Grand Prix De France Le Castellet
Location: Le Castellet, France
Course: Circuit Paul Ricard
Course Length: 5.842 KM
French Grand Prix Race Review
Ferrari has won consecutive races, yet still enters the French Grand Prix 56 points behind Red Bull in the constructor standings. That's due to both poor strategic decisions, which caused Charles Leclerc to finish fourth at Silverstone, and unreliability, which left Carlos Sainz Jr.'s car in flames toward the end of the Austrian Grand Prix. The driver's standings are in similar condition, though Sainz did push ahead of Sergio Perez to move into third place. However, Leclerc remains 38 points behind Max Verstappen for the lead, and if we have any hope for a competitive championship through all 22 rounds, Ferrari and Leclerc need to make up ground before the summer break.
Key Stats at Circuit Paul Ricard
Winners from Pole: 11
Wins from Font Row: 13
Wins from starting third or later: 4
Furthest start back to win: 5
Previous 10 French Grand Prix Winners
2021: Max Verstappen
2019: Lewis Hamilton
2018: Lewis Hamilton
2008: Felipe Massa
2007: Kimi Raikkonen
2006: Michael Schumacher
2005: Fernando Alonso
2004: Michael Schumacher
2003: Ralf Schumacher
2002: Michael Schumacher
Paul Ricard has held an inconsistent place in the F1 calendar but has been on the circuit for the French Grand Prix since 2018. As the key stats indicate, it isn't a track with a tremendous amount of overtaking — particularly opportunity moving up from the back of the pack — so qualifying will be extremely important. In more recent seasons, we've at least seen a relatively tight finish for race wins and podium spots. Particularly last year, Verstappen and Hamilton had a tight battle. Given the relatively similar pace and driver quality between Ferrari and Red Bull and Verstappen and Leclerc, we could see a closer battle at the front than has historically been the case.
Mercedes will be a team to watch. They have continued to capitalize primarily on some reliability issues for the other top teams, with Hamilton picking up podiums in consecutive races heading into the weekend. Now, Mercedes is touting upgrades to the car. If it plans to compete for wins this season, this weekend will be the time for it to cut into the pace advantage — rather than relying on missteps — of the elite teams.
There are plenty of other storylines to watch among the middle and even bottom-tier teams. Alpha Tauri has been among the more disappointing teams this season but is also touting big upgrades for this event. The drama between Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren appears to be kicking up a notch, which may not affect on-track performance but will remain a storyline until an official resolution is announced. Finally, Haas is in fine form with both Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen showing both competence and confidence on the track.
The track itself offers a bit of everything with technical sections, high-speed corners and a pair of long straights. That plays into the separate strengths of Ferrari and Red Bull, with the former typically performing better in more technical areas of the track and the latter showing better top-end speed. Again, how Mercedes fits into that picture likely will define the weekend.
Finally, another item to monitor will be the enforcement of track limits. Lando Norris likely lost a position at Austria due to a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits. There isn't much risk to going off-grid at Paul Ricard — the texture of the track off the grid can flat spot tires, but sausage curbs are not prominent — so we could see another grand prix with a lot of warnings, and perhaps penalties, for track limits.
DRAFTKINGS Value Picks for the French Grand Prix
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
Max Verstappen - $12,000
Charles Leclerc - $11,200
Lewis Hamilton - $10,200
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
Sergio Perez - $9,000
George Russell - $8,400
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
Fernando Alonso - $7,000
Esteban Ocon - $5,800
DraftKings Tier 4 Values
Kevin Magnussen - $4,000
Mick Schumacher - $3,800
DraftKings Constructor Values
Red Bull Racing - $11,900
Mercedes - $9,700
Alpine - $5,900
Haas - $3,900
Formula 1 DFS Picks for the French Grand Prix
Team Captain – Charles Leclerc ($16,800)
Lewis Hamilton ($10,200)
Fernando Alonso ($7,000)
Pierre Gasly ($6,200)
Mick Schumacher ($3,800)
Constructor – Alpine ($5,900)
DraftKings appears to have made builds straightforward with its pricing for those who strictly hunt for value. Ferrari has had both a less reliable car and worse management on race day for much of the season, but they ran their most complete race of the season in Austria. There doesn't seem to be a clear favorite between Leclerc and Verstappen based on pace, so if you believe in the power of momentum (and a little salary saving) this might be the week to opt for Leclerc. News of Carlos Sainz's grid penalty makes it a bit more difficult to build a Leclerc-Ferrari Captain-Constructor stack, and I like the construction to pay down at constructor to jam in top-tier drivers. Monitor qualifying, but if Mercedes closes the gap in pace, Hamilton enters the conversation as a Captain to build around.
Tier 2 dwindles with the news of Sainz's penalty, but it's still composed of the second driver on two of the top-three teams. The most interesting driver in the tier could become Russell, depending on how the Mercedes performs in qualifying.
Some of the usual suspects were cut out of Tier 3, most notably Lando Norris. Norris has driven admirably for much of the season, but his price ($7,600) is difficult to justify given Ocon's strong form and extensive discount. Alonso has shown strong pace all season but regularly runs into bad luck.
There's not much need to stray from the Haas drivers for discount options. Both Magnussen and Schumacher have shown strong form recently. In particular, their ability to translate strong qualifying sessions into race day seems to indicate that both the drivers and team have turned a corner.
Overall, the desirable options at the top and bottom of the player pool are fairly clear. Build around either Verstappen or Leclerc and then save with a Haas driver. From there, it's a bit easier to get different in the mid-tier. Alpine is my favorite of that group but likely likely be the most popular, so that is a good area to get a bit more creative in larger field tournaments. If Alpha Tauri shows improved pace with the upgraded cars, Yuki Tsunoda and Gasly are nice options.
Formula 1 Betting Picks for the French Grand Prix (Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)
Race Winner – Charles Leclerc (+170), Lewis Hamilton (+650)
Podium Finish – George Russell (+175)
Top 10 Finish – Mick Schumacher (+110), Kevin Magnussen (+110), Pierre Gasly (+150), Yuki Tsunoda (+225)
Much of this section will mirror the DFS picks, at least from an expected performance standpoint. However, unlike DFS, don't wait to take a flier on the likes of Hamilton or even Gasly and Tsunoda. If those drivers qualify as well as expected thanks to upgrades to their car, the value will evaporate.
Sainz was originally a strong value for a podium, but his grid penalty makes Mercedes a team to pivot to. It's doubtful Russell will remain at such a strong value after the Sainz news, though. Looking for longer shots in that area, I'd shift to Alpine drivers (both were +1600 at time of drafting).
Odds for the winning margin weren't available at the time of drafting, but keep in mind that the gap could be smaller than is reflected historically. Depending on the value when released, I'd like 5-10 seconds as my pick.