It’s a weekend of unknowns as Formula 1 races in Saudi Arabia for the first time around the ultra fast Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Concerns over safety have been dismissed but the potential for crashes and chaos means that any driver could be in the right place at the right time to profit if things go their way.
At the head of the field, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will be hoping to carry on recent form that has made them comfortable winners in Brazil and Qatar while Red Bull will need to get its house (and rear wing) in order to overturn the momentum in the title fight.
With two rounds to go, finding the bargains and making the most of differentials is vital. Here are the picks to consider for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
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Valtteri Bottas is the sole price riser this weekend. The Finn had the misfortune of suffering a puncture while looking set to take third position last weekend after starting sixth, such was his and Mercedes’ pace in Qatar on Sunday. He might be a good value pick again at 23.3m.
Ferrari’s recent resurgence in the title fight against McLaren for third in the constructors’ standings means it is the only team to go up in value from last time out. Now valued at 19.1m, it’s 0.6m more expensive than the Woking-based team.
There are three price fallers from the Qatar Grand Prix and the reading isn’t good for McLaren. Both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo have both fallen in value since the last race, dropping to 13.9m and 15.7m respectively.
Sergio Perez has also dropped by 0.1m, with the Mexican now costing 18.5m.
McLaren is the only team to dip in value from the last race weekend. It is now down to 18.5m.
A Ferrari asset looks like a good investment this weekend. The team has comfortably out-scored McLaren in the past four races and while luck might have played a part in the Qatar GP, the Scuderia has had the measure of its rivals in recent rounds by some margin.
Likewise, Mercedes has appeared to have the edge over Red Bull since the Mexican GP so picking at least one of its drivers looks like a good investment. Whether that’s Lewis Hamilton for the race win or Valtteri Bottas, who looked likely to make up plenty of places until his puncture last time out, either of the two is a reasonable call.
Ones to avoid
Daniel Ricciardo either can’t catch a break or can’t match a mate. Norris has had the better results of the two McLaren drivers this season and the Australian has shown no signs of bettering the younger talent as of late. His Monza win was a well-deserved reward for a team on the recovery after fallow years but Ricciardo has hardly set the world ablaze in 2021 both in the F1 and Fantasy standings.
AlphaTauri’s season has been a tale of two drivers. As Pierre Gasly secures points finish after points finish, rookie Yuki Tsunoda can’t come close to his team-mate and has cost his team plenty of points this year.
Alpine made the most of a difficult weekend for the Faenza team to steal a march for fifth in the constructors’ standings but it appears to be in the hands of the Frenchman if it hopes to secure any kind of strong result.
Top % picks
Norris, Verstappen and Gasly remain the top three drivers picked by players, though George Russell is now tied with the AlphaTauri driver, both being owned by 46% of players.
Red Bull is still the top team percentage-wise with 46% ownership heading into the penultimate race of the season while McLaren is next best on 27%. Ferrari has risen in value but is still selected by few players, totalling just 12% in comparison to its championship rival.
Chips to play
Quick reminder, you have a wildcard and mega driver chip to play before the end of the 2021 season, if you haven’t played them already.
The wildcard chip will give you free rein to make as many as 15 driver and constructor changes until the pre-qualifying deadline on Saturday.
The Mega driver chip will give the driver of your choice the privilege of a x3 score this weekend, so pick wisely and you could be making major strides in your mini leagues ahead of the final race.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix picks
Valtteri Bottas (23.3m)
Sergio Perez (18.5m)
Charles Leclerc (17.6m)
Pierre Gasly (11.9m)
Sebastian Vettel (15.1m)