RACE DEBRIEF

    It was worth the wait, right? After a month of no action, the return of racing at Spa was a welcome boost for our Fantasy F1 players, with some enjoying more success than others. So what did we learn from the Belgian Grand Prix? And who could help you taste glory in Italy? Here’s our latest top tips…

    Streak watch…

    The streak bonuses have played an important part in our debut Fantasy F1 season, and the Belgian Grand Prix weekend – the first race since the summer break shutdown – proved no different.

    Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, along with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, all picked up the qualifying bonus (securing five Q3 appearances in a row, earning five points, as did Haas - both drivers qualified in top ten for third consecutive Grand Prix) – so those streaks now reset.

    Looking ahead to Italy, Bottas and Silver Arrows team mate Lewis Hamilton are the only drivers poised to unlock the 10 point Race Streak bonus if they produce a top-ten finish, as will the Haas team if Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen deliver the goods. Mercedes, meanwhile, are primed for a Qualifying Streak bonus.

    For the long-term planners (and whisper it quietly…) but after an inconsistent start to the season, Grosjean has recorded three straight top-ten finishes and is beginning to build momentum. If he can keep out of trouble at Monza, Singapore could see him pick up a 10-point race bonus (if he finishes both Grands Prix in the top ten).

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    The winners in Belgium…

    Thanks to Grosjean’s recent improvements, coupled with Magnussen’s consistent performances this year, Haas are beginning to reap the rewards – and the American squad scored a very useful 29 points at Spa, partly thanks to the Qualifying Streak bonus.

    Meanwhile, race-winner Vettel top scored for the drivers with an impressive 50 points, equalling his season-highest total at Silverstone. The German’s whopping tally was helped by his race victory and his P2 in qualifying, which alone secured him 34 points.

    Bottas deserves a shout out too, with the Finn producing a sublime drive from 17th on the grid to ultimately finish fourth, helping him gain a maximum points haul for places gained. That bonus, along with the Fastest Lap award, contributed to his total of 37 points.

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    The losers in Belgium…

    It’s perhaps no surprise that the three big victims of the opening-lap melee at Spa – Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc and Nico Hulkenberg – were among the biggest losers in Fantasy F1, too.

    Hulkenberg – who has been handed a 10-place grid penalty for Italy for causing the collision – and Leclerc both left Belgium on -11 points, after they were both forced to retire from the race a matter of seconds after the lights went out.

    The third first-lap retirement, Alonso, will also feel hard done by, as his exit was no fault of his own, but he finished the weekend on -12 points, completing a Belgian Grand Prix to forget for the outgoing McLaren driver.

    Toro Rosso, despite seeing Pierre Gasly come home in ninth, scored lowest of the teams in Belgium, with the Italian squad mustering up just seven points. They’ll be determined to deliver in front of their home fans this weekend, then…

    All eyes on Danny Ric in Italy…

    Speaking of bouncing back in Italy, Daniel Ricciardo will be pumped after being forced to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix with 14 laps to go – a result which ultimately meant he scored -9 Fantasy F1 points.

    Red Bull have already decided that his RB14 challenger will be fitted with Renault’s ‘Spec C’ engine in Italy, with Team Principal Christian Horner confirming the news in Belgium.

    But the change to Ricciardo’s car will see him fall to the back of the grid, with the team making the call to sacrifice grid position in Monza rather than at the proceeding race on the twisting streets of Singapore.

    It’s not all bad news, though, as we saw with Bottas, and the correct strategy for Red Bull and Ricciardo could see him repeat the Finn’s Spa exploits and pick up the bonuses on offer.

    Ricciardo did it last year, starting from 16th due to penalties for use of additional power-unit elements – and the Aussie finished fifth and picked up the fastest lap in the process. How he’d love to do that again…

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    Force India to kick on…

    Force India began their new era with a superb result in Belgium, as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez followed up on their Saturday exploits with impressive finishes on Sunday too.

    They’ll be full of confidence heading to Monza then, especially when you consider their performances when they raced at the Italian Grand Prix last year.

    Ocon and Perez both recorded top 10 finishes at Monza in 2017 - and will be hoping to repeat that off the back of their points at Spa.

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    We’ve made some improvements...

    To make the second half of the season even more enjoyable than the first, we've launched some new features to improve your F1 Fantasy experience!

    You can now:

    • Create multiple teams (up to 3)
    • Enter multiple teams into leagues
    • Create / join leagues that start from any race during the season
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    Have you signed up yet?

    To start playing Fantasy F1, simply click here to create your team – and remember you can make changes to your line-up at any time up to the selection deadline, which is the start of qualifying in Budapest on Saturday. And don't forget, there are a host of exclusive prizes on offer for the winner.

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