has a lot of skill and drove a great race even with a few problems along the way.
Our other bet (Massa to podium) was over before the first corner! Kobayashi had a braking issue and went into the back of the Brazilian’s Williams. This ended the Brazilian’s race and with it our money. Vettel was still struggling and we didn’t get to see much of Hamilton in action as both were retired before 5 laps. We must also mention Kvyat who became the youngest ever driver to score a point and Torro Rosso who got both drivers in the top 10.
Enough about the past, what are we thinking this week?! Firstly, let’s examine the forecast. The 3 days are all very similar: HOT and STORMY. Sunday may be less stormy but equally as hot and humid. This presents a massive problem for all the teams as one of the major worries at the start of the year has been cooling issues within the cars. This is not an uncommon forecast during monsoon season in Sepang and former winners here have managed to repeat success. Vettel and Alonso have both won here 3 times and would be major players if their cars were up to scratch.
Any predictions for this race will involve a lot of guesswork and we are going to need some serious luck. We may well know our fate after qualifying as the record for people finishing in the prominent grid positions is very good. Let’s have a go anyway!
Looking at the list of past winners, we see that the last 7 winners are all current drivers so this could be a good place to start. We will again rule out the defending champion (16/1) until he proves that his car is up to a competitive level. Fernando Alonso (20/1) drove a rather unremarkable race last time to finish 5th and I doubt he will improve enough to win here even though his wet weather record is decent. Raikkonen (50/1) also falls under this bracket and Jenson Button (16/1) is worthy of serious consideration given the forecast and his performance last week. If the Englishman can qualify slightly better, he will have a great chance.
Other than these, Kevin Magnussen (18/1) drove out of his skin to finish 3rd on debut. If he can replicate that drive and prove he can handle the conditions, he’s another major player to ruffle some feathers in the Mercedes camp. Naturally, Lewis Hamilton (7/4) and Nico Rosberg (9/4) dominate the market. If I had to select my most likely winner, it would be Lewis Hamilton. He is phenomenal given tough conditions and as long as the car gets round, I don’t see the Mercedes getting beat. That being said 7/4 is still far too short given he failed to complete 5 laps last time out and he can certainly go and win at that price without my money. Daniel Ricciardo (22/1) proved that he is not just there to be Vettel’s back-up by finishing 2nd in his home grand prix. He certainly raised a few eyebrows and he looked the real deal. I don’t see him challenging here but if you really like Red Bull and have Vettel at 16/1 or Ricciardo at 22/1, this is a bit of a no-brainer.
I am yet to mention Williams and it’s no surprise given my love of Massa (16/1) last time that I can envisage him going well again this week. Bottas (16/1) is another who I could get onside with this week. Massa given his experience would be the selection from these two although don’t be surprised if Valtteri does go close. The other cars don’t look to be challenging at the top end although Hulkenberg in the Force India should prove fruitful if you’re backing top 10 finishes.
I will not be surprised if Mercedes finish 1-2 here and like last time, they can go and race at the offered prices. To save myself from another procession, I will be looking at the W/O Mercedes market offered by BetVictor. We are going to give Jenson Button (4/1) another go and Kimi Raikkonen at 16/1 is worth a chance. I think experience here will be key and for that reason, I’ve ruled out Magnussen, Bottas and Ricciardo amongst others. Fernando Alonso (7/1) is half the price of his partner and I can see why he is shorter but that seems too short. As mentioned, he does drive very well in the wet and he could well have another top 5 performance.
We will also have a smaller bet on the forecast prediction of our weather superstars. Hamilton in the best car with his talent will be in and we’ll keep up the love affair with Jenson; Button is especially good when the conditions are constantly changing and this could well be the case this weekend. The forecast of Hamilton-Button is 16/1 and that finishes our selections.
MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX ADVICE
Jenson Button 4/1 – 1 point (WITHOUT MERCEDES)
Kimi Raikkonen 16/1 – 0.5 points (WITHOUT MERCEDES)
Hamilton/Button Straight Forecast 16/1 – 0.5 points (FORECAST)