F1 DFS Picks and STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Preview

F1 DFS Picks and STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Preview

STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Course: Jeddah Corniche Circuit 
Course Length: 6.17 KM 
Laps: 50

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Race Preview

The second race of the 2023 Formula 1 season is set to get underway this weekend in Saudia Arabia. This will be the third time the series races on the corner-filled circuit. The first visit to the venue was marked by a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, while the second pitted Verstappen against Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. The 2022 contest turned into a strategic DRS battle between the Ferrari and Red Bull with Verstappen coming out on top after missing the win in 2021. There are no guarantees that this third visit to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit will produce an entertaining show, but its many blind corners and narrow surface means chances of crashes and safety car periods are very high. Continued bunching of the field together could mean a somewhat unpredictable race. After his dominating showing in Bahrain it would be difficult to discount Verstappen as the favorite to win, though.

The two-time defending champion Verstappen got his season off to a perfect start in Bahrain with a dominating performance from pole. He led 54 of 57 laps and cruised to the win with a comfortable 11-second margin to Sergio Perez in second. While Leclerc and Ferrari appeared to be Red Bull's closest challenger, Fernando Alonso scrapped his way to the third step on the podium in an inspired first outing with Aston Martin. That podium result seems to prove, at least initially, that Aston Martin's promise in testing is being realized when it counts. Fantasy players will probably still expect the closer battle in Saudi Arabia to be between Red Bull and Ferrari with Aston Martin, Alonso more specifically, playing the part of potential spoiler.

Key Stats at Jeddah Corniche Circuit

  • Races: 2
  • Winners from pole: 1
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 1
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 0
  • Fastest Race: 219.659 kph

Previous Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Winners

2022 – Max Verstappen
2021 - Lewis Hamilton

Saudi Arabia joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2021. The circuit is a winding street course featuring 27 turns. The narrow racing surface is lined with barriers all the way up to the curbs, which means even the slightest mistake can end a driver's day against the wall. Despite the blind bends and close barriers speeds are still quite high. Last year's race produced a cat and mouse game between Verstappen and Leclerc where the pair battled strategically to be in the right spot entering the track's DRS zones to make a slingshot move to pass. Each of the two prior races held on the circuit have featured four lead changes with at least one safety car period. The nature of the course suggests fantasy players should expect a safety car period again this year, which makes track position a critical factor for success. Qualifying well on Saturday and then Sunday's pit strategy will be two critical factors in determining who prevails at this week's STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

DraftKings Value Picks for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Max Verstappen - $14,000
Sergio Perez - $11,200
Charles Leclerc - $10,200
Fernando Alonso - $9,600

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Lewis Hamilton - $8,400
George Russell - $7,600
Lance Stroll - $6,800

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Valtteri Bottas - $6,400
Pierre Gasly - $5,400
Alex Albon - $5,000

DraftKings Tier 4 Values

Nico Hulkenberg - $4,000
Yuki Tsunoda - $3,400
Nyck de Vries - $3,000

DraftKings Constructor Values

Red Bull Racing - $13,100
Ferrari - $10,900
Aston Martin - $9,200
Mercedes AMG Motorsport - $8,500

Formula 1 DFS Picks for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Captain – George Russell - $11,400
Max Verstappen - $14,000
Valtteri Bottas - $6,400
Pierre Gasly - $5,400
Nico Hulkenberg - $4,000
Constructor – Mercedes AMG Motorsport - $8,500

Max Verstappen unsurprisingly is the clear favorite to win again this week at Saudi Arabia. That heavy favorite status means his cost as both a team captain as well as driver selection is extremely high. As a result of that, George Russell and Mercedes appear to be good value as team captain. The Mercedes team remains close to the fight at the front of the field, and Russell's price this week offers a bit more value than teammate Lewis Hamilton without an obvious trade off. Fantasy players looking to take a little more risk for some more potential reward may want to consider Charles Leclerc, though. The Ferrari driver appears to be the main challenger to Verstappen this season, but he will be faced with a 10-spot grid penalty for Sunday's race. He should move forward in the field throughout, but getting trapped that far back on this tight and fast circuit presents a number of challenges he and the team will have to overcome.

The midfield choices look a little more clear after last week's race at Bahrain. Alfa Romeo and Valtteri Bottas appear to be leading that battle and a step backward this week would not be expected. Pierre Gasly and his Alpine team also started the season with speed, but they may have a bit more work to do in car development than their direct rivals to do once the series returns to Europe. It is reasonable to expect the initial pecking order to remain stable for a few more races yet, though. Finally, Nico Hulkenberg brings a bit of upside potential to the roster. While Haas is starting 2023 a bit behind the competition, experience and the ability to extract the most from the car could put Hulkenberg and teammate Kevin Magnussen in the frame for a points finish on Sunday.

In the constructor position Red Bull Racing remains the clear favorite and therefore a more prohibitive selection for many rosters. Aston Martin's success in Bahrain make them a bit more expensive this week as well. That situation focuses attention on Mercedes as a potential best value. Mercedes is a well-known quantity with the demonstrated ability to extract the most from their car and race strategy. Therefore, that team rises above many others this week in Saudi Arabia.

Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Fastest Qualifier and Race Winner – Max Verstappen (-105), Sergio Perez (+900)
Winning Constructor – Red Bull Racing (-150), Ferrari (+750)
Fastest Lap and Race Winner - Max Verstappen (+165), Sergio Perez (+1100)
Safety Car – Yes (-700)
Fastest Lap - Red Bull Racing (-150), Ferrari (+275)

Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen are the run away favorites in odds this week. The gap between Verstappen and any other driver is significant and nearly every prop bet has Verstappen and Red Bull in negative odds territory. Given the uncertainties of the tight and fast Saudi Arabian circuit this feels a bit risky, however he has been in the fight for the win at this track in both prior visits and won the first race this season by more than 10 seconds. Those looking for values will probably want to opt for parlays with a Verstappen or Red Bull victory combined with fastest lap or pole position.

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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