Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Final Championship Results 2014 (and Abu Dhabi results)

The finish to this prediction league championship was akin to some of the F1 championship deciders in the past - unpredictable, crazy and contentious. The points difference was very close and the Red Bull disqualification unfortunately changed the outcome. 

As Sangan and Paul Smith discussed here that the rules in the FAQ state FIA classification is final, which means Red Bull were excluded from the qualifying results. I feel it's a very unfair way for the championship to end and numerous thoughts have crossed my mind about changing the rules etc.

I've taken counsel from Nat, Michael and Sangan himself and while I don't feel good about it, they've all re-iterated that the rules are the rules. Sangan has made it clear he has no intention of accepting the championship as a result of a 'rule change' as he put it.

This underlines his class and Sangan can be incredibly proud of an amazing year - a year where he won twice and finished on the podium seven times. Given the closeness of the battle, I've also given Sangan the opportunity to vet the results and all of my workings and he's happy with everything. 

As a result of a long overdue Nat maiden victory (to go along with 10 other top five finishes) Marussia were catapulted into first place in the Constructors. Admittedly Nat has been a huge part of our success during the year (10-6 head-to-head record against me) and I'd honestly install him as favourite for the prediction league next year, a claim he'd probably deny! Hopefully (somehow) this victory will send positive energy towards Jules and the team in general so they can both recover to good health.

Huge commiserations to Sangan and Dragan, who again fought fantastically throughout the year. Both of you are excellent pickers and would have been worthy champions. It's been a rocky road but I feel your time will come, perhaps next year!

I've published the results like I usually do but if anyone else wants to see their season results etc. and for me to go into more detail, please let me know.

Race Review

The F1 race was reasonably good, about average for this year. Hamilton's superlative start off the line meant Rosberg had a mountain to climb. Unfortunately terminal problems on his car meant his race got progressively impacted but huge respect to him for wanting to finish the race. Mercedes attempted to retire his car before Hamilton lapped him but Nico was having none of it!

Wow. Daniel Ricciardo also put in a scintillating drive to finish 4th from the pitlane. The class difference was evident compared to Vettel who once again was unable to be clinical when it counted. Ricciardo has been phenomenal this year.

In what may have been Button's last race in F1 (a travesty if ever there was one), he excelled and recorded another top five finish. That brings the points total to 126 (compared to Magnussen's 55). I'm a fan of Magnussen but surely an Alonso/Button pairing will bring most success to McLaren-Honda. Ferrari will not be happy with their finish to the season and the prospect of having Vettel and Raikkonen (two drivers who have suffered this year) may be slightly unnerving as they need to deliver a strong car for the two of them to exploit effectively.

I could go on more but want to leave you with the final standings.

Final Championship standings






Podium facts
Nat's maiden win
Aled Lewis' 4th podium of the season and 5th overall

Kim's 3rd podium finish of the season and 8th overall (tied 5th)
 
Current streaks 

Nat - 11 points finishes (best points streak ever, new record!)
Kiszol - 8 points finishes
Kim - 5 points finishes
Marussia - 16 points finishes
McLaren - 13 points finishes
Ferrari - 10 points finishes
Red Bull - 8 points finishes

Streak ended
Joe - 2 podium finishes (tied 3rd)
Chris Grigson - 6 points finishes

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Abu Dhabi 2014 (Final Round) - F1 Prediction League

Welcome to the Abu Dhabi GP prediction league thread! 

A fantastic weekend is in store with the title hanging in the balance. There are many defining battles throughout the field past the battle for the title, including the battle for fourth in the championship between Vettel, Alonso and Bottas. There are other questions surrounding the weekend, will this be Button's last F1 race!? Hopefully not as he still has tons of talent. Will Alonso be confirmed at McLaren? And will Vettel see out the end of his Red Bull career in style? 

Given the positions in the championship, Sangan is in the nice place of only having to score 12 points or so to win the league (out of a possible 25). It's all dependent on season and midseason too as 9 points is enough if they stay static. Don't forget the Constructors championship is still up for grabs too, Sangan and Dragan sit pretty in those standings too but Marussia could still turn this around.

Happy to accept new entrants (the rules/FAQ thread may be of help) and hoping to see all of our established players back for the final race. Please just make a comment at the end of my post using the template later in this thread. There's one final opportunity to win a race this season - who will take this golden opportunity!?
For new players, please stipulate whether you want to join Toro Rosso, Force India or Caterham. Team places will be given on a first come, first served basis.

Read on for the random questions, championship standings and a template to post picks.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Entering the Lair of the Honey Badger: How Will Kvyat Stack Up Against Ricciardo in 2015?

In amongst the understandable excitement that surrounded two of F1’s biggest name drivers playing musical seats, the story of the dominant team of recent years signing a relatively unproven rookie was rather neglected. 

Red Bull’s rather bizarre urgency to confirm that Daniil Kvyat (pictured on the right) would be replacing the departing Sebastian Vettel made one wonder if there was a risk that if the seat was left open for more than 24 hours that Pastor Maldonado would jump in it. 

Kvyat’s promotion to the senior team is in line with Red Bull’s policy of selecting drivers only from their Young Drivers Programme, which they have invested heavily in and which has borne some impressive results in the form of Vettel, Ricciardo and rising stars Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. Kvyat’s promotion did little to improve the mood of Jean-Eric Vergne, who looked understandably p*ssed off ever since he was told ‘merci for the memories Jean-Eric’ by Toro Rosso (although there's a chance he may retain his seat). 

So were Red Bull right to promote Kvyat? And how will he get on against the all-conquering Daniel Ricciardo?

To find some answers, we’re going to use JEV as a benchmark, and compare him against both Ricciardo and Kvyat to gauge the young Russian’s abilities. We’ll look at qualifying, race performance and key moments from the Russian’s fledgling F1 career. A couple of caveats we’ve kept in mind are:

a) Kvyat is up against a more experienced and, it’s safe to assume we feel, improved JEV compared to the driver that Ricciardo faced.
b) Unlike Kvyat, Ricciardo was not a complete rookie when he joined Toro Rosso, having enjoyed half a season in the mighty HRT.

Both of the above obviously advantage Ricciardo. Another point is that Ricciardo and Vergne competed under a previous set of regulations, and we don’t know how well each has adapted to the 2014 regs relative to each other, so that puts a question mark over the comparisons. 

Qualifying

 


* average time difference only applies to dry sessions, and their last comparable time. If one driver exits in Q1 track evolution may give a misleading comparison.

In their two years together, Ricciardo amassed a staggering 27-4 dry qualifying head to head record against Vergne (4-4 in wet qualifying). In their first season together Dan was, on average, 0.314 seconds per lap quicker in dry qualifying across the year, which improved to 0.428 seconds in 2013. 


In comparison, Kvyat this year (as of the Russian GP) leads Vergne 9-4 in dry qualifying (Vergne is ahead 3-2 in the wet). On average, he is 0.156 seconds per lap quicker than Vergne in the dry this season.

A couple of conclusions jump out here, one of which is that Ricciardo is an exceptionally strong qualifier, as has become increasingly evident this season as he has outqualified Vettel 10-7 (8-4 in the dry). On raw data alone, it appears that over one lap Ricciardo has a fairly significant advantage - 2-3 tenths on average over Kvyat. However, accounting for our two important caveats above we can see a much closer picture. We feel that the JEV of 2014 is likely to be slightly quicker per lap than in 2012, and when this is taken into account there’s not much between Ricciardo and Kvyat in qualifying pace based on their rookie Toro Rosso year. It should be noted that overall Ricciardo does seem quicker especially off the back of the 2013 year. 

Interestingly Kvyat seems to be getting on top of his battle with Vergne towards the end of 2014 with three significant performances in Russia, United States and Brazil (see below).



Time difference in qualifying between JEV and Ricciardo/Kvyat in dry qualifying sessions. Ricciardo denoted by the blue diamond (2012) and the red square (2013). Kvyat is the green triangle (2014). Any shapes above the middle line indicate that JEV outqualified Ricciardo/Kvyat, shapes below are the opposite. This is a useful comparison which helps to compare abilities on different tracks.


Race



* results have been counted at the point where either driver retired, unless the leading driver caused their own retirement through collision damage. This is counted as a loss. Where there is significant doubt about the result or one driver is handicapped from the 1st lap results are not counted.

For race performance analysis we’re more interested in head to head record than points tally. Points rarely paint the whole picture (and sometimes present completely the wrong one), especially in a smaller team where one strong finish could skew the results. A good example is Vergne’s 6that this season’s Singapore GP. Whilst an impressive drive, Vergne benefitted from a number of quicker drivers running into issues (Button, Rosberg, Bottas, Raikkonen) and also a safety car that played into his hands.

Unsurprisingly, Ricciardo’s qualifying dominance gave him an edge on race day, and in 2 car finishes he led Vergne 8-7 in head to head in 2012, which improved to 6-3 in 2013. Although Dan’s superior head to head record translated into a 20-13 points advantage in 2013, Vergne actually outscored Dan 16-10 in 2012 due to his quintet of 8th placed finishes, whilst Dan was busy racking up 9ths and 10ths. What is quite impressive though is that Vergne’s 31-8 qualifying head to head deficit (including wet and dry) was reduced to just a 14-10 race head to head deficit in 2 car finishes. It indicates that JEV is much stronger in the race than in qualifying.

Although Vergne has scored nearly three times the points of Kvyat this year (22-8), many of his points came from that one 6th placed finish in Singapore. In 2 car finishes the picture is closer, with Vergne leading the head to head 7-5. Again Vergne has fought back in the race.

Kvyat’s race head to head stacks up reasonably against what Dan was able to do competing with Vergne in his first year at Toro Rosso. Kvyat is currently 7-5 down, Dan finished 8-7 up. Given the caveats about Dan’s extra experience at HRT and Vergne’s improvement since 2012 this reflects pretty well on Kvyat, especially if he can build on lessons learnt this year.


Key moments



A Formula One Driver is also defined by their outstanding drives and the devastating mistakes that they make, so we’re going to explore some of the most significant moments of this year for Kvyat. Kvyat crushed Vergne in both Spa (quicker all weekend) and Monza (started from the back, brakes failed at the end and still beat him). It’s notable though that these races followed the announcement that Toro Rosso were letting the Frenchman go at the end of this year, and Vergne cut a pretty dejected figure during this point of the season.

On the other hand Kvyat was completely beaten for pace in Hungary, lost out in Japan despite Vergne starting from the back, and then had a shocker in Singapore (hindered though by an issue with his drinks bottle during the race). The recent weekend in Russia was a tough one for the young Russian, as a stunning 5th place in qualifying was followed by a nightmare race as he fluffed the start and then ruined his tyres unsuccessfully battling with other cars later in the race, eventually finishing around 15 seconds behind his teammate. It doesn’t look good that at his home race of the season and first full race weekend after being promoted he chucked in one of his worst races of the year.


Conclusions..



So just how good is Russia’s finest (F1 driver)? Pretty good, we think. He compares well with Dan in his first year as a Toro Rosso driver – not as quick over one lap or in the race but close. A lot though will depend on how Kvyat develops over the next couple of years. Dan made a big step forward from 2012 to 2013 when compared to Vergne, and is now a very strong driver. It’s impossible for us to judge whether Kvyat will make similarly impressive strides. We wouldn’t be surprised if the more experienced Australian beats him heavily next year, especially in qualifying, but we should see glimpses of just how good Kvyat can be.

The bad news for Kvyat (if being given the chance to drive a Red Bull can ever be bad news) is that he will need to get up to speed quite quickly. If the hype is to be believed about young Max Verstappen, then the flying Dutchman could be breathing down his neck for a Red Bull seat in 2017 or even 2016 if his rookie year is Hamilton-esque. If Kvyat doesn’t match up well to Dan within a couple of years he may find himself on the F1 sidelines, along with a number of other former Red Bull protégés.

And a quick word for poor old JEV. His very respectable record against Dan, and Dan’s consequent thumping of Vettel this year show him to be at the very least deserving of a seat in F1, certainly over drivers like Sutil, Gutierrez and Ericsson. Hopefully a team snaps him up next year. Red Bull concluded that JEV doesn’t have the potential to reach the level that Ricciardo is operating at now (and based on the stats we’d agree – Ricciardo made a bigger step forward than JEV in 2013 and seems to have leapt forward again this year), but he’s still a good driver.

Was promoting Kvyat after just one season the right move for Red Bull? Both Ricciardo and Vettel had two years at Toro Rosso, plus time at other teams before that before being promoting to the big time. It will be tough for Daniil to make the jump after one season, especially with the radio restrictions for 2015. We don’t doubt his potential to be a top driver, but it’s hard not to feel that this is a year too early, which will hurt the team’s hopes of clawing back the Constructors’ Championship from Mercedes in 2015

In the end though they didn’t have many other options. They had already determined that JEV isn’t good enough to drive for the senior team, and it would be against their policy of sticking with their Young Drivers Programme to pick someone else (like the exceptionally capable Alonso). In the end it’s not an ideal option, but it’s the best available given Vettel’s twitchy feet. 

Positively Ricciardo has proven himself capable of leading the team’s charge for the Drivers’ Championship so we can see why it was a straightforward decision for Red Bull.

How Kvyat compares against the stand out driver of 2014 will be one of a number of great storylines to follow next season. We feel that if he can score at least 70% of the points that Dan scores next year then that’s a very impressive result.



Nathaniel Smith and Scott Williams 

Should Mercedes Have Pitted Hamilton on Lap 27? (Brazil 2014)


This is an analysis about whether Lewis Hamilton would have overtaken Nico Rosberg had he pitted on lap 27 (in the second round of pitstops). Hamilton unfortunately spun on lap 28 which jeopardised his race chances. Many sources are suggesting Hamilton had enough time in-hand to jump Rosberg, Mercedes deny this allegation. We jump in to find the truth behind the matter!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Brazil Results and Championship Standings (18/19)

First off, congratulations to Sangan and Dragan who take the lead in both championships! Sangan's lead in the championship is almost unassailable, barring reliability issues, due to a massive 28-point swing this weekend.

While some of their competitors looked to the skies (Red Bull's best chance of victory) and cursing the promise of rain, Massa and Williams strolled to a podium and the best constructor score.

The success of Massa (not without precedent given his victories in 2006 and 2008) resulted in a perfect Lotus 1-2 (scoring 25 and 24 points respectively including a 1-2 in random). This is the fourth time a team has scored a 1-2 this year (2 for Marussia, 1 for Williams and now 1 for Lotus) but none have been this dominant. The nearest competitor finished 11 points behind!

The Constructors Championship is still open but relies on a big point score for the Marussia pair. 

Other notable mentions include Nat breaking the all-time consecutive points record, now with 10 points finishes in a row, and Joe scoring his fifth podium of the season. Ferrari are now improving with Chris and Joe really hitting their stride in recent races. 

It's been a thrilling year so join us in Abu Dhabi to witness the climax to this unpredictable season.

Championship standings



 
 




Podium facts
Sangan's 2nd win of the season (tied 2nd) and 3nd overall (tied 3rd)
Dragan's 4th podium of the season and 10th overall (3rd)

Joe's 5th podium finish of the season (3rd) and 8th overall (tied 5th)
 
Current streaks 

Joe - 2 podium finishes (tied 3rd)
Nat - 10 points finishes (best points streak ever, new record!)
Kiszol - 7 points finishes

Chris Grigson - 6 points finishes
Kim - 4 points finishes
Marussia - 15 points finishes
McLaren - 12 points finishes
Ferrari - 9 points finishes
Red Bull - 7 points finishes

Streaks ended
Scott - 7 points finishes

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Brazil 2014 (Round 18) - F1 Prediction League

Welcome to the Brazilian GP prediction league thread! A fantastic weekend is in store with storms looming, although the thought of rain unfortunately brings back memories of the Japan race.

Perhaps it is only fitting Marussia can wrap up the title here, needing only 18 more points than Lotus and 7 points more than McLaren. It’s difficult but not impossible, both Marussia drivers will undoubtedly be pushing hard to make it a reality!

The driver’s championship will go down to the final race, with Michael tight in the slipstream lining up an overtake and Sangan not far behind. Let’s make this one to remember. 

There’s plenty still to play for in the prediction league regardless of both championships including the glory of an individual race weekend win. There are a number of people throughout the field deserving of a win that haven’t quite had the luck. For example Nat who has so far scored 10 (out of 14) top 5 finishes but no victory...

Perhaps the storms will also provide one last non-Mercedes winner this season although the rain often exaggerates the gap from Mercedes to the rest of the field so I wouldn’t count it.

The random this time will be a mixture of driver groupings (think teammate domination style), Felipe Massa questions and tie-breaks.

Read on for the random and other information including team contracts, championship standings and a template to post picks.

Monday, 3 November 2014

United States 2014 Results and Championship Standings (17/19)

The decisive moment
Hamilton does it again! The title is now out of Rosberg's hands but there may still be heartbreak at the last race if Mercedes encounter reliability problems or Hamilton puts in two sub par performances.

Other notable mentions in the race include the excellent Daniel Ricciardo, who once again put his teammate in the shadows, and Pastor Maldonado, who scored his first points of the season.

Ricciardo was particularly impressive as a series of brilliant overtakes and bursts of speed saw the young Aussie jump from 9th/10th on the first lap to the podium. Well done! This has huge implications for the prediction league too.

The crowd goes crazy as MICHAEL WINS THE US GP! 

A lot of silly season nonsense was ended with the following announcements:
Note: none concern Alonso and his involvement in the prediction league.

Ferrari

Ferrari have signed Joe Watson and Chris Grigson to lead their charge next season. In a bold press conference Marco Mattiacci stated both drivers had put the team ahead of their own needs and that he couldn't thank them enough. He also praised their skill in delivering three top four finishes in as many races. Mattiacci promised an improvement on Ferrari's worst year ever, currently in 7th in the constructors championship, building up to an onslaught on the title in 2016. 


Red Bull

Red Bull have signed Ediglo as number two driver to Kiszol, who is currently 5th in the drivers championship. Christian Horner was extremely critical of the Renault engines, stating only one word did justice to the disgrace they were and that word was cucumber! He also said they were considering replacing the engine with a couple of horses. The team expect to be challenging for both titles next year regardless of which animal they employ.

Mercedes

Finally Mercedes have signed Aled Lewis to accompany Metalgatherer into the 2015 season. Toto Wolff claimed Aled Lewis' two wins and a podium were instrumental in the decision but that he, Niki and Paddy wanted more consistency going forward. 

As mentioned before, Ricciardo's excellent race and utter ruthlessness in the face of Williams' inadequate strategy has given Michael a weekend to remember. The gap at the top of the championship is now paper thin and promises an extremely entertaining end to the season, also don't forget Sangan who is within touching distance. Good luck Michael and Sangan! 

Championship standings



Podium facts
Michael's 2nd win of the season and 2nd overall
Joe's 4th podium finish of the season (tied 3rd) and 7th overall (tied 6th)
Paul's 2nd podium finish of the season and 4th overall (tied 10th)

Current streaks
Nat - 9 points finishes (tied 1st, personal best)
Scott - 7 points finishes
Kiszol - 6 points finishes

Marussia - 14 points finishes
McLaren - 11 points finishes
Ferrari - 8 points finishes
Red Bull - 6 points finishes

Streaks ended
Scott - 2 win streak


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

United States GP 2014 - F1 Prediction League


Sorry for the delay (I've been travelling on business), thanks to Nat for his contribution to this thread.

Welcome to the US of A for the 17th Grand Prix of a terrific 2014 season. With the title fight going down to the wire and Nico Rosberg desperately needing a win to grab the momentum back off the hard-charging Lewis Hamilton, this weekend could be huge – like everything else in the USA, particularly their burgers.


Less huge will be the Formula One grid this weekend, with both the financially troubled minnows of the sport, Marussia and Caterham, missing the Grand Prix. The news about Marussia was something of a surprise, although Caterham’s cash problems (and ownership issues) have been well-documented in recent months, including an astonishing story that all kinds of key equipment (simulators, development parts and so forth) was to be auctioned off. It prompted this amusing article on the satirical site Sniff Petrol suggesting that Kamui Kobayashi may be the next to be auctioned off.                                                  


It will be a shame to see just 18 cars on the grid this weekend – the lowest since 2005 – and the latest development in what has been a tough month for the sport with Bianchi’s accident in Japan. Bianchi is now a in stable condition, but there’s still a long way to go – our thoughts and wishes are with him.

On the Prediction League front last weekend proved fairly dramatic, with changes at the top of both the Constructors and main Prediction League following Red Bull’s disastrous performance around the Sochi Autodrom. There’s still plenty to play for with both titles remaining closely fought, as they have done all season, and people fighting to retain their seat – or grab a nice shiny new one. Marussia's plunge into administration has huge implications for the PL but Ross Brawn (Team Principal) has convinced Bernie to support him for three more races, before he goes fishing again. Who will come out on top this weekend?

The current championship standings are:



Sunday, 12 October 2014

Russia Results and Championship Standings (16/19)

Russia had Hamilton stamped all over it from FP1 (where he looked faster but failed to hook the sectors up). In FP2, FP3 and qualifying Hamilton excelled and the only moment of the weekend which shifted the balance towards Rosberg was on the run down to turn 2. Clinical from Hamilton who takes a 17 point lead into the rest of the championship - can Rosberg stop his momentum in one of Hamilton's best races?

Fine performances from Valtteri Bottas and Jenson Button led to significant points scored for Williams and McLaren in their respective championship battles with Ferrari and Force India.


In the prediction league  there has been a complete shift in the balance. Red Bull's poor weekend made this the second poorest scoring weekend of the whole championship (after Britain). There has been a change in first, second, third, fourth and fifth in the championship and Nat moves into the top nine after starting in China (Round 4 without season). Also there has been a change at the top of the Constructors Championship.

Championship standings


Podium facts
Scott's 5th win of the season (1st) and 8th overall (1st)
Nat's 4th podium finish of the season (tied 3rd)
Chris's 2nd podium finish of the season

Current streaks
Scott - 2 win streak
Nat - 8 points finishes (tied 2nd, personal best)
Scott - 6 points finishes
Kiszol - 5 points finishes

Marussia - 13 points finishes
McLaren - 10 points finishes
Ferrari - 7 points finishes
Red Bull - 5 points finishes

Streaks ended
Sangan - 8 points finishes (tied 2nd overall)

Sangan - 3 podium finishes (tied 1st)
Lotus - 26 points finishes

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Russia 2014 (Round 16) - F1 Prediction League

A cloud follows F1 to the inaugural Russian GP in Sochi after Bianchi's severe injuries at Suzuka. As stated before, everyone is routing for him to pull through and to recover from his diffuse axonal injury.

Russia had big celebrations planned but these will (rightfully) be toned down despite a Russian driving in F1 (Kvyat) who has just secured a place at the four-time constructors champions, Red Bull. 

The random this week will be based around Kvyat and a few other topical issues.

There are, as always, plenty of interesting threads to this weekend. Will Rosberg be able to stop Hamilton from achieving his second four-win streak of the season? Can Williams overcome Red Bull? Will Fernando actually finish a race? 

For updates on the team hiring situation see the previous post (results from Japan).

The current championship standings are:



Japan Results and Championship Standings (15/19)


First off before anything else, I echo Jenson's tweet. The only positive news so far is that Jules is 'stable' - fingers crossed he can keep fighting and will come through this.

In the last few days Jean Todt reported that Michael Schumacher 'can live a relatively normal life within a short period of time' which is potentially promising news so I'll be hoping for Bianchi.

Apart from the incident the race was quite promising, a first wet race since Brazil 2012. It saw titanic performances from Hamilton and Button. Jenson was on the pace of the Mercedes early in the race and really showed his worth to the McLaren (Honda) team - once again braving the conditions and making his driving in the intermediate conditions pay-off. The Red Bull's also pushed hard and looked impressive throughout with Vettel critically scoring a rare victory over Ricciardo in the race.

Then there's the ongoing Alonso saga and Vettel's departure from Red Bull. Who knows what will happen from here? Alonso claims to hold all of the cards but the only options seem to be: (1) McLaren-Honda (2) somewhere like Lotus (3) a sabbatical (4) refusing to leave Ferrari and (5) three car teams. I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

In the prediction league Sangan extends their lead at the top to nine points, courtesy of a third podium in a row.

Championship standings




Podium facts

Scott's 4th win of the season (1st) and 7th overall (1st)
Sangan's 6th podium finish of the season (tied 1st) and 10th podium overall (2nd)
Kim's 2nd podium finish of the season and 7th overall (6th)

Current streaks
Sangan - 3 podium finishes (tied 1st, personal best)
Sangan - 8 points finishes (tied 2nd, personal best)
Nat - 7 points finishes (tied 6th, personal best)
Scott - 5 points finishes
Kiszol - 4 points finishes

Streaks ended
Michael - 8 points finishes (tied 2nd overall, third time this landmark has been reached by Michael)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Japan 2014 (Round 15) - F1 Prediction League

Suzuka, Japan. One of the best tracks on the calendar - it's always a joy to watch cars attack here, around the S's, the Degners and the Spoon curbs.

For updates on the team hiring situation see the previous post (results from Singapore).

The battle for the championship will be intense here - Rosberg needs to stop Hamilton's momentum (just like at Monaco) but Suzuka has never been his best track. In 2013, he qualified 6th compared to Hamilton's 3rd and in 2012, he qualified 14th compared to Schumacher's 12th. Arguably he needs to be on pole to put doubts in Hamilton's mind but that's going to be very difficult to do.

There are many other thoughts - who will be second best...Red Bull? Williams? Ferrari? Any could feature around the technically demanding Suzuka.

The current championship standings are:



Saturday, 27 September 2014

Singapore Results and Championship Standings (14/19)

Sorry for the delay! This has been an incredibly hectic week and I wanted to think on the most appropriate method of how teams will judge/hire drivers.

If you want to battle for a seat, please post here. See later on in the post for details of team responses and current progress.

Singapore was just the tonic Hamilton needed after a season of ill luck and qualifying mistakes. The qualifying mistake was almost there but he did enough to edge Rosberg and set up a tantalising race. Unfortunately Nico had to retire from mechanical problems. Aside from the luck becoming more equal (it's always great when the better driver wins the championship) the beginning of the race was dulled by the lack of Rosberg's presence.

Cue Perez and Sutil (two of F1's more likely crashers) and the safety car comes out. How Sutil didn't receive a penalty for putting another driver in the wall is beyond me - despite the initiative to let drivers race, in clear cut cases like this penalties should be applied. 

The safety car took 7 long laps (it felt like 100) to sort itself out (way too long and I agree it would be better to make lapped cars fall to the back of the pack - it could be done instantly and would solve so many problems). 

The race from that moment was exciting - Hamilton had to push, on reasonably old super softs, in an impressive display of driving. This was remniscent of Vettel last year at Singapore or some of Schumacher's race stints in the past.

So all-in-all we had another good race. There have been so few bad races this year which is positive for the sport!

Onto the prediction league, congratulations to Sangan (2nd win), ediglo (5th podium) and Aled Lewis (4th podium)!

This was one of the closest weekends in prediction league history with 8 drivers separated by one point at the top. There were multiple ways to get to that score with the relatively unfavoured Ricciardo winning qualifying and relatively unfavoured Vettel winning race.

Sangan's strong weekend extended their advantage out in front for both the championship standings and constructors.

Here are the championship standings:




  

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Singapore 2014 (Round 14) - F1 Prediction League

Welcome to the Singapore prediction league thread! Things are heating up at the top of the PL with only five points separating first and second. 

Singapore is always a spectacle, not always completely entertaining but there have been enough exciting races to merit its place on the calendar. The night lights and the intensity of driving the cars here adds something different to many other locations.

There are many questions: Can Hamilton keep up the pressure on Rosberg? Or will this be a decisive blow to his title hopes like 2010 and 2012? Also will Ferrari fare better on a track less dependent on engine power? Di Montezemolo has stepped down so they will be hoping their fortunes turn soon.

2015 Contracts

It's that time of the year again, it is time to claim your stake in your preferred Constructor next year. Please see the table below for team moods:


Either post in the comments below or in the speculation thread. This can be a re-iteration of your commitment to your current team (with potential wage increases) or an offer to drive for another team. Typically once an offer has been made to take another seat, there will be a battle between the current driver and the offerer over three or so races. Depending on the current situation within a team the incumbent driver sometimes will have a positive handicap so the offerer needs to do something special to take their seat.

Teams will often decline offers straight off if they are very happy with their current drivers (e.g. Lotus) so you'll need to balance how realistic the bid is (based on your constructors points and past year performances) versus how happy each team are with their drivers.

Note: it's possible to make a maximum of two offers at once, including your current team. Each team will only consider three offers at once.

Without further ado let’s introduce the championship standings:


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Random


Thanks to everyone who has helped so far on random this year - please feel free to post suggestions here for other races. Michael helped with the random this time.

Predict the order of the full qualifying grid by highest classified car (e.g. Williams will finish ahead of Red Bull if they qualify 3rd and 17th while Red Bull qualify 4th and 5th) per Constructor. For each Constructor predict the driver who will do better across the weekend and whether the Constructor will finish higher, lower or the same in the race. 

For example:

1. Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton, Same
2. Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel, Same
3. Williams, Felipe Massa, Lower
4. Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, Higher
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

Scoring

Qualification order

3 points will be scored for predicting the position of a team exactly right, 2 points for being one away and 1 point for being two away.

Driver prediction

1 point for finishing higher in qualifying and 1 point for finishing higher in the race. Both cars must set a time in qualifying and finish the race for the respective points to count. 

Race prediction

2 points will be scored if correct, 1 point if the outcome is one away from succeeding e.g. if same is predicted but the Constructor gains one place.

Note: If neither driver sets a time in qualifying for a team or neither driver finishes in the race then they will be ignored in the calculation. For instance, in the example above if neither Mercedes driver sets a time in qualifying then anyone who stated Red Bull 2nd (with Mercedes 1st) will score maximum points.

Tie-break

What will the gap be between a) Hamilton and Rosberg and b) Alonso and Raikkonen in qualifying? 

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Template


Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes banned.

Feel free to post picks in the following format:

Qualifying: 
Race: 
Constructors:
Random:

[Constructor, Driver, Higher/Same/Lower]
[Constructor, Driver, Higher/Same/Lower] etc.

Tie-break: HAM/ROS: X seconds, ALO/RAI: X seconds

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I'm looking forward to this weekend. As always with the title battle nicely poised (both around evens on most bookmakers) there is plenty of excitement left in this season.

As always picks are due before Free Practice 1.