Formula 1 is at the Circuit Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix this weekend. We are back on a smoother surface as this is a full circuit track. This track is great to look at as the blue, red, and white lines just off the track create a mesmerizing pattern, but can sometimes confuse drivers when they are trying to find their race lines. Two of the biggest pieces from qualifying and this weekend so far are that Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and HAAS’ Kevin Magnussen will both start from the back of the pack on Sunday after both took extra parts as both were fitted with new power unit components.
Both Sainz and Magnussen had the power and cars to be in the top half of the grid, as Sainz could have easily be on the front row with his pace all weekend, while Magnussen made it to Q3 before not even coming out of the pits to save his tires for the race on Sunday. Both Mercedes had a rough start to Q1 but managed to turn it around and get heat in their tires as Lewis Hamilton will be starting on the second row in fourth while George Russell was passed by Lando Norris at the last second and will be starting in sixth.
The Q3 scores were a little skewed as Ferrari used Sainz to tow team mate Charles Leclerc to post a top time. It looked like Red Bull had a chance at pole position after Free Practice 3 times but in the end, Max Verstappen was just over 0.300 behind Leclerc.
Yuki Tsunoda was the surprise car in Q3 today and will be starting in eighth place while his team mate, French native, Pierre Gasly had a rough go of it and will be starting in presumably 14th after Sainz and Magnussen are moved to the back.
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F1 DFS Picks: DraftKings F1 Fantasy Racing Advice
Best F1 Fantasy & DFS Constructor Picks
Red Bull ($11,700)
This is the cash game starter constructor. While Ferrari has looked quick all weekend and has won back-to-back races, with Sainz starting on the back row, it seems like an ideal time to roll with Red Bull as they look to have a double podium finish. Both Verstappen and Sergio Perez were very quick in qualifying today and both should contend for a podium, if not the win, as long as their cars and tires hold up in this heat. I will only be using Perez in one offs as Verstappen has looked much better than him here and I would not expect Red Bull to let him beat Max. So if you are playing Perez, you are essentially saying that Verstappen is going to have an issue, therefore I don’t see stacking him with Red Bull as being the optimal play.
This will be the GPP play as Sainz will be starting from way back of the grid. I would give the Ferrari cars the edge this weekend, but with Sainz at the back, Leclerc will need to have a perfect race to pull away from the two charging Red Bulls. This track is a good place to pass and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Sainz make his way back to fight with the Mercedes cars. There is a chance that this is still the optimal stack, but a lot will ride on whether or not the Red Bulls double podium and where Sainz claws back to. As far as a Sainz stack goes, just like Perez, if I am rolling with Carlos, I don’t feel the need to stack it with the Ferrari constructor, but he should certainly get the max points for passes and could be a low owned stack in massive GPPs. I would much prefer a Sainz – Ferrari stack over a Perez – Red Bull stack.
Red Bull is the clear play in terms of cash game strategy, and Ferrari has the best car, by the looks of it, but I feel like Mercedes has something up their sleeves this weekend. The car brought many upgrades and the track temperatures should help warm up the tires which has been a big issue for Mercedes so far this year. On Friday night, part of me thought that this was easily the best chance Mercedes has had to win a Grand Prix this year. Unfortunately, the qualifying results were less than ideal. Hamilton was almost a second behind Leclerc and was about .600 of Verstappen. Not to mention that Norris even split the two Mercedes cars. This track is more suited to their car because of the smoothness of the circuit and the temperatures on Sunday should help their tires, but it just seems like they are still missing that top speed to catch the two top teams. I am only getting to Mercedes in GPPs, but one race day it will all come together and I want to be ahead of the curve.
Best F1 Fantasy & DFS Driver Picks
Charles Leclerc ($11,200 DraftKings; First)
Leclerc’s odds to beat his team mate Sainz are going to be massive as they will be starting at opposite ends of the grid on Sunday. Leclerc has the car to go back-to-back as we have seen the Ferrari be better with tire wear as this track sets up for potential dangers with track temperatures on Sunday. I expect Leclerc to be the highest owned cash game captain and potentially in GPPs too. With that said, it could be a Leclerc – Red Bull stack that takes it all down if we see a mirror of qualifying. Going with that potential stack allows for every driver except Verstappen to be played in the flex spot.
Max Verstappen ($12,000 DraftKings; Second)
Will Red Bull’s tire issues catch up with them in France? Or will Verstappen be able to race wheel to wheel with Leclerc all day long? Verstappen carries a little more risk as we saw in Austria that Ferrari had better tire management than the Red Bulls. With that said, Verstappen is still elite and is sitting at the same odds with Leclerc to win on Sunday. He should be lower owned compared to the Ferrari driver, which makes him a solid play in GPPs. The Red Bull – Verstappen stack seems to be the best team – driver stack for upside in GPPs this weekend because of the Sainz situation affecting Ferrari.
George Russell ($8,400 DraftKings; Sixth)
I would be kicking myself if I didn’t write up any Mercedes option this weekend. I do believe Russell’s team mate Hamilton has the higher upside to win, but Russell is someone you can fit in if you are trying to get more bang for your buck and not just play the bottom of the barrel value drivers. If Perez falters at all and we see Russell somehow sneak on to the podium, he should be a near lock to be in the optimal lineup. I want to get exposure to two of the top six drivers here in France and Russell is the cheapest of them.
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Kevin Magnussen ($4,000 DraftKings; 20th)
Starting at the back of the pack is never a great place to be, but at this track and with a car that has pace, I expect Magnussen to make some serious moves on Sunday. He outpaced his team mate Mick Schumacher in both Free Practice 2 and 3 and also out-qualified him on Saturday by a landslide. His changed parts are the only reason he is at the back, not because of performance. I am hopeful that Magnussen could even sniff the points depending on how the race goes on Sunday. I am hoping he goes under-owned because people see his starting grid position at the bottom, which does not reflect the car’s current pace.
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Yuki Tsunoda ($4,400 DraftKings; Eighth)
Yuki Tsunoda seems to have found something on Saturday as his first two Free Practice sessions were not very good. Tsunoda carries more risk than I would like since I think there’s a chance he actually losses points, but his price tag is the savings we will need this week if we are rolling with Leclerc and Verstappen. I believe Tsunoda comes in a little higher owned than I would like, so I will be monitoring the Stokastic tools.
Alex Albon ($3,600 DraftKings; 13th)
I am very high on Albon this weekend as my top value play. His team mate Nicholas Latifi has looked miserable this weekend essentially being the bottom driver in every session. As long as he finishes I would expect Albon to easily lock up the points for beating his team mate which gives Albon a great floor for cash and GPPs. Albon even flashed some pace in Free Practice 3 which leads me to believe he could potentially finish in the points. He grades out as a top value play this weekend in our tools.
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