• Having reached the one-third mark of the season, I thought it was high time to check the post and answer the top questions in F1 Fantasy this week.

    With a double podium in Spain, is Mercedes suddenly a good play in Canada?

    There is no doubt that Mercedes is coming off its best weekend of the year, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finishing 2-3 in Barcelona, comfortably ahead of Ferrari and Aston Martin. The upgrades Mercedes brought to the W14 have clearly paid off, with both drivers reportedly feeling more comfortable and confident in the car. But the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is tailor-made to this iteration of the Mercedes and also flattered the W13 at this time last year. One of two things would need to happen in the next few weeks in order to consider Mercedes a reliably good play going forward – either the W14 needs to perform well on a wide range of circuits or the current price of Mercedes and its drivers needs to come down. At $24.0M and $18.7M, respectively, Hamilton and Russell are the second- and fourth-most expensive drivers in F1 Fantasy. They are certainly delivering points, with Hamilton in 4th with 174 points and Russell in 5th with 127. But when you look at their points-per-million (PPM), Hamilton drops to 8th, while Russell drops to 11th.

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    A look at the constructors on a points-per-million basis shows a similar drop in value for Mercedes, who are second in fantasy points scored overall with 346, but only the 6th most valuable in points-per-million with 13.73.

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    Is Zhou Guanyu now the hands-down best driver under $5.0M? 

    Zhou Guanyu had his best weekend of the year in fantasy and arguably the best Sunday of his career in Spain, finishing 9th in his Alfa Romeo without the benefit of any DNFs. It was a terrific drive by Zhou, who turned 10 overtakes and 4 positions gained into a total of 16 fantasy points for the week. He is now the third-best driver on a points-per-million basis, behind only Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. His 54 fantasy points on the year top Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, and Lando Norris. The closest driver to Zhou on points valued at under $5.0M is Yuki Tsunoda, who is 20 points behind Zhou and only $0.1M less. Zhou has more fantasy points on the year than Alex Albon, Nyck de Vries, Nico Hulkenberg, and Logan Sargeant combined. He reached Q3 in qualifying last year in Canada and finished 8th in the race for the best finish of his career. He has certainly distinguished himself among the budget drivers and can be rostered this week in Canada with confidence.

    Do I go with Pierre Gasly or Lance Stroll this week? 

    All year there has been a healthy debate over who should fill out the mid-level driver position on the majority of fantasy teams: Pierre Gasly or Lance Stroll. They have been relatively close this season, but Gasly’s lack of negative weekends has helped give him the edge thus far. Stroll has delivered two negative point totals (in Saudi Arabia and Monaco), which has left him trailing Gasly by 25 fantasy points on the season. As a result, Gasly is 5th in PPM this year, while Stroll is only 10th. Aston Martin is scheduled to bring a major upgrade to Canada after a disappointing 6-7 finish in Spain, while Alpine will wait another couple of weeks to introduce their next major update. If you believe Fernando Alonso that the upgraded Aston Martin will be back in front of both Ferrari and Mercedes this weekend, then you may want to take a chance on Stroll delivering in his home race. If you prefer a more consistent performer on the year, then you may want to go with Gasly, whose Alpine performed well at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last year.

    What is the best team I can construct without rostering any Red Bull drivers? 

    For many fans, the thought of rooting for Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing – even in the context of F1 Fantasy – is unimaginable. As such, they are faced with building a team without the top two highest-scoring drivers and the highest scoring constructor on the grid. The best team one could construct without Red Bull would look like this:

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    Funnily enough, the best team in F1 Fantasy that doesn’t feature Red Bull is one that heavily features Mercedes. Having Mercedes, Hamilton, and Russell would cost you less than having Red Bull, Verstappen, and Perez ($67.9M vs $73.9M), but would also net you far fewer points (647 vs. 1191). The savings of $6M would allow you to spend more on your mid-level and budget drivers, but would not be enough to make up the large difference in points. However, if you’re dead set on not rostering anyone from Red Bull, then this would be the best team you could currently construct for $100M or less.

    What does the worst team in F1 Fantasy look like right now? Well, that would be this squad, which is heavy on Williams and Alpha Tauri, and which has been outscored on the year by each of the top 6 drivers on the grid.

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