F1 Fantasy: Tips for the French Grand Prix

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Top F1 Fantasy picks and predictions for the 2021 French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard

2019 French GP race start

Who will be the best option for the 2021 French GP?

Grand Prix Photo

Things should be a little calmer at Le Castellet after the dramatic ending in Baku but who will be the ones propping up your F1 Fantasy teams and who will be dragging you down the leagues this time?

Paul Ricard has a little bit more margin for error than the Baku street circuit but there will be favourites and there are certainly ones you will want to avoid at all costs.

Max Verstappen sits atop the drivers’ championship and the F1 Fantasy standings too. Rival Lewis Hamilton has dropped in price since the start of the 2021 season but is still the most expensive driver asset.

It’s a similar story on the constructors’ front too as Red Bull continues to be better value-for-money than the Mercedes option but both are sizeable investments that will take a chunk of your budget with them.

So where should you be spending your allowance and who should you be avoiding for this weekend’s French Grand Prix? Here is a rundown of favourable picks for your fantasy team.

 

Post-Friday practice update

Friday practice has wrapped up and revealed a little more ahead of the weekend you’ll be wanting to take into consideration.

Despite the pressure being on in the build-up to the weekend, Valtteri Bottas has started very strongly in France to lead FP1 and finish narrow runner-up in FP2 by just 0.008sec to Max Verstappen.

So far, he’s comfortably had the measure of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and during the race simulations, had the best pace of anybody, closely followed by the Dutch Red Bull driver.

Further down the grid, Alpine has been the surprise package so far though it’s difficult to read into the team’s pace with the potential for ‘glory runs’ on home soil. If their pace is genuine, Fernando Alonso’s race stint on the hard compound tyres would be very encouraging. The Spaniard kept pace with the Ferraris on a tyre that was a step harder than those used by the Maranello men and comfortably quicker than Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo on soft and medium tyres respectively.

McLaren seems to be in trouble this weekend in the midfield battle. Neither Norris or Ricciardo looked that strong on the race simulations and their one-lap pace wasn’t the best either.

 

Solid choices

World championship leader, F1 Fantasy front-runner. Max Verstappen is the best option you can have for the guarantee of fighting for poles and wins without breaking the bank. At $25.5m, the Dutch driver is a solid choice for your main points scorer and leaves enough of a budget left to fill out your other spots.

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Verstappen has won twice this season but his total could easily be twice that without one mistake and one 200mph slice of misfortune but with rival Hamilton being the only driver above the $30m mark, the choice between the two should be fairly straightforward.

A battle between McLaren and Ferrari has so far been headed up by Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc respectively. The two have been trading better finishes against one another as they lead their respective teams against new arrivals as team-mates.

In F1 Fantasy terms though, Norris leads the way comfortably as the cheaper asset with more points, 183pts to Leclerc’s 128. At $13.9m versus $18.2m, the spending can be lowered too with the McLaren man.

Either team could be selected as a strong constructor option though keep in mind that Ferrari is still set as $1m more than McLaren despite having fewer points so far this season.

 

Potential picks

Sergio Perez, 2021 Baku

Perez’s Baku win has brought a lot of confidence for the Red Bull man

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After his first victory with Red Bull, Sergio Perez was positive he’d finally understood how to drive the RB16B and what he was missing before during the first five rounds.

The Mexican’s declaration makes him an intriguing option then as he’s just $0.1m more expensive than Leclerc. If he has gotten to grips with the car at his disposal, combined with Red Bull’s improved performances this season, he could very well become a repeat winner in 2021 sooner rather than later.

Likewise, Sebastian Vettel appears to have made rapid progress over the past two race weekends, starring in Monaco to jump Pierre Gasly and Hamilton in the pit stops before scoring his first Aston Martin podium in Baku last time out.

Pierre Gasly showed how good he is yet again snatching an unlikely podium finish for AlphaTauri amid the chaos unfolding around him. It was a slow start for Gasly in 2021 though he’s been making gains each weekend and Azerbaijan was his best yet, even before the podium. His $11.7m price tag is an attractive one too.

Likewise, compatriot Esteban Ocon has been consistently out-performing Fernando Alonso in an impressive opening phase to the season. His run of consecutive points finishes came to an end in Baku but that was the fault of his car rather than any driver error. At $10.4m, he’s the least expensive Alpine asset.

Keep an eye on Fernando Alonso ($14.7m) though. The two-time champion scored his best result of the year in Baku and finally looks to be getting settled in at the team. While Ocon will have the added boost of being at home this weekend, Alonso is getting quicker with each race.

 

Underperformers

Valtteri Bottas, 2021 Baku

Bottas has made his worst start to a season with Mercedes

Grand Prix Photo

The dismal season of Daniel Ricciardo continued in Baku as the Australian binned his McLaren in qualifying, going out in Q2.

His form has been gradually improving but he’s yet to put together a clean weekend from start to finish without its issues. While team-mate Norris continues to shine, Ricciardo’s lack of points both in the drivers’ championship and F1 Fantasy table is tough to ignore. The $16.0m price tag should already alert you to better options at that price point so until the Honey Badger gets some bite back, steer clear.

Valtteri Bottas’s future at Mercedes is under examination and the Finn’s poor performances continue to count against him. By virtue of having one of if not the most coveted seats in F1, his price is an eye-watering $23.0m though he has returned fewer points than Gasly.

Bottas has never won at Paul Ricard and finished a distant second to his team-mate back in 2019. Off the back of another difficult weekend in which he struggled to emulate anything like the pace Hamilton showed, the French GP could be another challenging race.

While Vettel has picked up the pace in recent weeks, Lance Stroll has not adapted as well as his new team-mate and after some ill-fortune in Baku, lags behind in the drivers’ standings by 19 points.

His F1 Fantasy points output is lacking too, with only 42pts to his name so far this season. He is currently listed as $13.4m though his price is set to drop imminently. If you have him in your team, move him on for another option ASAP.

 

2021 French Grand Prix picks

Drivers:

Max Verstappen (25.5)

Lando Norris (13.9)

Sergio Perez (18.3)

Pierre Gasly (11.7)

Esteban Ocon (10.4)

Teams:

Ferrari (19.6)