With no Indian GP of 2010 to look back on I’m off the hook again and can jump straight into our backmarkersF1 prediction madness. But first my sincere apologies for not getting the Korea podcast out, I’m working pretty crazy hours here and our ‘date’ for Sunday recording got blasted out of the water by an impromptu visit to sample some more local brews here, and I figured one drunkcast after Japan was enough for you all to bear. With that out of the way, let’s try our hands at predicting the weekend in India.
It’s already hard enough to predict long established GPs, but when starting on a brand spanking new track it’s even more of a jump in the dark than usual, but we wouldn’t be backmarkersf1 if we didn’t make complete asses out of ourselves making outrageous predictions so here it goes. For once Tilke seems to have dreamed up a fairly interesting track, as he has now finally discovered elevation changes and added in a Turkey Turn 8 lookalike to spice things up instead of his usual bland mickey mouse sector 2. The Mclarens are clearly still pushing hard and there isn’t much between them and the Bulls anymore, so I predict another Hamilton pole.
Of course he’ll get relegated 3 spots after stupidly ignoring yellow flags in FP1 – seriously Lewis, can’t you stay out of trouble for 2 consecutive GPs- so I don’t know if statistics-wise that would still officially count as a pole position. Red Bull are going to take the secret gremlins out of Mark’s car now that Seb has nabbed the WDC and he will outqualify his teammate for only the 4th time this year to grab the pole slot left open by Hamiltons’ mistake.
Vettel will be close but out of pity will not put in that signature stonking final lap in Q3 to let his teammate ahead and save tires for the race, but that will also see him pipped by Button for 3rd – actual 2nd-. Alonso doesn’t give a crap for this season anymore so Felipe will get another morale boosting quali session to beat Alonso…leaving him alongside his good friend Hammy for the race…..
On to the race then, with the hard tire being so much slower than the soft, Ferrari – who despite all their claims have never really gotten on top of their issues with tire warmup- will try to pit for the hards on the very final lap to minimize the time spent on them, but all the other teams will want to do pretty much the same thing.
Clearly with Pirelli bringing back the hard compound tire conservation will be key again, which makes me look to my man JB to notch up another win after Vettel did not pull a 5 second gap in the first laps as he’ll try to give Webbo a chance to win. When they realize Mark is going nowhere, Red Bull will pull a sneaky pitstop swap at the final stint to let Vettel leapfrog Webbo but it will be too late. After a tense final few laps with Vettel on his ass, Button will take the biggest trophy with a humiliated Webber sulking on the 3rd podium spot. Hamilton will keep it clean but lose too much time behind Massa to still be in contention at the flag, although he will pull a brave move which Massa will whine about anyway.
Further down the grid Schumi will put in a solid performance to finish ahead of Rosberg, and I see the Toro Rosso very strong again, with Buemi coming out on top this time as best of the rest. Kobayashi will reaffirm himself against a charging Perez as the Saubers will yet again utilize their cars extreme kindness to the tires to finish both in the top 10.
The Force Indias will finish just outside of the points as both will hit trouble in the team’s spiritual home GP. Senna will wake up and beat Vitaly again because he knows he’ll need strong performances in these final races to have a chance at a seat for next year. The Lotuses will be racing hard with Williams and beat Rubinho to the flag, putting some more nails in his coffin.
There may even be points on the board for them if someone pulls a Liuzzi at some point in the race but chances are slim as the weekend is predicted to be bonedry and there’s 2 DRS zones which will make overtaking stupidly easy again so drivers won’t need to take many risks.
- Hamilton – but dropped 3 spots
Feeling lucky..think you can win Matt’s naughty newey picture..then share your predictions now in the comments below.