The Formula 1 continues their 2022 season in Italy at the Imola Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. We’ve all been clamoring for F1 Fantasy, and DraftKings stepped up, introducing its F1 DFS product, after the Drive To Survive Netflix documentary took over the racing world. This weekend’s set up is much different than a regular F1 race because there was a Sprint Race which gave teams constructor points Saturday and also decided the starting grid for Sunday’s race. So, we’ve got a lot to break down when considering our F1 DFS picks today.
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The wet conditions on Friday during the Free Practice 1 and Qualifying session lead to many slower laps than we are used to seeing. Saturday morning, the course dried up and we saw Mercedes put in some nice laps time in Free Practice 2, but unfortunately their times did not translate in the Sprint Race results. The Sprint Race was very exciting to watch and is going to come in extremely handy because it gives us a live simulation of what to expect during race conditions on Sunday.
Charles Leclerc got off the line quicker and took the early lead in the sprint but because of tire blistering and overall pace, Max Verstappen was able to catch him with 2 laps to go and take the checkered flag. A couple of big movers on the day were Kevin Magnussen who started the sprint in 4th, but ultimately finished in 8th place, while Sergio Perez moved up to 3rd from 7th and Carlos Sainz jumped from 10th place to start in 4th. Guanyu Zhou got bumped by Pierre Gasly on the first lap and collided with a wall so he will be starting from the back in 20th spot. While I did expect Mercedes to move up from their starting positions, George Russell started and finished in 11th, while Lewis Hamilton started in 13th and ended up finishing 14th in the sprint. I cannot advise that you play any Mercedes driver in any cash games and I expect them to be very low owned with their results. I do not see how they can be worth their prices unless massive chaos happens at the front of the grid. The Awesemo team of experts and data analysts have already been in the lab creating a proprietary model and have F1 DFS projections available for this week’s race. Using those F1 Fantasy projections, we’ve got you covered with all of the best DraftKings F1DFS picks for the Imola Grand Prix on Sunday.
More F1 Fantasy Tools & Resources
- If you are looking for an in-depth source on F1 Fantasy Racing, check out our explanatory article on How to Play DraftKings F1 DFS.
- Get a little help making your DraftKings F1 DFS picks with our F1 Fantasy DraftKings Preview: Imola Grand Prix
- Take advantage of our expert F1 Fantasy Projections for DraftKings Fantasy Racing.
F1 DFS Picks: DraftKings F1 Fantasy Racing Advice
Best F1 Fantasy & DFS Constructor Picks
Red Bull ($11,000)
Once again we have a two horse race in the constructors options. Two weeks ago in Australia we saw the Mercedes constructor team come in with the optimal lineup but that was because Red Bull lost Max Verstappen and Ferrari lost Carlos Sainz. If both drivers finish the race, Red Bull or Ferrari will be your optimal constructor this weekend. Red Bull will be given the advantage this week as Verstappen took the pole in Qualifying and also took down the sprint race with Perez coming in third.
If Charles Leclerc’s tires held up Ferrari might be looking at the pole on Sunday, but unfortunately they had to settle for a 2nd and 4th place finish in the sprint. Leclerc and Verstappen have been putting on a show and this should be an exciting battle come Sunday. Red Bull should be the higher owned option since they are slightly cheaper with Verstappen starting on pole, but Ferrari no doubt has a shot at finishing 1-2 if something were to malfunction with Max or any of the Red Bull cars.
It is a big “if”, but if both Red Bulls and Ferraris finish the race without any issues, I don’t expect any other team to contend for a podium at Imola. With all that said, there is potential rain in the forecast for Sunday, so a McLaren constructors team play is in play for GPPs only. If you do go the route of a McLaren constructor lineup, I would highly suggest playing Lando Norris in the flex and then building from there. There is a scenario where racers at the front collide and we see McLaren finish 3-4 or even 2-3 depending on the carnage.
Best F1 Fantasy & DFS Driver Picks
Max Verstappen ($10,400 DraftKings; 1st)
It is truly hard to feel overly confident in Verstappen’s ability to finish a race considering he has only finished one race in three attempts this year, but his pace and ability is top-notch this season. Not using Verstappen is banking on him not finishing the race. There is a reason he is coming off a Drivers Championship trophy in 2021. If you do believe Verstappen does not finish the race, then Sergio Perez ($9,000, 3rd) comes in as a main play for me.
Charles Leclerc ($11,000 DraftKings; 2nd)
The same analysis can be said for Charles Leclerc. The main difference between Leclerc and Verstappen this year is that Leclerc’s car is all around more consistent and faster. The Ferrari has been quicker in many of the races so far this year and this is also their home race. No one would be surprised to see Leclerc to take the checkered flag at Imola as his Vegas odds currently sit around +160 to win. While Ferrari may not be coming out and saying that Leclerc is their #1 driver, as it looks now, the only way Sainz should finish ahead of Leclerc is if he has car issues. If you believe Leclerc runs into car issues or an accident, Carlos Sainz ($10,000; 4th) makes for a strong pay up play in GPPs.
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Lando Norris ($8,000 DraftKings; 5th)
I might be stealing a fantasy football reference, but the McLaren team mates feel like the frozen pond tier of this race. They are the clear cut 3rd team this weekend, but really can’t compete with the Ferrari’s or Red Bull’s if this race stays dry and clean. Norris is the preferred play of the two in this range as he has out qualified Ricciardo in every facet this weekend and realistically the main path for Ricciardo to beat Norris this weekend is if Norris doesn’t finish the race. I don’t have an overabundance of Norris this week, but he is a big piece of my lineups when I am fading Verstappen and Leclerc.
Valtteri Bottas ($6,800 DraftKings; 7th)
This next section is where GPPs will be won or lost. Bottas, Alonso, Magnussen, and even Schumacher to an extent, are going to decide the top of the scores this weekend. Bottas had a strong sprint race finishing in 7th, less than a second behind Ricciardo. Not only that, his team mate will be starting in 20th spot, virtually giving him a 5 point bonus if he can finish the race. If you are able to find the money, Bottas is my preferred play of the four.
Fernando Alonso ($5,800 DraftKings; 9th)
Alonso has had glimpses of hope this season, but has yet to put a full race weekend together. In Australia, it was his crash in Q3 which snowballed his results on Sunday, while he has lost positions in every race this season. I am buying into the promise once again that is brewing this weekend after qualifying in 5th and finishing in 9th in the sprint race, finishing about 1.5 seconds behind Magnussen and 1.5 seconds in front of Schumacher. Alonso grades out as one of the best mid-range value plays from our Awesemo projections.
Kevin Magnussen ($5,400 DraftKings; 8th) and Mick Schumacher ($4,400 DraftKings; 10th)
The HAAS driver’s projections are very close, but our projections and my analysis give the edge to Kevin Magnussen who managed to put up a brilliant 4th place in qualifying and will be starting two spots ahead of his team mate Schumacher. Magnussen out-qualified Schumacher all weekend, and at this point, but anything can happen come race day. They are both very close, but I will have slightly more Magnussen in my builds.
Sebastian Vettel ($3,400 DraftKings; 13th)
Our two best value plays should be quite obvious once again, but Sebastian Vettel stands out as a top cheap play. Vettel managed to make it to Q3 in qualifying and started the sprint race in 9th place. The car clearly doesn’t have the race pace yet as he dropped four places, but still will be starting two spots ahead of team mate Lance Stroll. Vettel is -230 at various sports books to beat his team mate which should be considered as most of the Aston Martin’s driver score will be based on which team mate will beat the other. As much as I think Vettel is the superior driver, he is still accident prone in this car and I would sprinkle in some Stroll if you are building 5+ lineups.
Alex Albon ($3,600 DraftKings; 18th)
Alex Albon will continue to be my main target in the value range and his -500 to beat his team mate is extremely impressive considering he is starting just one place ahead of Nicolas Latifi on Sunday. Albon raced incredibly well in Australia leading to a 10th place finish after starting in 20th, and he also has the ability to get some spot differential points if we get any crashes on Sunday. Albon is the far superior driver at Williams, but I may still have one lineup with Latifi because of the money disparity, just in case something happens to Albon.
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