F1 Australian Grand Prix DFS Picks: Mercedes Rising To The Occasion

The Australian Grand Prix is setting up exactly how Formula 1 had envisioned with their recent changes to Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. The four top teams in qualifying of Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari were all separated by just over 0.600 of a second. While Red Bull cruised to a 1-2 finish at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix two weeks ago, this weekend’s race will provide a much more difficult test for the reigning constructor champions. Nonetheless, onto our F1 Australian Grand Prix DFS picks.

F1 Australian Grand Prix DFS Picks

The biggest story coming out of qualifying is the struggles Red Bull’s Sergio Perez had with his breaks. He went off the track four times during Free Practice sessions and red flagged Q1 when his brakes locked up as he went into the gravel trap. Perez was unable to continue the qualifying session and will be starting at the back of the grid in 20th for Sunday’s race.

Max Verstappen will have to hold off the rising Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton as they pushed Verstappen to the car’s limits in qualifying. The Aston Martin drivers will be starting in fourth and sixth while the two Ferrari drivers cam in sandwiched around Lance Stroll in fifth and seventh.

Nico Hulkenberg looked extremely quick in qualifying putting up better times than the Mercedes cars in Q2. The Alfa Romeo cars looked lost. That car looks like a shell of itself from last year when Valtteri Bottas was able to find Q3 and start in the front half of grids for multiple races. Finally, the McLaren cars look to have taken a step back from 2022 when they finished the year riding high signing Oscar Piastri. Neither driver was able to make it to Q3, while Lando Norris will be starting in 13th place.

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Formula 1 DFS Picks: DraftKings F1 Picks

Constructor: Mercedes ($8,700 DraftKings)

Red Bull has once again left the door wide open for the optimal constructor play this weekend after Perez binned his car in qualifying. Mercedes is trying to kick down the door this weekend as both drivers look to have come to play. Russell was the only other driver in qualifying to go under 1:17. They are the fourth priced constructor but will have the highest ceiling if they are able to bring home a double-podium finish here in Australia. Mercedes is the preferred cash-game pick, but are also a high-priority in GPP lineups as well.

Constructor: Ferrari ($9,300 DraftKings)

While there will be merit using Red Bull as a contrarian constructor play with Perez starting from the back, a Ferrari pivot feels like the better pivot. Mercedes will be popular, and for good reason, but going down from Aston Martin to Ferrari in lineups will save DFS players $1,000 after Aston Martin’s price hike. Ferrari feels like the sleeping giant here as the headlines are putting Mercedes squarely in the spotlight. Ferrari is best used in large-field tournaments and could be paired with Carlos Sainz who is starting fifth on the grid, two spots ahead of his team mate Charles Leclerc.

Constructor: Aston Martin ($10,300 DraftKings)

Aston Martin is putting together an incredibly strong start to the season. Alonso has two third place finishes to start the season and is right on the heels of the Mercedes duo heading into Sunday’s race. He is driving like a man possessed ever since he took a seat in the upgraded Aston Martin. His team mate, Stroll, is going to be the wild card for this constructor’s success. He finished in sixth in Bahrain, but then was forced to retire the car at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Driver: Max Verstappen ($14,000 DraftKings; P1)

Guess who’s back, back again, Verstappen back, tell a friend! Yes, that was lame, but it needs to be said after he was faded last race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Verstappen’s DraftKings price seems like extortion after last year barely getting over $12,000 for most of the year, but he is well-deserving of the hefty price tag here in Australia. Not only did he expertly drive his way around Albert Park in qualifying, he is excited to get redemption here after he was forced to retire on lap 39 last year due to a power unit issue. Stacking Verstappen and the Red Bull constructor is only a true option in large-field GPP tournaments this weekend with Perez starting back in 20th.

Driver: George Russell ($8,800 DraftKings; P2) or Lewis Hamilton ($8,200 DraftKings; P3)

This is the toughest decision many DFS players will be facing when building lineups this weekend. Russell got the better of Hamilton in all three stages of qualifying on Saturday, but Hamilton is doubt the veteran who knows exactly what he needs to do to win here in Australia. Russell is the preferred pick since he will be starting on the front-row with Verstappen, but it would not shock anyone to see Hamilton as the first Mercedes driver crossing the line. Both are great plays in cash and large-field tournaments.

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Driver: Fernando Alonso ($10,200 DraftKings; P4)

Alonso may get squeezed out of many lineups because of Verstappen’s price tag and the two Mercedes drivers who will be starting ahead of him on the grid. While Alonso is more expensive than both of Russell and Hamilton, he will not be happy to just sit back and cruise to a fourth place finish. Alonso will have multiple goes at the Mercedes duo which could force some interesting situations for the drivers at the front of the grid. Alonso is a contrarian pay-up play that can be paired with Verstappen at captain and Mercedes as the constructor.

Driver: Alex Albon ($4,600 DraftKings; P8)

Alex Albon is not free like he was in 2022, but he is certainly looking like a great mid-range value play here in Australia this weekend. The top Williams driver is capable of finishing in the top half of the grid and is starting 10 spots ahead of his team mate Logan Sargeant. He is a perfect fit for cash game lineups, but also has a good ceiling for large-field tournaments even with his projected elevated ownership.

Driver: Nico Hulkenberg ($3,000 DraftKings; P10)

The free value play of the week will be none other than Nico Hulkenberg. He is the cheapest driver on the grid this weekend and should come in close to 100% owned in cash games. He put together a strong qualifying session and has done well here in the past with two seventh place finishes here in 2019 and 2018. He could be faded in large-field tournaments because of his ownership, but his price is setting him up to be the best value play on the grid in Stokastic’s model.

Driver: Yuki Tsunoda ($4,400 DraftKings; P12) or Nyck De Vries ($3,600 DraftKings; P15)

DFS players will be looking for a play under $4,500 to fit into their final driver spot of lineups this weekend. Both Alphatauri drivers fit the bill as the last driver in. Tsunoda will fit with roster construction for DFS players using Hamilton over Russell, while De Vries will be the last man in the builds that go with Russell. The Alphatauri drivers don’t look like they will be extremely competitive here this weekend, but one will be awarded the five bonus points for beating their team mate which should finish as an optimal play.

Final F1 DFS Picks & Summary

Cash game lineups will be fairly straightforward this weekend. Verstappen is projected to be the heavy chalk at the captain spot, followed by either of the Mercedes drivers, with Mercedes in the constructor spot. From there Albon and Hulkenberg will be the preferred plays.

For GPPs, fantasy players will have to first decide on which constructor to use. Verstappen should be the heavy chalk at the captain spot, but there are many other places to get contrarian than to fade the -300 betting favorite. The $5,000 – $7,000 range will be lower-owned than usual because of the array of options up top. While many may think Perez is a strong contrarian GPP play, so much has to go right for him here, including a disaster race from Verstappen.

Phillip Beneteau
Teacher, writer and avid sports fan with a passion and love for F1 racing.

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