Formula 1 is back in Monaco for one of the most historic races of the season. The Monaco Grand Prix has been a staple in F1 since 1955 and while this tight street circuit has been heavily criticized recently, the glitz and glam of this course still shines through. The winding street circuit through the country of Monaco will become even tighter this year after F1 cars have grown in size with the wheels each being five inches larger.
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While Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has won three straight races, this course may be better suited for the Ferrari cars because of the slower speeds and tighter corners. Evidence of this has come all through the Free Practice sessions where Charles Leclerc put up top times on Friday, only to miss out on the top time in FP3 to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who went just 0.041 seconds faster. Leclerc managed to pull it all together in qualifying as he took pole for a second consecutive year at his home course.
Verstappen has clearly struggled all weekend as he has been beaten in every single FP session and even out-qualified by his team mate Perez. As it was noted in the F1 Monaco Preview, the McLaren of Lando Norris truly woke up on Saturday as he went sixth in FP3 and then had a mega lap in qualifying, which will have him starting in fifth place for the race on Sunday. Two of the bigger surprises from qualifying where that Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo were out in Q2 leaving Bottas to start in 12th with Ricciardo in 14th.
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For cash games, this play will be standard as the Ferrari team is starting 1-2 on the grid for Sunday’s race. Everyone knows there is risk with both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, but at this point, trying to get cute in cash is a surefire way to lose your money. While this is an extremely tough circuit that can cause havoc, if Leclerc is able to get out to an early lead off the start, this team could still score the most fantasy points even if Sainz doesn’t finish the race.
Red Bull ($11,000)
This is a GPP only play for me. I have suggested the Max Verstappen CAP with Red Bull the last two weeks and he has won, but this week I am not as confident as I have been in the past. Verstappen just simply has not had “it” this week in Monaco and with the pricing up top being so restricting, playing the Red Bull constructor is just hoping that Sainz or Leclerc crashes out and Red Bull manage to put two up on the podium. It is entirely possible, but less likely than usual in my opinion. This track seems to favor the Ferrari cars as it is slower and does not have as many long quick stretches like we have been used to seeing at the different courses.
Mercedes ($9,500) & Alpine ($4,500)
These are the pure chaos plays. There is nothing comforting about either play, and both are strictly for GPPs only. Aside from Ferrari and Red Bull, Mercedes and Alpine are the only other two teams that qualified both drivers in the top 10 and actually have a chance at scoring double points, which will give your constructor the coveted bonus points. Mercedes’ George Russell will be starting in sixth, while Lewis Hamilton will be starting in eighth. Neither is truly on my radar this weekend in terms of flex driver plays, so if I have any exposure it will probably happen with their constructors in a couple GPP lineups. The Alpines had a nice qualifying, which left Fernando Alonso starting in seventh and Esteban Ocon starting in 10th. If you are playing the Alpine constructors, you are hoping for absolute mayhem and need to be very smart about the rest of your lineup.
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Charles Leclerc ($11,600 DraftKings; First)
The Monegasque Charles Leclerc is hoping to put the bad luck in Monaco behind him this year after a terrific qualifying on Saturday. Leclerc took pole last year, too, but crashed his car late into Q3 and was, unfortunately \,unable to even start the race on Sunday leaving Verstappen to go wire-to-wire. Leclerc should be the highest owned captain and for good reason. Fade at your own risk as he is currently at -300 odds to win the race on Sunday with Verstappen starting all the way in fourth. Because I will be so heavy on Leclerc bringing home the checkered flag, I do not see myself getting too much or any of his teammate Carlos Sainz.
Sergio Perez ($8,600 DraftKings; Third)
It is rare for me to write up a No. 2 driver on Ferrari or Red Bull this season, but with Perez’s times this weekend and his price tag being sixth-highest on DraftKings, he actually makes for a fine play on Sunday. There is always massive risk because you want your drivers to beat their teammate for the bonus five points, but we all know what happened in Spain and that the team will almost always order Perez to push aside to let Verstappen go on Sunday. I can see how you can get to him in cash because of his price, but he is more of a GPP play in my mind simply because of the team’s well-known tactics and Verstappen’s aggressiveness on the track.
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Lando Norris ($7,400 DraftKings; Fifth)
Norris should be one of the highest-owned plays this weekend even with the McLaren driver still dealing with tonsillitis. Norris was not even able to radio his team on Friday because of his tonsils, but was able to put up incredibly impressive times on Saturday leading to a fifth-place start on the grid for Sunday’s race. Norris is the eighth-priced driver but will be starting in fifth just behind the Red Bulls and in front of both Mercedes. The first lineup I built after qualifying started with Leclerc at CAP with Ferrari and then dropped down to Norris leaving $13,700 for the remaining three drivers.
Fernando Alonso ($6,800 DraftKings; Seventh) OR Esteban Ocon ($6,400 DraftKings; 10th)
This seems like the decision that will make or break GPPs this weekend. Both Alonso and Ocon did well to make it to Q3 on Saturday, with Alonso out-qualifying Ocon by three spots. Alonso outpaced his teammate all weekend in every FP session, so my edge will be to favor the Spaniard Alonso, but we all know that anything can happen on race day. Alonso is the preferred play, especially if you are deciding on your cash lineup, but I will have some sprinkles of Ocon in GPPs.
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Kevin Magnussen ($5,600 DraftKings; 13th)
The two HAAS cars looked good in Q1 on Saturday but failed to make it out of Q2 with both starting in 13th and 15th, respectively. Magnussen has shown glimpses of great driving this year, but has recently hit a block going 16th and 17th over the last two races. This is a strictly GPP play, as I prefer cheaper options to him for my cash games and higher money lineups.
Yuki Tsunoda ($4,200 DraftKings; 11th)
Tsunoda caused a short red flag near the end of Q1, which lead to his teammate Pierre Gasly not being able to improve on his time and forcing him to start the race in 17th place. On the other hand, Tsunoda was able to fix his tire that collided with a barrier and make it back to the track to eventually land in 11th. Tsunoda seems like he and Sebastian Vettel could be the chalkier value plays this weekend with their pricing and starting positions. Leaving some money on the table and pivoting to the driver below may be an interesting tactic for DFS players.
Alex Albon ($4,000 DraftKings; 16th)
While he just got squeezed out in Q1, I am expecting a bounce back effort from Alex Albon, who was beaten by his teammate Nicholas Latifi for the first time all year last week in Spain. Albon will be starting three spots ahead of Latifi and I fully expect him to stay out in front as long as there are no accidents involving Albon. I am also feeling that it is Latifi’s time to crash out after he has gone through the last couple of weeks unscathed, which is very uncharacteristic of the Canadian.
Sebastian Vettel ($3,800 DraftKings; Ninth)
Vettel will no doubt be one of the highest-owned drivers in cash games and GPPs in Monaco. The sub-$4K value will be starting in ninth place in a race that is extremely difficult to pass. He has top 10 upside this weekend and will be a staple in many of my lineups. I will have a couple (OK, maybe one) Lance Stroll lineups as well in GPPs, because chaos does happen, but it will be minimal compared to my Vettel exposure. Stroll is also starting nine spots behind in 18th place. Not exactly as sexy as the ninth-place Vettel.
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