Here we go again – back-to-back GPs before we finally get a chance to catch ourselves after a breathless first half of an enthralling season. As the action heads to Budapest, here is the second part of
As the action heads to Budapest, here is the second part of fantasy-led team-mate battles:
Toro Rosso – Daniil Kvyat (£11m) v Carlos Sainz (£6m) – It has been a tough season for the Russian despite an impressive early podium in China. Demotion to Red Bull’s sister team, on-track run-ins with Sebastian Vettel and a string of retirements leave Kyvat fighting for his future, and reputation, plus trailing his new team-mate Sainz by 12 fantasy points. The Spaniard has shone in Verstappen’s absence, putting Kyvat in the shade with a value of 18.5 points per million spent, 6.1 more than his stable-mate. Even with a £3m cut in price following his demotion, all good money should prefer the seemingly more settled Sainz!
WINNER: CARLOS SAINZ
Force India – Sergio Perez (£11m) v Nico Hulkenberg (£12m) – There was a time that only one of these talented drivers was judged to be “deserving” of a drive with a bigger team, but it is the mature Mexican that is the shining light in 2016. At £1m cheaper, 48-points stronger, and a value of almost double, representing a return of 11.18 points compared to 6.25 per million spent, then it is simple to say that the fantasy game echos this position. Momentum, along with a bit of luck, may swing back the German’s way, but there is only one winner at the halfway stage.
WINNER: SERGIO PEREZ
McLaren – Jenson Button (£10m) v Fernando Alonso (£10m) – If we’re being kind then this Honda-powered team have shown signs of life during this campaign. Brief signs of life. There are a slender 12 points between the two drivers in Alonso’s favour but, despite also out-qualifying the Britain 8 to 2, there is very little to choose between the pair with Button putting together some sterling drives during the early course of this season.
Sauber – Felipe Nasr (£4m) v Marcus Ericcson (£4m) – These are two drivers that are rumoured to not get along, in a team that has had more important internal issues to deal with. Now new investment may only help to add to the fantasy gold that these two drivers offer, both second and third (respectively holding a value of 34.25 and 33 points per million spent) to the mighty bargain-basement Pascal Wehrlein. If this was a couple of races ago the Swede would have nicked this, perhaps quite comfortably, but I regrettably have to sit on the fence again here as the margins are paper-thin.
Other Tips – An emotional Hungarian race weekend in 2015 following the tragic death of Jules Bianchi culminated in one of the most entertaining races of the season, and a surprise win for Sebastian Vettel after an error-strewn drive for Lewis Hamilton and a late Nico Rosberg puncture left them in outside the podium places.
If you are looking for guidance for your fantasy prediction’s though, then the 2nd and 3rd places in 2015 for Red Bull may be the best indicator. On a circuit that relies less on pure engine power, maybe it is time to mix-up your podium picks and possibly even your polesitter after Daniel Ricciardo’s fantastic lap in Monaco.
Weather could be interesting in Hungary, with potential rain currently a factor for Friday’s practice and which may extend into the weekend (although this isn’t currently predicted).
Pirelli’s supersoft compound is unsurprisingly the popular choice on a slower and twisty circuit, with Ferrari going particularly keen with a massive 9 sets.
In respect of safety cars, only 40% of the last 10 races at the Hungaroring have seen an appearance, therefore the wise move may be to keep predictions on the low side for this one.
Both Renault’s and both Manor’s failed to finish at Silverstone and my tip would be for one of these four to “win” the first retirement lottery this time out.