Formula 1 DFS Picks and Italian Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 DFS Picks and Italian Grand Prix Preview

Pirelli Italian Grand Prix

Location: Monza, Italy
Course: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
Course Length: 5.79km
Laps: 53

Italian Grand Prix Race Preview

Max Verstappen won for the 10th time this season in front of a boisterous hometown crowd last week at Zandvoort. The defending champion first grabbed pole position over Charles Leclerc on Saturday before going on to win Sunday's race. The day was anything but straightforward, though. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton appeared to have selected the pit strategy that would win the day, but multiple safety car periods, coupled with quick tire changes among the protagonists, turned the race into a pendulum that swung back and forth between Verstappen and Hamilton. With soft tires for the final restart, Verstappen got the jump on Hamilton's Mercedes into the first turn and streaked away to the victory. Hamilton tumbled back to fourth while teammate George Russell, also on soft tires, climbed to second. The victory put Verstappen 109 points ahead of Leclerc in the standing heading to this week's Italian Grand Prix.

The Italian Grand Prix is the fastest on the Formula 1 calendar. This race has also produced surprise winners in recent years as well with Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly winning the last two stops at the track. Horsepower is likely to be more of a factor at this track than tire strategy was at Zandvoort. Monza's long straights offer plenty of opportunity for drivers to use DRS and the draft to make passes, which makes those stops less of a factor than they were last week. Ferrari will want to get the most out of their cars and drivers this week as they visit the home base of their famous Tifosi fans and try to end Verstappen and Red Bull Racing's winning streak.

Key Stats at Monza

  • Races: 76
  • Winners from pole: 26
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 65
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 75
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
  • Fastest race: 247.835 kph

Previous 10 Monza Winners

2021 - Daniel Ricciardo
2020 - Pierre Gasly
2019 - Charles Leclerc
2018 - Lewis Hamilton
2017 - Lewis Hamilton
2016 - Nico Rosberg
2015 - Lewis Hamilton
2014 - Lewis Hamilton
2013 - Sebastian Vettel
2012 - Lewis Hamilton

The first Italian Grand Prix at Monza was held in 1931, and the track's long straights and high-speed turns make it the fastest track the Formula 1 series visits. Teams will strip as much downforce and drag from their cars as possible to ensure they get the maximum top speed out of their machines. While track position is important, it isn't as critical of a factor as we saw last week at Zandvoort. Monza's long DRS zones enable drivers to make passes at multiple points around the track, but drivers will have to be careful passing and defending as contact is not uncommon entering the track's tighter chicanes. That potential for contact, coupled with the heavy demand from engines, has created attrition recently that has contributed to surprise winners. Red Bull Racing has a power advantage, which could be the deciding factor for this weekend's race. Fantasy players should know that Ferrari will be working to close that gap for their home race, though. The 2021 edition of this race featured a sprint race to set the field for the main event, but traditional qualifying is back for 2022 and the weekend's practice and qualifying sessions will be the best indication of what fantasy players should expect in Sunday's race.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS for the Italian Grand Prix (Based on Standard $50k Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Max Verstappen - $12,200
Charles Leclerc - $11,000
Lewis Hamilton - $10,400

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

George Russell - $9,800
Carlos Sainz Jr. - $9,200
Sergio Perez - $8,600

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Fernando Alonso - $7,200
Pierre Gasly - $6,200
Valtteri Bottas - $5,600

DraftKings Constructor Values

Red Bull - $12,100
Ferrari - $11,100
Mercedes - $10,300

Formula 1 DFS Picks for the Italian Grand Prix

Team Captain - Max Verstappen - $18,300
Pierre Gasly - $6,200
Valtteri Bottas - $5,600
Lance Stroll - $4,800
Mick Schumacher - $4,000
Constructor - Ferrari - $11,000

Red Bull Racing's wins and power advantage this season make Verstappen a top choice for the Italian Grand Prix. Ferrari could surprise at their home race, but that is why they make a nice selection for Constructor this week. Verstappen has never won at Monza, and he failed to finish the last two races there. His current form, coupled with Red Bull's reliability and speed this season, should make the difference for him this time, though. AlphaTauri have been improving their cars through the season, and fantasy players may want to take advantage of that this weekend. The car has had one of the fastest top speeds this season, and their upgrades have made the car more consistent across all types of circuits. Pierre Gasly won the Italian Grand Prix in 2020 and could be a valuable add to lineups this week. Valtteri Bottas will suffer a grid penalty this week, but that means he should have a more reliable car for Sunday's race. He won the sprint race at Monza last season and raced to third from the 19th starting position after another starting grid penalty. Lance Stroll finished seventh at Monza last season. He finished third in the 2020 race and out-finished teammate Sebastian Vettel last week at Zandvoort. Haas F1 team have Ferrari engines, which give them extra incentive to outperform this week, too. Mick Schumacher finished 15th in his only prior Monza start last season but has been capable of turning in top-10 finishes at times this year. This race should give him an opportunity for another. As mentioned above, Ferrari should be a top consideration for their home race. The team will be giving everything it can this week to come out on top, and it would not be surprising to see both teammates standing on the podium at the end of the day.

Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Italian Grand Prix (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Race Winner - Charles Leclerc +600
Winning Constructor - Ferrari +400
Winning Margin - Under five seconds +135
Fastest Lap - Carlos Sainz Jr. +1100
Safety Car - No +125

The race-winning odds for Leclerc could be an excellent value this week. The top Ferrari driver, still in the fight for the driver's championship, at the team's home race are factors that combine for an optimal scenario for Leclerc this week. The risk is that Ferrari remain a step behind their rivals at Red Bull, but fans should expect them to be in the mix this week at Monza. Choosing Ferrari for the winning constructor follows the same logic. It is possible that both of the team's drivers will end the race in the podium positions, and just one mistake from Verstappen or Red Bull could open the door to a very famous victory for the team. Given that a closer race is expected this week, opting that the winning margin would be less than five seconds makes the most sense as well. The track is famous for drafting, and the DRS zones could keep the top competitors more closely bunched together throughout the race. The risk with this play again be that Red Bull maintain their superiority and Ferrari are unable to stay in touch through the weekend. Given the Italian manufacturer's single-lap competitiveness this season, selecting one of the Ferrari drivers should be the way to go for fastest race lap, too. Carlos Sainz Jr. offers significantly better odds to claim that honor this week, and the battle for that fast lap is likely to come down to either a Red Bull or Ferrari a driver. Therefore, we're going with Sainz this week for the fastest lap. The Italian Grand Prix at Monza typically moves very quickly. The wide runoff areas and tendency for contact to generally occur in the slowest corners make local cautions the more frequent option. A safety car could be necessary for first-lap contact, but if the field can stay clean through the first few corners, there is a high chance that the remainder of the race will remain clean as well.

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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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