I’m not sure if it the simple fact it was Monaco, whether it was because I was located amongst another fantastic Badger Bash or whether it was seeing even more life breathed into this season’s World Championship but, I have to say, I enjoyed Monaco! Possibly, it was a combination of all three and the addition of my first very decent points haul of the season. It could have been so much more though Max, so much more…
There is no rest for the wicked though and Verstappen will be back amongst the runners and riders in Canada with, hopefully, a less angry Hamilton and a not quite so cheeky Vettel (who didn’t love that post-race interview?)! Montreal is usually a good bet to serve up a barn-storming treat of a race and we’ll hope for more of the same this time around. Undoubtedly, Mercedes faulty stopwatch either broke fantasy hearts or helped boost faltering campaigns so, as always, it is time to focus on your line-up once again for seventh race of 2015.
German Reliability? – Sebastian Vettel (£18m) – At one stage, it might have seemed unlikely that the young German would be recognised as a real character on the grid. However, those that felt he wasn’t already would appear short-sighted. As many race going fans know, Vettel has always had a positive impact away from the track with a bright and breezy personality, even during those years of domination, and this is coming across more and more on-track in what is proving to be fruitful campaign. Vettel may feel he is getting some of the luck that deserted him last year but the statistics speak for themselves – of the top runners he is better value than a more expensive Rosberg, better value than the cheaper Raikkonen and has blown the Williams duo away. A genuine championship bid by the end of November seems a challenge given the pace and reliability of the Mercedes outfit but he could yet play a integral part in your fantasy line-up.
Fantasy Year? – Felipe Nasr (£3m) – Sauber have had a quiet run recently in terms of championship points but the young Brazilian got their campaign back on track in Monaco with a couple of valuable points. This is the second PrixView where the talented débutante has come under focus and for good reason. Nasr, points per millions, is the best by almost two times from his nearest rival having accrued a massive 95 points for a spend of only £3m. To put this in some perspective, his closest rival is incredibility Roberto Merhi, the Manor GP driver, with 16.67 points per million compared to the 31.67 of Nasr. I doubt anyone could have confidently called out Nasr as the under-priced gem of 2015 but, so far at least, he definitely is!
Wings or Weights? – Red Bull (£20m) – It has undoubtedly been a difficult season for the Red Bull team, an under-powered engine and some very vocal battles with their supplier has left them desperately chasing some traction in 2015. Monaco actually provided some respite from the bad times as the unique demands of the street circuit played into the Horner’s hands. It may have been the best wedding present he could have hoped for! However, at a hefty £20m, with a return of just 2.6 points for each million spent to date, it would be a stretch to say whether any genuine fantasy contenders will prove as loyal to Red Bull as they claim to be to F1.
Other Tips – An exciting race in 2014 saw Ricciardo as a last-gasp winner as he took advantage of Mercedes reliability issues to take one of his three season wins. History is unlikely to repeat itself for Red Bull but that shouldn’t discount the potential for surprises on a traditionally demanding circuit. Hamilton has won three times previously (in 2007, 2010 and 2012) and he’d be a good bet to repeat the feat here but he’ll have to bounce back from back-to-back disappointments to succeed.
Weather in Canada is usually cooler than many circuits and this would, on paper, appear to play into the hands of Mercedes although rain cannot be discounted – many will recall the record, almost 5-hour Button victory in 2011. Well, maybe not the whole 5 hours! Rain isn’t currently anticipated for the race weekend but this may always change as the clock ticks by to Montreal. Massa and Perez should remind those gambling on no safety car that it always remains a prospect although there would have to be an unexpected deluge to repeat that record six seen in, again, 2011! Enjoy the race weekend and don’t forget those priceless predictions!