It is on to leg two of Formula 1’s tour of Asia this weekend and the tables have turned again, this time back in favour of Nico Rosberg as he made it three-out-of-three victories post the summer break. An eight-point lead with six races remaining is a slender one though and the pressure is on the German in his attempt to secure his first drivers’ World Championship.
Are you the German or the Britain in your Fantasy mini-league or have you got greater arrears to make-up in the last half-dozen outings? Returning to the usual format, here is a driver and team under focus which (spoiler alert) may prevent you from haemorrhaging points to your rival players.
Nico Hulkenberg (£12m) – It would be difficult to argue that it hasn’t been a disappointing year for the Force India’s German driver, trailing his team-mate by 20 championship points in a car capable of springing a surprise. Sadly, in Fantasy GP terms, it has been even worse – his value of 10.17 points per million spent makes him the second-worst value driver for this campaign behind Felipe Massa (8.36). Hulkenberg’s hefty price tag of £12m doesn’t much help this but even in comparison to his team-mate, Sergio Perez (£11m), his record is weak with arrears of 66 points already and his value trailing the Mexican by 5.97 too. Simply put, money could easily be better spent elsewhere!
Manor (£4m) – In their guise as Marussia, the British racing team were a popular tactical pick last season, freeing up funds to spend elsewhere despite failing to accrue points. It is arguable that Manor have been a victim of circumstance this year, with the highly impressive Haas outfit racking up 27 more points at a £1m less in their début season but, being slightly cruel, there is little excuse to have Manor in your line-up this season if you are serious about challenging the fantasy leaders. A sole point in 15 races leaves them beating their immediate rivals, Sauber, and whilst this is nothing to be shameful for, you should free up a million and switch British for American for the final few races of the season.
Sebastian Vettel‘s Malaysian win last season was quite the surprise given it was achieved in a straight fight with Lewis Hamilton and the current World Champion will be desperate to go one better this year and keep his rival Rosberg behind him again. Red Bull (9th and 10th) and Force India (13th and 14th) should both be expected to finish higher this time around although Fernando Alonso is up against it again with another hefty penalty before the weekend even starts following his retirement last year. However, anyone “lucky” enough to have the Spaniard may be a reliable car away from a few bonus points.
Weather is often unpredictable in Sepang and it is unlikely to be any different this weekend with rain anticipated on all three days, though tying down a time could be tricky even for Michael Fish. A relaid track, which often results in a surface lacking grip, coupled with a tweaked layout mean there maybe some cautious approach and some mixed predictions could reap rewards.
Surprisingly, given the climate, there has only been four safety car periods in the 17 races held in the country to date so I wouldn’t recommend getting wild with that particular prediction unless rain becomes more of a certainly closer to the race weekend.