In this article, we will dive into Fanteam’s Formula Fantasy League, and focus on the upcoming race weekend with a Russia Weekend preview.
Previous Formula Fantasy Review – Italy (Mugello)
We were expecting a spectacular debut race in the famous Mugello circuit, and we certainly got it! The high-speed track with the fast corners and narrow lanes brought a lot of drama right from the start.
Qualifying went as expected, with Mercedes locking the front row and Lewis Hamilton winning the pole position beating his teammate Valteri Bottas. Red Bull got 3rd place and 4th. Charles Leclerc managed to get the 5th place for Ferrari and Racing Point got 6th and 7th place. Renault managed to qualify both cars in Q3. Mclaren didn’t go as well as they wanted and placed in 9th and 11th.
The biggest surprise of qualifying was the 16th place of Pierre Gasly. After his first win at Monza and the good results in the practice sessions, he was a really popular pick driver in fantasy.
The Race, though, got absolutely crazy! Four drivers crashed in the opening corner after a Verstappen breakdown, forcing a safety car. And when the safety car went in, a massive 3-car crash stopped the race with a red flag. After 25 minutes the race started again with just 13 drivers.
Mercedes was leading the race with Lance Stroll being into 3rd place while Ricciardo, Albon, and Perez were following. On lap 43, Lance Stroll suffered a tyre issue and with a hard spinning crash into the barriers forcing a second red flag and the race stopped once again. The exciting race started again with a 12-driver grid with Mercedes starting in the first two places and Ricciardo’s Renault in 3rd.
After the final restart, things cleared out with Hamilton taking the comfortable win, Bottas 2nd, Albon finally getting a podium finish at 3rd and Ricciardo ending up 4th.
Fantasy points in Italy (Mugello)
How Fantasy managers did in Italy (Mugello)
As you’d expect, nobody picked the perfect team for the weekend – not even close!
Max Verstappen was the most popular pick with 92% and his crash in the race shaked things up in fantasy. Lewis Hamilton was picked from 74% of managers and 39.4% as captain. Valtteri Bottas was picked by 80% and 35% as captain. Alexander Albon was picked only from 23% of the managers.
The first two teams had Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as captain (captained by 1.5%) and he was picked by 32%. The top team also had a very rare Grosjean, who was picked in only 1% of the teams – going against the current really worked this time!
The biggest disappointment of the weekend was definitely Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen. Pierre Gasly had a terrible weekend and he was picked by 55% of the managers.
Russia Weekend preview – the circuit
The Formula Fantasy League – Russia weekend is held on a street circuit built around Olympic Park in Sochi. Big straights and medium-speed corners are the key characteristic of the track. The weather is still a question mark, as some rain is expected on Saturday. We have only seen a rain session at a Free Practice back in 2015, so Qualifying with rain will be a new thing.
Pirelli has chosen the three softest tyre compounds for the first time in Russia, and it will be interesting to see how they are used. We also expect the one pit stop strategy will be the best and will be preferred by most of the teams, because the speed limit in the pit lanes is significantly lower in this track. Tyre management will definitely be a key aspect of how the race goes.
Finally, we a considerable amount of fans in the stands for the first time this year! After the 3000-fan limit in Mugello, Russian organizers are planning to go much higher and bring back the crowd vibe that we missed so much.
Russia Weekend preview – driver prices
Hamilton is once again the most expensive by far, and rightfully so. We see a power group at Bottas and Verstappen, and beyond that the midfield with Racing Points, McLarens, Renaults, and Albon are all close to each other.
We see another small group just below the 10M mark with the AlphaTauris and Ferraris. The last three teams are very close to each other as well, priced from 4M to 2M.
Formula Fantasy League – Russia Preview
What to expect
Russia has always been a Mercedes track, and they’ll probably win this year as well. Red Bull stands out as number two, and after them there will be a battle among the 3rd place contenders (Racing Point, McLaren, Renault). Expect AlphaTauri to do well once again, and the Ferrari-powered teams to struggle a lot (Ferrari, Haas, Alfa Romeo). Williams will be much more in contest, and has good chances to beat Haas and Alfa Romeo.
Team preview – Mercedes
Mercedes are expected to have the advantage in a track where they’re unbeaten since the first race in 2014. Mercedes seems to be by far the best team so far, and this weekend is once again the team to beat. Lewis Hamilton (22.8M) is aiming for the win to match Michael Schumacher’s tally of 91 wins. He will have to beat his teammate Valtteri Bottas (18.7M), who is really good in that track. Lewis Hamilton has 4 wins in Russia and Valtteri Bottas has 1 win.
Team preview – Red Bull
Max Verstappen (18.3M) and Red Bull will fight for the win and Verstappen wants to bounce back after his horrible Mugello track. This weekend the softest Pirelli compounds will be used for the first time this season and Red Bull is better than Mercedes in managing tyres. Max Verstappen wanted to take the win just like he did in Silverstone when the tyres were softer than usual.
Team preview – Racing Point
Racing point is coming in with a nice aerodynamics upgrade which they tested on Stroll’s car in Mugello. Both drivers look very strong, with especially Perez (13.5M) trying to prove a point and win a contract for next year.
Team preview – McLaren
Lando Norris (11.2M) was voted as the most impressive driver of the season this week, and he should be looking to prove his value. Sainz (11.6M) needs to bounce back from the disappointing Mugello crash and do much better this time.
Team preview – Renault
Russia should be a good track for Renault, who have shown their strengths in the medium-turn corners. Ricciardo’s (11.2M) performance so far has been exceptional, and we don’t see any reason it doesn’t continue.
Team preview – AlphaTauri
Home race for Kvyat (8.5M), who is still fighting for his spot for next year. This is his chance to beat his standout teammate Gasly (9.5M) in a track he should feel comfortable in. On the other hand Pierre Gasly wants a bounce back after the previous dissapointing race weekend.
Team preview – Ferrari
Ferrari is on a downwind spiral, getting worse and worse in every race. They are bringing an update to their car this weekend, but don’t expect much of them. Finishing both drivers in the top 10 would probably be an overachievement for Ferrari.
Team preview – Haas
Haas will definitely struggle in this race due to their weak power unit. Magnussen (3.4M) and Grosjean (2.9M) are almost even in skill and results, and they are both fighting for their spots for next season.
Team preview – Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo will also have a tough time in Russia. A points finish is almost impossible, and we see them fighting to avoid the last positions with Haas and Williams.
Team preview – Williams
Russel (3.0M) had a perfect 30-0 qualifying record against his teammates leading to the Mugello race, which broke with Latifi (2.0M) beating him for the first time. We’d expect Russel to bounce back, but it’s more like a fight between the two of them, than with the other teams in the track.
Summing up – Russia Weekend Preview
Another big Race Weekend is ahead of us in Russia! We’re looking forward to seeing Hamilton compete for his 91st win, Red Bull to fight for the strategic advantage with the tyres, and the three midfield teams to have a good competition for the best-of-the-test. Many drivers have things to prove so they can guarantee their future in the league, so everyone should be laser-focused on this one.
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