You may have noticed a sudden upturn in activity on the blog over the past few days, with a bunch new posts and a yet to be released podcast churned out over the weekend we’ll now re-launch an ever popular feature on F1 blogs: GP prediction time. There’s tons of fantasy leagues out there where you can get your inner team principal out, but here at backmarkers F1 we want you armchair generals to put your rep on the line and predict the winners and losers of the GP.
We have absolutely no money whatsoever, no paddock passes, no books, pics or team merchandise to give away as prizes, but we have something no other F1 blog can deliver…following in the footsteps of co-host Matt and his memorable (as in, scarring you for life) Naughty Newey picture going to last years’ winner, this year you stand a chance to win a picture of yours truly in his best Horny Horner pose! If that is not enough incentive for you to join in on the fun and give your predictions, then think about the immense bragging rights you could claim on here and on twitter!
Last year we saw a pretty funky race with Lewis giving us some hope that Vettel could be stopped (oh how foolish we still were back then) with a great win for Mclaren, and even Rosberg was on for a great result until he was forced to save fuel. Aside from that I don’t remember much except that the Ferraris struggled and of course at Lewis’ post race victory party in a Chinese nightclub Adrian Sutil stabbed his F1 career to death.
So what will we be in for in 2012? In the podcast, you’ll also hear Matt and I divulge our predictions, but let’s get into some details right here and now and give you a chance to share yours. The teams will have brought upgrades for China as they have no doubt been working flat out in the factory during this 3 week break, but the major updates will have to wait until the Mugello tests ahead of the Spanish GP. This means we can likely expect the current pecking order to remain largely the same at the front, although the field is so tight that an improvement of 1 tenth could mean a few spots higher on the grid for a team that gets their minor updates right. One must fancy the Merc’s chances on the track with the longest straight in F1 (or did India slap on an extra centimeter just so they could claim this stat?) and which is not as aero demanding as Malaysia.
Schumi was only 2 tenths off Hamilton’s pole time in Malaysia, so if he is to do it any time this year, China would be the time. Their W-Duct will prove highly effective on the long straight and overall the car’s been looking fairly handy in qualifying trim at least. Therefore I’m going for broke and predict Schumi’s first pole position since 2006. Second on the grid will be Lewis Hamilton. After all, while he cannot produce the same pace in the race, the man’s’ single lap pace is superb and only a slight mistake will allow Schumi to pip him for 1st. 3rd on the grid will be Raikkonen with a signature performance grabbing the car by the neck and hurling it around the track.
Steve’s Prediction Matt’s Prediction
1. Schumacher 1. Hamilton
2. Hamilton 2. Button
3. Raikkonen 3. Raikkonen
On to the race then, we know we can pretty much write off the Mercs as they only ever move backwards on Sundays, although the volatile weather in China may allow Schumi to grab a podium, I’m not going to predict that this time. Hamilton will also run into some tyre trouble of his own, allowing Raikkonen to complete his comeback with the win in China ahead of Hamilton. Button will come on strong during the race and complete the podium after another classic fight with his teammate.
Following the high from Malaysia Sauber will have a tough time to confirm their pace, as after all they need to unlock more qualifying potential in that car. Without the inspired gamble to put Perez on full wets on lap 2, he would not have been in the position he was and his performance may have gone largely unnoticed, much like Bruno Senna’s. The car is good and at the front of the midfield pack but it’s no front runner in dry conditions so we must guard against drawing too many conclusion from Malaysia. It will be much the same for Ferrari, with Alonso scraping into Q3 and finishing 4-5th on race day with Felipe fighting against the Caterhams for a spot in q2. It may be a rude awakening for Nando and Perez after the high of Sepang..
Steve’s Prediction Matt’s Prediction
1.Raikkonen 1. Hamilton (if Dry)
2.Hamilton 2. Button (to win if wet)
3.Webber 3. Raikkonen
Facepalm of the race:
Had I made these predictions post the past 2 races, Maldonado would have been the definite winner in Australia and for Malaysia I’d have to give it to Sergio Perez’s race engineer for sending that dumb radio message. Button of course was also a prime candidate for driving into Khartikeyan while Vettel’s middle finger and post race hissy fit (a cucumber, really? That’s not even a proper insult!) was also a strong contender. Here I’m taking the safe route and give it to Pastor again. F1s newest crash kid aka the Hitman needs to clear up the red mist in his helmet or I fear he may come to dominate this new segment in our backmarkersF1 predictions. Luckily for him he is set to have some strong competition from Felipe Massa this year when it comes to making us facepalm.
Who will be your winners and losers in China? Will Eric Lux get stabbed again? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @theVillainF1 and @agentmulder5.