F1 DFS Picks and Best Bets: Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix

F1 DFS Picks and Best Bets: Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix

Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix

Location: Shanghai, China
Course: Shanghai International Circuit
Course Length: 5.45km
Laps: 56

Race Preview

Max Verstappen returned to the top of the order in Japan after suffering an early exit the race prior at Australia. It was another dominating outing for the defending champion as he and the Red Bull Racing team work to extend their championship-winning streak. This week the series heads back to China for the the first time since 2019 and it will also be one of six sprint race weekends this season. The sprint format changed from 2023. This season, qualifying for the sprint race will take place on Fridays while qualifying for the race will take place on Saturday after the sprint. The old schedule forced teams to cram preparation for Sunday's big prize into limited time on Friday. The change for 2024 should enable teams to evolve their approach through the weekend, if necessary, before locking themselves into an unfavorable setup or strategy for Sunday. The new schedule could produce larger shifts in pace amongst the cars from Saturday to Sunday, which could help spice up the show. That theory will be put to the test for the first time this season when Formula 1 returns to the Shanghai International Circuit.

Key Stats at Shanghai International Circuit

  • Races: 16
  • Winners from pole: 9
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 14
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 16
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
  • Fastest race: 205.313kph

Previous 10 Chinese Grand Prix Winners

2019 - Lewis Hamilton
2018 - Daniel Ricciardo
2017 - Lewis Hamilton
2016 - Nico Rosberg
2015 - Lewis Hamilton
2014 - Lewis Hamilton
2013 - Fernando Alonso
2012 - Nico Rosberg
2011 - Lewis Hamilton
2010 - Jenson Button

Formula 1 has not visited the Shanghai International Circuit since 2019, but there have been 16 prior series races at the track. Three current drivers have prior wins at the track, too. However, while the circuit is not completely unknown, the changes to the cars since 2019 have been significant. Compounding the complexities this week is that this will be the first sprint weekend of the season, too. Formula 1 reengineered the sprint weekend schedule from past years in response to criticism, too. While qualifying and practice for Sunday's races used to be crammed into Friday's sessions, this year, qualifying for Sunday will take place after the sprint race. This means teams have more time to digest any learnings from early in the weekend and tweak settings for Sunday unlike in prior seasons when they had to have their set ups locked in on Friday. The Shanghai circuit itself is a unique one, too. Its most characteristic features are the decreasing radius through turns 1 and 2, the sweeping high-speed run through turns 7 and 8, and then one of the longest straightaways on the calendar. Two DRS zones on the long straights should also encourage passing.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS for the Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix

Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Max Verstappen - $16,400
Sergio Perez - $10,400
Carlos Sainz Jr. - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Charles Leclerc - $9,800
Lando Norris - $9,400
Lewis Hamilton - $8,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

George Russell - $7,600
Fernando Alonso - $7,000
Nico Hulkenberg - $4,800

DraftKings Constructor Values

Red Bull Racing - $14,500
Ferrari - $10,000
Aston Martin - $5,000

Formula 1 DFS Picks for the Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix

Team Captain - Sergio Perez - $15,600
Fernando Alonso - $7,000
Lance Stroll - $5,000
Nico Hulkenberg - $4,800
Zhou Guanyu - $3,000
Constructor - Red Bull Racing - $14,500

Max Verstappen's domination continues to drive his cost through the roof each week. Given the relatively lower cost of both his teammate Sergio Perez, as well as Red Bull Racing as the constructor, fantasy players can take advantage of Verstappen's success without breaking the bank by selecting Perez as team captain and Red Bull as constructor. The conservative approach of selection Perez also ensures that if anything should happen to Verstappen, Perez could have an outsized return. However, the expectation is that both Red Bull Racing drivers will finish on the top two steps of the podium this Sunday.

Given Red Bull's cost, the bulk of the roster must be comprised of opportunistic selections Fernando Alonso is the among the best selections from that population. While Aston Martin has some ground to make up in terms of competitiveness, Alonso holds down eighth in the championship standings with an average finish this season of seventh. He is a former winner at this track, and that could help him get up to speed quicker than some others in this week's China return. Teammate Lance Stroll could also benefit. Stroll sits in 10th position in the standings with an average finish of 11.8. He has three prior Shanghai starts to his credit, too. Nico Hulkenberg also adds Shanghai experience to the selections. The Haas driver has nine prior Shanghai starts with a variety of teams. His best finish at the track was sixth, twice. Finally, Zhou Guanyu will have the home crowd behind him. This weekend will be his Chinese Grand Prix debut and the boost from being in his home country could spur him to a step up in the finishing order. His average finish so far this season is 15.5, which is just a tick better than teammate Valtteri Bottas. This will be his first time in a Formula 1 car at this track, which means he could struggle to come up to pace quickly.

Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix 

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Race Winner - Max Verstappen -450, Sergio Perez +1000, Carlos Sainz Jr./Charles Leclerc +1200
Sprint Winning Constructor - Red Bull Racing -500, Ferrari +350
Winning Margin - Over 12 seconds -120
Safety Car - No +120

The first sprint race of the 2024 season introduces a few relative unknowns to the revised race weekend. Those changes, coupled with a return to a track for the first time in several years, means there is potential for some unexpected things to occur. The Formula 1 paddock, especially at the front of the field, is pretty buttoned up, though. Therefore, fantasy players should largely expect the current trends to continue in China with Red Bull and Verstappen leading the pack. However, the Australian Grand Prix proved that anything is possible, and that means there could be some wisdom in choosing a driver with significantly better odds, such as Sergio Perez. All it takes to hit the money is for one small mistake or problem to strike Verstappen, and the door of opportunity opens for the other front runners, like Ferrari.

Those less impressed with the driver odds this week may want to consider the winning margin or safety car prop wagers. The odds of a Verstappen victory margin of more than 12 seconds are much better than Verstappen as driver, which will give those who go that direction a bigger return on their money. Also, Shanghai is a natural-terrain road course with plenty of runoff room. Those features tend to lessen the likelihood of having a safety car, and in a season as predictable as 2024 has been, the +120 odds for no safety car appearance is one of the better returns on the board.

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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