DFS Formula 1:  Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix

DFS Formula 1: Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix

Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix

Location: Manama, Bahrain
Course: Bahrain International Speedway
Course Length: 5.41km
Laps: 57

Race Preview

A new era of Formula 1 racing gets underway this weekend at the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Max Verstappen enters the season as the defending champion after a dramatic conclusion to the 2021 season, winning his first series title in the final laps of the final race. 

The rules package has changed for this season, reintroducing ground effects to the cars while altering other significant areas of aerodynamic development. The cars' major change offers teams an opportunity to close the significant gap to the dominant players of recent seasons, Mercedes AMG Petronas and Red Bull Racing. Preseason testing has proven somewhat inconclusive as to which teams are expected to come out of the gate the quickest but has suggested a number of teams have work to do to correct some early challenges with their new machinery.

Key Stats at Bahrain International Speedway

  • Races: 18
  • Winners from pole: 7
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 18
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 18
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
  • Fastest race: 209.143 kph

Previous 10 Bahrain Winners

2021 - Lewis Hamilton
2020 second - Sergio Perez
2020 first - Lewis Hamilton
2019 - Lewis Hamilton
2018 - Sebastian Vettel
2017 - Sebastian Vettel
2016 - Nico Rosberg
2015 - Lewis Hamilton
2014 - Lewis Hamilton
2013 - Sebastian Vettel

Bahrain's first appearance on the Formula 1 calendar was in 2004, which was won by Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari. Formula 1 has traditionally used the track's 5.4km configuration but has experimented with longer and shorter layouts as well. Lewis Hamilton is the defending winner of the race, but struggled with his new car through testing and practice and was slower than new teammate George Russell in Friday's on-track sessions. Speculation is rife that Mercedes has some work to do to improve this season's car to fight Red Bull and Ferrari. Other notable practice times point to Red Bull and Ferrari having a lap speed advantage this week, specifically Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, but Saturday's qualifying likely will be a better indication of who fantasy players might expect to come out on top Sunday.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Max Verstappen - $12,000
Lewis Hamilton - $11,600
Charles Leclerc - $10,800

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

George Russell - $9,600
Sergio Perez - $8,800
Lando Norris - $8,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Pierre Gasly - $7,600
Fernando Alonso - $6,600
Kevin Magnussen - $3,800

DraftKings Constructor Values

Mercedes AMG Petronas - $11,200
Red Bull Racing - $10,800
Ferrari - $9,400

My Picks

Team Captain - Max Verstappen - $18,000
Fernando Alonso - $6,600
Kevin Magnussen - $5,700
Lance Stroll - $5,400
Valtteri Bottas - $4,600
Constructor - Ferrari - $9,400

While many unknowns exist with a new season and new cars, some things are starting to take shape. Max Verstappen topped Friday's second practice but was followed closely by Charles Leclerc. Those two drivers are nearly half a second faster than the rest of the field. Haas, McLaren, Alpine and Alfa Romeo also look competitive. Choosing the most likely driver from each of those teams to outperform their teammate should give fantasy rosters the maximum potential to rack up the points. Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas fit that bill. With Aston Martin's Lance Stroll the roster gets another driver likely to outperform his teammate with Nico Hulkenberg drafted in at the last minute for this weekend's race after Sebastian Vettel was ruled out due to Covid. Rounding off the selections is our Constructor's choice — Ferrari. Both cars featured in the top 5 in both practice sessions. They were the only manufacturer to achieve that feat.

Best Bets (Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)

Race Winner - Max Verstappen +120, Charles Leclerc +250
Winning Constructor - Ferrari +100, Red Bull Racing +100
Fastest Qualifier - Max Verstappen +105, Charles Leclerc +190
Qualifying Winning Constructor - Red Bull Racing +100
Winning Margin - Under 4 seconds -105
Fastest Lap - Red Bull Racing +100
Safety Car - No +275

Odds for winning the Bahrain Grand Prix skew toward Max Verstappen, which means there is good value for those wishing to choose Charles Leclerc and Ferrari. Leclerc was less than a tenth of a second behind Verstappen's fastest lap in Friday's second practice and the battle for pole position in Saturday's qualifying is likely to be between those two. When looking at constructor choices, Ferrari could hold the advantage. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. appears to have the early edge over Red Bull's Sergio Perez. The Ferrari teammates were second and third in both of Friday's practice, which could indicate their speed is more consistent for the weekend. When looking at some of the prop wagers, Bahrain has been won by a margin greater than four seconds on the 5.4km configuration twice since 2016. The race usually features few safety-car periods, but that comes with risk given a new era of cars taking to the track for the first time.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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