F1 DFS Picks and Preview: Australian Grand Prix

F1 DFS Picks and Preview: Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Course: Albert Park Circuit 
Course Length: 5.28km
Laps: 58

Australian Grand Prix Race Preview

Red Bull has dominated the first two races of the 2023 calendar, scoring 1-2 finishes at both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. However, after Max Verstappen suffered from a mechanical failure during qualifying at the latter location, teammate Sergio Perez took pole position and won the race to the ire of Verstappen. Tensions between the duo could continue to build -- particularly if Perez continues to show the ability to compete with his teammate. 

Aston Martin looks to be Red Bull's closest challenger, though they're closer to Mercedes and Ferrari behind them than they are to catching the top team on the grid. While Mercedes has caught a lot of negative attention early on this season, Ferrari has arguably been a bigger disappointment and seems to have fallen back into the midfield pack as compared to 2022.

Speaking of the midfield, Alpine looks to be the best of the rest, though Haas, Alfa Romeo and even Williams have shown flashes of strong pace. Alpha Tauri and McLaren look to be at the rear of the grid, though Yuki Tsunoda was in points contention for much of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix while Lando Norris remains among the most talented drivers on the grid and is capable of getting the most out of subpar machinery.

Key Stats at the Albert Park Circuit

Races: 26
Winners from Pole: 10
Winners from top five: 22
Winners from top 10: 24

Previous 10 Melbourne Winners

2022- Charles Leclerc 
2019 - Valtteri Bottas
2018 - Sebastian Vettel
2017 - Sebastian Vettel
2016 - Nico Rosberg
2015 - Lewis Hamilton
2014 - Nico Rosberg
2013 - Kimi Raikkonen
2012 - Jenson Button
2011 - Sebastian Vettel

The Albert Park Circuit is well known to F1 and all racing fans, but there are some factors that will be new to the 2023 edition of the grand prix. The track was resurfaced prior to last year's race and is still very smooth, meaning it will take several sessions to improve the grip on the track. Next, the layout of sector two was changed last year in an effort to improve the ability of drivers to overtake, and this year four DRS zones are in place. In its pre-race press release, Pirelli suggests top speed in those zones could reach 210 mph. Speaking of Pirell, the tires used this weekend will be C2, C3 and C4.

DraftKings Value Picks

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Max Verstappen - $14,100
Sergio Perez - $11,400

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Fernando Alonso - $10,200
Charles Leclerc - $9,400
George Russell - $8,800
Carlos Sainz Jr. - $7,800
Lance Stroll - $7,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Lando Norris - $5,600
Oscar Piastri - $5,200
Kevin Magnussen - $4,200

DraftKings Constructor Values

Red Bull Racing - $13,300
Aston Martin - $10,300
Mercedes - $8,700
Alpine - $5,500

Formula 1 DFS Picks for Australian Grand Prix

Captain - George Russell - $13,200
Max Verstappen - $14,000
Lance Stroll - $7,000
Lando Norris - $5,600
Kevin Magnussen - $4,200
Constructor - Alpine - $5,500

As Red Bull, and particularly Verstappen, has established dominance early this season, DraftKings has gotten more aggressive in its pricing. For those who choose to captain Verstappen, there will be only an average of $5,800 remaining per roster spot. Verstappen's engine failure last year in Australia and two weeks again in Saudi Arabia make that difficult to digest, so looking elsewhere for the captain slot is the easiest path to constructing a roster. Perez showed he has plenty of pace in his Red Bull and is a reasonable alternative choice as a result.

The second tier of drivers come from the next three best teams. Each of those six drivers – including Lewis Hamilton ($8,200) – should be in play. Alonso and Leclerc stand out as the best options, though thereafter I'd be willing to pay down within the tier to free up some salary.

McLaren has had a rough start to the season but both Norris and Piastri have shown their quality as drivers at various points in the first two grand prix. There's nothing to specifically point to in saying that they will have a better weekend in Australia, but it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see their quality as drivers shine through. Not only are the duo set at a very reasonable price, they also won't be popular unless they qualify exceptionally well.

Despite not mentioning either driver specifically, Alpine is a good constructor value. Both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon are regularly in points contention and Alpine is clearly the fifth-best team on the grid as a floor early this season. Because neither Gasly nor Ocon has established themselves as the superior driver with the team, I'd opt to use Alpine as a constructor rather than try to pinpoint which driver will have a better weekend -- barring a significant disparity in their qualifying pace. 

Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Australian Grand Prix

Race Winner – Sergio Perez (+380), Fernando Alonso (+700), George Russell (+4000)
Top-10 Finish – Logan Sargeant (+450)
Winning Constructor – Ferrari (+1600)
Safety Car – No +225

Much of the logic in the betting picks follows from the analysis in the DFS picks section. The two picks not mentioned are Sargeant as a top-10 finish and safety car. Sargeant had a disappointing race in Saudi Arabia, but he had the pace to reach Q2 and be in the fight for points. He made a few rookie mistakes – which could continue for some time longer – but he comes in tied for the longest odds for a top-10 finish and is a value based on the quality he's shown through two races.

According to the F1 website, there's a 67 percent chance of a safety car. The odds suggest a 70 percent chance, presenting at least some buying opportunity on the "no" side.   

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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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