F1 FANTASY: Tips for round two of the 2020 season after the opening race in Austria
How did your F1 Fantasy team do at the Austrian Grand Prix? Are you sitting pretty at the top of your league after the first race of the season? Or did you trail home in last place like an ailing F1 car missing half its gears? Either way, you can always do better, so in this first delve into F1 Fantasy data of 2020, we look how to maximise your score for the next Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
Optimal F1 Fantasy team from the Austrian Grand Prix
First let's take a look at the highest scoring team possible from Sunday's race.
Valtteri Bottas won, and, of course he was last week’s highest scoring driver, and with 35 points from victory and pole position alone, he leads the optimal team. That's perhaps not much of a shock but you’d have done well to predict the rest of the podium as second-place Charles Leclerc and third-place Lando Norris raked in the points – 41 and 36, respectively.
Also scoring big were Pierre Gasly, who beat his team mate, gained five positions and finished seventh to gain 24 points; and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who finished sixth and gained 22 points to top off the optimal team.
Bearing in mind the $100m budget, McLaren were excellent value for money (and most importantly, affordable enough to fit into this team) having scored 49 points. That’s 17 points fewer than Mercedes, but not even half of the Silver Arrows’ $32.2m price tag.
A final note on the optimal team: It doesn't include the Turbo Driver nor Mega Driver variables, which multiply a driver's score by 2x and 3x, respectively. Had you put Bottas as Mega Driver and Norris as Turbo Driver, the tally would have reached 340 points – a score that a handful of players actually managed last week.
Lowest scoring team for the Austrian Grand Prix
With nine retirees during the Austrian Grand Prix, there was a good chance some players had these drivers and lost plenty of points as a result.
George Russell’s DNF cost him 15 points even though he beat his team mate. Had he not retired, Russell could have even scored points in the race and gained even more Fantasy points for gaining places as he ran as high as 12th.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll also lost points for retiring, and bear in mind that neither of them got points for beating their team mate in qualifying and Raikkonen was eliminated in Q1, which put them in the least optimal team for this week.
If you had either Haas driver (hopefully not both!) you would have lost 15 points each for a retirement – but them’s the brakes…
What changes should you make for the Styrian GP?
So, should the raft of retirements in the last race panic you into making sweeping changes to your Fantasy F1 team? If you scored anything close to the 216-point mark, then definitely not. As last year’s champion told us, don’t fix what isn’t broke.
If you’re disappointed by Max Verstappen’s retirement and subsequent lack of points, which was mirrored by team mate Alex Albon who was spun out of podium contention late on, don’t be too quick to let them go. Honda have a reliability upgrade for this race that could sort out their issues, and Verstappen has won two of the last three races at the Red Bull Ring.
As for McLaren, they are an enticing prospect having outpaced Racing Point – partly through excellent tyre strategy, partly through great moves by Carlos Sainz and Norris – and didn’t seem to have a single hitch with reliability. So go for Sainz or Norris and get some bang for your buck.
But while Leclerc delivered plenty of points with a podium, there's no guarantee he will enjoy similar good fortune in terms of the Saftey Car periods and retirements which helped him last weekend, so you might be better off going with one of the Racing Point drivers, as pink cars qualified higher up the field in Austria.
Finally, with both Haas drivers appearing in the least optimal team, now might be a time to reconsider their place as we prepare to revisit the Red Bull Ring. Don't forget, you have until qualifying starts on Saturday to make changes to your team. Good luck!