Formula 1 DFS Picks and Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Formula 1 DFS Picks and Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Course: Yas Marina Circuit 
Circuit Length: 5.281 KM
Laps: 58

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

There may not be drama to match last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but all eyes will be on the battle for second place in the driver standings with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez level on points entering the final race of the season. That battle will be under even more scrutiny after Max Verstappen defied team orders and did not allow Perez to pass him for sixth place in last weekend's Sao Paulo Grand Prix. From the constructor standpoint, Mercedes could potentially catch Ferrari for second place, though it would take another pair of big performances from Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to make it a realistic possibility. There are a few driver storylines as well, as we'll see Sebastian Vettel, Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo in their final F1 race – at least for the foreseeable future.

Key Stats at Yas Marina Circuit

Races: 13
Winners from Pole: 8
Winners from front row: 12
Winners from top-5: 13

Previous 10 Yas Marina Circuit Winners

2021 – Max Verstappen 
2020 – Max Verstappen
2019- Lewis Hamilton
2018 – Lewis Hamilton 
2017- Valtteri Bottas
2016- Lewis Hamilton 
2015- Nico Rosberg
2014 – Lewis Hamilton 
2013- Sebastian Vettel 
2012- Kimi Raikkonen

Yas Marina offers a fantastic scene, with some features reminiscent of Monaco. The track runs under a hotel, there's a Ferrari-themed indoor park, and of course Yas Marina itself is littered with plenty of yachts. The race takes place primarily at night and gives a feel similar to that of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. As illustrated by the fact that 12 of 13 race-winners began from the top two on the grid, qualifying is vital to getting a good result. The track was modified for the 2021 race, with some of the more stop-and-start sections giving way to flowing track in the hopes of making the race more flowing. We did see plenty of action in last year's race – in part due to the desperation of both Hamilton and Verstappen – so there could be some hope for more passing once again.

Despite those changes, the track still features slow sections – highlighted by 16 turns in all. However, the track is quite smooth, so there isn't a huge demand on tires. As a result, Pirelli has sent the three softest compounds for the race weekend. Two things to note throughout the practice sessions is the team's commentary on the ability of rear tires to hold up and the tire temperature as the shift from daylight to night occurs.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Max Verstappen - $13,600
Lewis Hamilton - $11,200
Charles Leclerc - $10,6000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

George Russell - $10,000
Sergio Perez - $9,400
Carlos Sainz Jr. - $8,800

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Fernando Alonso - $7,000
Esteban Ocon - $6,600
Sebastian Vettel - $6,200
Valtteri Bottas - $5,600

DraftKings Tier 4 Values

Kevin Magnussen - $4,800
Daniel Ricciardo - $4,400
Lance Stroll - $4,200

Formula 1 DFS Picks for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Captain – Max Verstappen - $20,400
Carlos Sainz Jr. - $8,800
Fernando Alonso - $7,000
Lance Stroll - $4,200
Alex Albon -$4,000
Constructor- Alpine

On the surface, it would seem that Verstappen doesn't have much to race for. However, he showcased how competitive he is every time he gets in the car last weekend in Brazil, and he still has the best machinery. After having his actions in Brazil scrutinized throughout the week, he'll have some extra motivation. That combination makes me feel comfortable with paying up for him at Captain.

Ferrari will be a team to watch for multiple reasons this weekend. First is the aforementioned fight for second place in the constructor standings. There have also been rumors swirling about the future of Mattia Binnoto as team principal after Ferrari fumbled away any potential to compete with Verstappen and Red Bull for the top spot in the respective standings. If Verstappen is slotted into the Captain slot, we'll need to find savings elsewhere, so that's the reason for opting for Sainz over Leclerc.

Stepping down one tier further, Alonso has been a boom-bust option due to some collisions in recent weeks. However, he offers a combination of both driver and car quality that doesn't exist much in the midfield. Esteban Ocon has actually out-paced Alonso in points this season (86-81) but is $400 cheaper. He is a decent option to save a few dollars, and Alpine continues to be one of my favorite constructors. Besides the big three, Alpine almost always has the best chance to put two cars inside the top 10.  

Getting to the bargains, Stroll has placed in the top 10 in three of his last eight races. Aston Martin has had a more competitive car across the second half of the season, so he's among my favorite sub-$5,000 options. Albon fit into the build and has shown the ability to get the most out of his Williams this season. For those who want to swap Alonso for Ocon, Ricciardo can swap in for Albon. Though he's on his way out – at least for the time being – Ricciardo has turned one seventh and one fifth-place finish in his last five races.

Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Race Winner – Max Verstappen (-120); Charles Leclerc (+1000)
Top-Six Finish – Esteban Ocon (+165)
Winning Constructor – Ferrari (+650)
Winning Margin – Under five seconds (+115)

Verstappen has to be the default bet to win the race, though unsurprisingly he's also the favorite. To find some value we can turn to Leclerc, who hasn't won in 10 races. However, he's now a relative longshot to win and could be a spot to exploit. The same is true for Ferrari as the winning constructor, as they have the worst odds to win of any of Red Bull and Mercedes

I discussed being bullish on Alpine above, and Ocon offers better odds than Alonso. That makes Ocon a pretty easy choice for a top-six finish without laying odds.

As for the winning odds, we've either seen a driver run away with victory or a very close race in recent years. With Mercedes back in the mix for race wins, it's far more difficult to envision Red Bull running way with a win.

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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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