Pirelli Italian Grand Prix
Location: Monza, Italy
Course: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
Course Length: 5.79km
Italian Grand Prix Race Preview
It was never realistic, but any hope that the summer break would bring some parity to the running order on the grid has been dashed quickly. Red Bull, and Max Verstappen in particular, remains the team to beat. To this point, the team has won every race this season and is making a bid to complete that feat for the first time in F1 history. Mercedes and Aston Martin look most likely to challenge Red Bull, but the most likely way Red Bull falls is through an error of their own.
We'll continue to have the jockeying of the next best drivers and teams on the grid, but Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari have consistently been best of the rest, which doesn't leave much to talk about in terms of storylines.Of the trio this week, Aston Martin will likely be at a disadvantage due to their typically being set up best for slower tracks with a lot of corners.
Instead, we can focus on some storylines further down the grid. Neither Alfa Romeo nor Williams have confirmed their second driver for the 2024 season. It's difficult to envision Zhou Guanyu not being retained, as he's largely done the best he can with a subpar car. He has only one fewer point in the driver standings than veteran teammate Valtteri Bottas. Things look a bit different for Logan Sargeant at Williams. He has zero points as compared to Alex Albon's 17. Sargeant's weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix was a microcosm for his entire rookie season, as he reached Q3 for the first time in his career, but he then proceeded to crash out of qualifying. On race day, he slipped down the pack immediately before crashing again. Rumors have pointed in both directions regarding whether he'll be retained for 2024, but his performance in every race could shift the team's decision in one direction or another.
The final team to watch toward the bottom of the standings is Alpha Tauri. The team currently has three drivers vying for two seats. Yuki Tsunoda has proven he deserves to be on the F1 grid and should have one of those spots. The other is likely to come down to Daniel Ricciardo and Liam Lawson. After suffering a wrist injury that required surgery last weekend, Ricciardo is out for this weekend's race at a minimum. That's cracked the door for Lawson, though Ricciardo should still likely be favored for the second seat.
Key Stats at Monza
- Races: 77
- Winners from pole: 26
- Winners from top-5 starters: 65
- Winners from top-10 starters: 76
Previous 10 Monza Winners
2022- Max Verstappen
2021 - Daniel Ricciardo
2020 - Pierre Gasly
2019 - Charles Leclerc
2018 - Lewis Hamilton
2017 - Lewis Hamilton
2016 - Nico Rosberg
2015 - Lewis Hamilton
2014 - Lewis Hamilton
2013 - Sebastian Vettel
Monza is a fixture on the F1 calendar. As the sport tries to appeal to a wider-range audience and also generate as much revenue as possible by racing at modern tracks, the Italian Grand Prix offers us something of a throwback. The circuit is known as "The Temple of Speed," an appropriate nickname given that over three-quarters of the lap is taken at full speed. That makes starting grid position less important than at other circuits, such as Zandvoort and certainly Monaco.
It's also a big weekend for Ferrari, as it's their home race and thousands of Tifosi will jam into the grandstands. They've been off the pace this season, but a win or even podium finish could erase some of the frustrations for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr.
We have another factor to make this race weekend more unique, as the experimental tire allocation will be in place for the second time this season. This requires the use of hard tires in Q1, medium in Q2 and soft in Q3 of qualifying. In theory, this levels the playing field. In reality, it could serve to highlight the difference in pace between the haves and have-nots. For example, Alfa Romeo can't use soft tires to get out of Q1 when other potentially superior teams are on a hard or intermediate set. As for the tires themselves, teams and drivers will have the C3, C4 and C5 to work with, the softest range possible. This makes sense given what we know about the track characteristics, which diminish the wear on the tire.
DraftKings Value Picks for the Italian Grand Prix
DraftKings Tier One Values
Max Verstappen - $15,400
DraftKings Tier Two Values
DraftKings Tier Three Values
DraftKings Tier Four Values
DraftKings Tier Five Values
Formula 1 DFS Picks for the Italian Grand Prix
Verstappen has stood on his own since Monaco and there are no signs of that changing. As has been the case, it's all about weighing whether it's worth sacrificing a significant amount in other areas of the roster to squeeze him in.
Other than being the best driver by almost a literal mile, the case for Verstappen is that the second-fastest driver changes on a race-to-race basis. Of the tier two drivers, the strongest case is for Alonso due to his dominance over Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll. Stroll has topped Alonso in just one race this season, meaning the latter is a strong bet to immediately lock in five DK points.
Other than Alonso, I'm willing to drop into Tier Three. Motivation doesn't make cars faster, but perhaps Ferrari can manage to not make a significant strategic blunder or mistake on pit road at their home race. The argument for Piastri is the inverse of Alonso, as his gap to Lando Norris ($9,400) isn't as significant as their price indicates. McLaren should be fast and the best bet is Norris to have the better finish, but price evens that discussion out.
From there, we get into some value picks. From an optics standpoint, Ocon has arguably had the better season for Alpine, but Gasly has one more point in the driver standings. As that would indicate, there's not a huge disparity between the drivers, but rostering either one as a mid-price option is a decent bet.
Tsunoda is the obvious value. He's a great bet to beat Alpha Tauri teammate Liam Lawson – who is making only his second career F1 start. Tsuonda has consistently gotten everything out of his car this season and is a threat for a top-10 finish. Zhou is a tougher case, but Alfa Romeo are talking up their potential form for this weekend. Qualifying should tell us if there is any merit to that optimism.
Formula 1 Betting Picks for the Italian Grand Prix
Race Winner – Max Verstappen (-440)
Wins Race and Fastest Lap – Verstappen (-160)
Fastest Qualifier and Race Winner – Verstappen (-250)
Fastest Qualifier, Race Winner and Fastest Lap – Verstappen (+145)
Podium Finish – George Russell (+550)
Top-Six Finish – Russell (-130), Oscar Piastri (+120)
Points Finish – Esteban Ocon (+115)
Verstappen is the obvious choice to win the race, but his odds reflect that. While less frequent than the past, car failures or accidents make it tough to bet him – even with his clear advantage – at his price. To get some added value, betting on him to either be the fastest qualifier and race winner or to turn in the fastest lap and be the race winner add in some value. For those willing to take even more risk, betting on all three is a reasonable choice.
Russell looks to be in bad form on the surface, as he hasn't tallied a podium finish since the Spanish Grand Prix. However, he qualified third in the Dutch Grand Prix and fell down the order specifically due to bad tire strategy. He showed pace and wasn't rewarded and now checks in at long odds.
McLaren figures to show well thanks to their pace in long straights and non-heavy braking zones. Piastri offers nice value as a top-six finish as a result.
Finally, we've talked about Alpine's form being somewhat unreliable, in large part due to mistakes similar to that of Ferrari. The pace of the car is consistently good enough to vie for the top 10 on merit, so getting them at decent odds is a good bet.