F1 DFS and Best Bets: MSC Cruises Japanese Grand Prix 2024

F1 DFS and Best Bets: MSC Cruises Japanese Grand Prix 2024

MSC Cruises Japanese Grand Prix 2024

Location: Suzuka, Mie, Japan
Circuit: Suzuka Circuit 
Course Length: 5.807
Laps: 53

Japanese Grand Prix Preview

We saw an uncharacteristic miscue from Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen in Australia, opening the door for Carlos Sainz Jr. and Ferrari to claim the win. If there is to be a challenge to Red Bull overall this season, Ferrari have certainly set themselves up to take on the role. McLaren hasn't quite lived up to their promises from the offseason, but they do appear to be solidly third in terms of speed – ahead of key rivals such as Mercedes and Aston Martin.

The other trend we've seen through three races is a clear division of the field between constructors. The top half of the field is the five teams already mentioned, while RB Honda and Haas stand out as the top teams in the lower half of the grid. Even so, they're relegated to primarily trying to beat out Lance Stroll or hoping for mistakes or technical failures from a team in the top half of the field. Yuki Tsunoda and Nico Hulkenberg have been the standouts for RB Honda and Haas, while Daniel Ricciardo specifically is starting to feel some heat to retain his seat. That also applies to Logan Sargeant, but unfortunately, he's been irrelevant more often than not since entering F1.

There are some more specific storylines to follow as well. We've started to see upgrades roll in, including from Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin. Mercedes is coming off an abysmal weekend in Australia with a double-DNF, but they did look good in FP1 (Lewis Hamilton fifth, George Russell fourth). It's also the home race for Tsunoda. He doesn't seem to be truly in the running for the second seat at Red Bull if the team moves on from Sergio Perez, but this would be a good weekend for him to make his case.

Key Stats at Suzuka

Races: 33
Winners from Pole: 17
Winners from front row: 29

Previous 10 winners

2023- Max Verstappen
2022- Max Verstappen 
2019 - Valtteri Bottas
2018- Lewis Hamilton
2017- Lewis Hamilton 
2016- Nico Rosberg
2015 – Lewis Hamilton
2014- Lewis Hamilton
2013 – Sebastian Vettel
2012 – Sebastian Vettel

Suzuka is known to be a very popular track among drivers and fans alike due to its combination of demanding technical characteristics and high-speed corners. There are a number of standout sections on the track, including the S curves, 130 R, and the Spoon Curve. The circuit also forms a figure eight with the help of an overpass. All told, there are 18 corners on track and it's one of the most demanding circuits on tires.

For the third straight year, the teams will have the three hardest compounds to work with. One thing to watch will be the change in the timing of the grand prix. The Japanese Grand Prix is typically one of the last races of the season, and has often been the deciding race of the Championship. Now, it's been moved up the calendar and into cooler temperatures. That opens up a strategy element for teams, potentially making a one-stop race possible. Expect teams lower in the field to take a strategy risk to try to gain ground they lack in true pace.

DraftKings Value Picks for the Japanese Grand Prix

Tier 1 DraftKings Values

Max Verstappen - $16,000

Tier 2 DraftKings Values

Charles Leclerc - $10,200
Sergio Perez- $10,000
Carlos Sainz Jr. - $9,800
Lando Norris - $9,200

Tier 3 DraftKings Values

Oscar Piastri - $8,000
George Russell - $7,400
Fernando Alonso - $6,800

Tier 4 DraftKings Values

Lance Stroll - $5,400
Yuki Tsunoda - $5,000
Nico Hulkenberg - $4,800
Kevin Magnussen - $3,800

Formula 1 DFS Picks for the Japanese Grand Prix

Captain – Lando Norris - $13,800
Carlos Sainz Jr. - $9,800
George Russell - $7,400
Lance Stroll - $5,400
Yuki Tsunoda - $5,000
Constructor – McLaren - $8,500

I expect McLaren to be fast this weekend with the Suzuka Circuit suiting the strengths of their car. The team struggles with low-speed corners, which are minimal this weekend. That didn't come through in FP1 (Piastri P8, Norris P10), and the results of FP2 are essentially worthless due to the weather at the time. I'll be watching FP3 carefully, and for DK we do have the benefit of qualifying. If McLaren fails to show the pace expected in either session (more importantly in qualifying), I'd likely pivot to either Ferrari driver as my captain (stacking with Ferrari as the constructor).

There's also an alternative to this build that would be stacking Ferrari as captain and constructor and taking the significant discount from Norris to Piastri. That would eliminate George Russell from the build, and instead swap in Fernando Alonso ($6,800) with two relative pay-down options.

Speaking of Alonso, both of the Aston Martin drivers should be in play, with Stroll being the inferior option but coming at a discount.

The final cheap option to fill out the roster would be Tsunoda. As noted, RB Honda and Haas have been the two cars in the lower portion of the field that have shown the most potential.

Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Japanese Grand Prix

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Top Two Finish: Lando Norris (+350), Oscar Piastri (+1000)
Podium Finish: Norris (+150), Piastri (+350)
Top 10 Finish:  Lance Stroll (-165), Yuki Tsunoda (-150), Nico Hulkenberg (+240)
Winning Margin: Between 5 and 10 seconds (+300)

We have a common theme of being all in on McLaren this weekend. We saw them excel at this track last year and there isn't significant reason to believe that they can't repeat those results. McLaren hasn't challenged for race wins this season, but they consistently look to be the third-fastest team and have a reasonable chance to pass Ferrari this weekend.

One of Stroll, Tsunoda or Hulkenberg is a very good bet to secure points this weekend. Stroll has the advantage in terms of pace in the car, but he doesn't always take advantage. Tsunoda would be the next quickest driver, but Haas has effectively used their drivers as a team to strategically move up the field. With Ricciardo off the pace, Tsunoda has been forced to fight for points on his own. Betting on two of these drivers to finish in the points would likely mean projecting a DNF for one of the other nine drivers from the top teams.

As for winning margin, Verstappen has run away with this race in recent years, easily pacing the field by over 10 seconds. Even before Australia, there's been at least some suggestion the field is a bit tighter this season, and Verstappen even acknowledged that after the first day on track at Suzuka. It's certainly possible he runs away with the victory, but the odds on the winning margin suggest taking a chance on the McLaren or Ferrari at least keeping him in sight.

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. Dan Marcus plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: marcusd91 DraftKings: dmarcus87.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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