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F1 Fantasy tips: 3 different strategies to experiment with for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Staff Writer

Samarth Kanal
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The first of this season's 23 Formula 1 Grands Prix takes place this weekend in Bahrain, and that means it’s time to get your F1 Fantasy team sorted ahead of qualifying on Saturday. But where do you start? We explore three different strategies you could experiment with in the early part of this season...

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1. A Hamilton-focused team

A solid starting point is reigning champion and big 2020 F1 Fantasy points hauler Lewis Hamilton ($33.5m).

If you want to build your team around the champ, you could also purchase Pierre Gasly ($11.7m), Sebastian Vettel ($16.2m), Mick Schumacher ($5.8m) and George Russell ($6.2m), and have Red Bull as your constructor. Or, you could buy Charles Leclerc ($16.8) instead of Vettel. The downside with this plan is that you can't afford Mercedes as your constructor, as they would swallow $38.0m of your $100m starting budget.

READ MORE: Top F1 Fantasy tips from last year's champion ahead of the 2021 season

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Hamilton was 2020's highest scorer on track and in the game, but will he do the same this season?

In Bahrain, however, it's not guaranteed that Mercedes will score more than Hamilton. Last year, Hamilton scored 59 with pole and victory at the circuit while Valtteri Bottas fell down the order, leaving Mercedes with just 51 points.

So, unless you're confident that the Silver Arrows will achieve a one-two in Bahrain, you might be better off buying Hamilton than sacrificing him to buy Mercedes. But in the long-term, it might be wiser to have Mercedes if you want to include Bottas's contribution, or cash in on streaks. This could well be the crunch decision for many players this year.

Note that our Form Guide pointed out that the Briton might not repeat pole and a win here, with testing data analysis pointing towards a deficit in short-run pace for Mercedes...

FORM GUIDE: Who will come out of the blocks quickest as the 2021 season begins in Bahrain?

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Mercedes take up nearly 40% of your team's budget. A solid bet over the the season, but not necessarily the most lucrative one.

2. Choosing a Verstappen-focused team

What if you wanted to back Red Bull – favourites in many people's eyes – this weekend? Then, you could add Max Verstappen ($24.8m) and buy Red Bull ($25.9m), leaving you enough money for Daniel Ricciardo ($17.3m), Sergio Perez ($18.4m), Antonio Giovinazzi ($7.9m), and Nikita Mazepin ($5.5m).

READ MORE: Red Bull would be ‘stupid’ to write off Mercedes threat in 2021, says Verstappen

That would mean you're banking on Mercedes really not delivering in Bahrain, which would be a brave call since they have won five Bahrain GPs in the hybrid era (Ferrari the other two), while Red Bull last won in 2013.

In that case, you could sell Perez, and buy Russell and Mercedes if you’d rather spread your bets. You would therefore do without the chance to put Perez or another competitive driver as your Turbo Driver. More on that below.

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Verstappen scored 457 points in 2020, to Hamilton's 699

3. Choosing neither Red Bull nor Mercedes

In 2020, Red Bull scored 699 points, Mercedes 1,014 points, while Hamilton scored 699 and Verstappen 457. That means you’re better off having a strong constructor and choosing a more balanced driver roster over the season. It also means you can spread your bets in these uncertain times.

However, if you’re confident that this won't be a season filled with one-twos, and are banking on Red Bull's ability to disrupt the champions, it might be worth going for McLaren as your constructor ($18.9m), and buying Hamilton, Verstappen, Schumacher, Yuki Tsunoda ($8.8m) and Nicholas Latifi ($6.5m) or Russell as your drivers.

READ MORE: The hopes and fears for every Mercedes fan in 2021

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If you want to take a punt on Red Bull, you can afford both of their drivers and the team

That would mean you might make a notional loss of around 500 points over the next 17 races by missing out on Mercedes, but gain Hamilton’s tally of over 600 – and over 400 from Verstappen. Having two strong drivers could more than make up for the lack of a top constructor.

However, by using this tactic you would forgo the chance to put a driver such as Perez, Ricciardo or Leclerc as your Turbo Driver, thus doubling their points. As Perez scored 318 points in 2020 for Racing Point (and is likely to better that now he's with Red Bull), you’d miss out on the chance to double that tally, putting you at a potential disadvantage if he, or another driver under $20m, scores a shock pole, podium, or win.

READ MORE: Our writers' predictions and hot takes ahead of the new season

F1 Fantasy gives you the chance to make three teams, however, so you could experiment with all three of these strategies and see which one comes out top after the first race or two. Good luck!

Join leagues set-up by your favourite teams or social channels, invite your friends and make your teams at Fantasy.Formula1.com before qualifying in Bahrain!

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