Heavy rain at Silverstone meant it took over two-and-a-half hours to complete yesterday’s qualifying session. That’s longer than most races take.
The eventual result was a disappointment for those rooting for the British drivers: Lewis Hamilton down in eighth, Paul di Resta 10th and Jenson Button a shocking 16th (these positions will change slightly after penalties are applied).
It’s hard to make a case for betting on any of them. Hamilton didn’t look quick enough in either session today to recommend picking him, even at odds of 9.00. Di Resta doesn’t have the car – as his odds of 125.00 reflect – and Button is surely too far back even to consider backing at a price of 40.00.
But as conditions remain unpredictable there are some other promising names you should take a look at.
Schumacher in the hunt
Inevitably, pole sitter Fernando Alonso is on the shortest odds to win – just 3.00. But unusually the driver starting directly behind him has much longer odds.
That driver is Michael Schumacher, who starts this race where he finished the last one: third. At 9.00 to win in the Mercedes, a car that has already won once this year, he looks like decent value.
Schumacher’s longer odds perhaps reflect his poor position in the championship. He’s down in 13th after a troubled start to the season, mainly due to technical problems on his car. But the seven-time champion bounced back in a big way at the European Grand Prix two weeks ago, claiming his first podium position since returning to the sport in 2010.
His last F1 win was in the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix – a race which was affected by the kind of wet conditions we’ve seen all weekend at Silverstone.
Schumacher was in fine form in qualifying. He started the top ten shoot-out on the deeply-grooved wet tyres while his rivals used the intermediates. Having decided that was the wrong option, a quick change to intermediates allowed him to snatch third place with a late effort.
What will the weather do?
After the session Schumacher paid tribute to the hardy Silverstone fans who have suffered through traffic chaos and dreadful rain.
The weather has been a big story this weekend. So far only the final hour of practice was run on a dry track. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the race will be wet. The forecast for Sunday is a little ambiguous. There will be plenty of rain about, but it won’t necessarily fall during the race.
Who stands to benefit most if the track stays dry? The rather dull answer is Alonso, for he starts from pole position and was quickest in the dry final practice session.
Another option for a dry race is Kimi Raikkonen. He starts sixth on the grid and is priced at 20.00 to win. The Lotus looked good in final practice, the E20 chassis suiting Silverstone’s combination of high-speed corners and an abrasive track surface. Raikkonen qualified on row three despite his Kinetic Energy Recovery System (an electrical power boost) not working. His team should have that fixed for the race, so expect him to be even more competitive.
Silverstone open to all on Sunday
The unprecedented weather led Silverstone to take the unusual step of urging fans not to park in their car parks on Saturday, to give them a chance to make repairs elsewhere in time for race day.
Silverstone have now lifted those restrictions and are encouraging all fans with tickets to attend. However they urge fans to be patient getting into the track and to leave extra-early so they don’t miss the race.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula 1 blog F1 Fanatic.