Don’t Kerb Your Enthusiasm for a Safety Car Punt

Several drivers have criticised the new kerb design at the Red Bull Ring.

Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions for the Austrian Grand Prix featured thrills and spills and one is willing to gamble on Sunday’s race having its fair share of incidents.

Nico Rosberg, Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez had suspension failures on their respective cars, with the new kerb design at the Red Bull Ring attracting criticism from many drivers on the Formula One grid. Kvyat remarked that he was not in control of his Toro Rosso car’s suspension brakes once he went over the kerbs and Austrian Grand Prix pole sitter Lewis Hamilton commented that the kerbs are dangerous.

Hamilton secured the 54th pole position of his Formula One career with a fantastic flying lap at the end of a superb third qualifying session, with the other major story being the performance of Jenson Button. The British former world champion recorded the fifth fastest time in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix and penalties to quicker qualifiers means that he will start from a better position than that.

With Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel copping grid penalties, the Austrian Grand Prix is Hamilton’s to lose and one does not blame bookmakers for installing him as a hot favourite. But because Rosberg’s Mercedes vehicle experienced problems during the Austrian Grand Prix preliminaries, one is not keen to get stuck into Hamilton at odds-on prices even though he is far and away the likeliest race winner.

SkyBet is offering odds of -125  that the safety car makes at least one appearance during the Austrian Grand Prix. The Red Bull Ring has staged only two editions of the Austrian Grand Prix – 2014 and 2015 – since Dietrich Mateschitz spent some of his considerable fortune on upgrading the circuit to get it back on the Formula One calendar. The 2014 Austrian Grand Prix did not feature a safety car period but it did get on the tarmac during last year’s renewal following the collision between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap. In total, six of the 20 drivers did not finish the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix, with Will Stevens, Button, Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean joining Alonso and Raikkonen in failing to earn a classification.

The make-up of the Austrian Grand Prix grid could lead to mayhem at the first corner when the likes of Rosberg and Vettel try to make early gains at the expense of the likes of Nico Hulkenberg and Button. And then there is the issue of the Red Bull Ring kerbs, something that Austrian Grand Prix officials are not going to be able to fix overnight.

BetVictor is quoting odds of +105  that under 17 and a half drivers finish the Austrian Grand Prix, a bet that requires five or more of the 22 starters not making it to the end.

Seventeen or fewer drivers have finished four of this year’s eight Formula One races so such a wager would have paid off in the Australian Grand Prix, Bahrain Grand Prix, Spanish Grand Prix and Monaco Grand Prix. It would take a brave punter to bet on the Austrian Grand Prix being free of incidents based on what one saw on Friday and Saturday.

Tips Summary

Safety Car to Appear
Sunday 3rd July, 13:00 GMT
Odds:  -125

Under 17.5 Drivers to finish
Sunday 3rd July, 13:00 GMT
Odds:  +105

Austrian Grand Prix
Formula One

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