F1 Fantasy Bahrain GP: Hamilton vs Verstappen - Round 1

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Winter testing was a sandy affair in Bahrain this year, and raised more than a few eyebrows this year and Mercedes struggled to complete their usual dominant number of laps.

The seven-time defending champions had issues with an unstable rear-end and a few gearbox issues. Meanwhile, the midfield looked tighter than ever as Ferrari picked up some improvements and AlphaTauri looked fast.

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The F1 2021 season is about to start, so it's time to make your F1 Fantasy picks!

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Hamilton or Verstappen?

With $100 million to snap up 5 drivers and a constructor, it's not simply a case of grabbing the top drivers, you've got to make a choice.

Lewis Hamilton starts the F1 Fantasy season at $33.5m and Max Verstappen is $24.8m.

Getting both will eat up over half your budget so you're going to have to choose just one of them.

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TROUBLE IN PARADISE: A tough pre-season has Mercedes on the ropes

Verstappen is more likely to increase in value, since Lewis is so expensive anyway, but even if he does are you really ever going to transfer him out?

While Mercedes' W12 proved tricky in pre-season testing, they and Lewis Hamilton were pretty dominant at Bahrain last year. We aren't getting off the Silver Arrows bandwagon just yet, and trust Lewis to get the job done. Pick the champ!

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Midfield options

So with our big ticket item selected, and ignoring Valtteri Bottas ($23.6m), we are left to pick a few pieces from the top of the remaining 17 drivers.

Our first pick is Sergio Perez ($18.4m). On course for a podium before an engine failure last year, and then winning at the Sakhir GP a week later, Perez shines when things go off-script.

His tyre management means he should make the most of any chaos, and now he is in a more competitive car he should be one step ahead of the rest. While he isn't going to be out-qualifying Max, he will be in Q3 every week almost without fail.

Likewise, Daniel Ricciardo ($17.3m) is a strong contentor to be your #2 driver.

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MAD MAX: Is Verstappen really a title contender in 2021?

However, our next choice is Daniel's new teammate Lando Norris ($13.1m). A good deal cheaper than Ricciardo, Norris has been consistently quick in his young F1 career and the McLaren has new Mercedes power behind it for 2021. He is also our Turbo Driver pick for this weekend.

Finally there is Esteban Ocon($10.1m). The Alpine driver finished 2020 in good form and is the cheapest of the midfield set by some way.

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Bargain shopping

You always need a cheap gem to shine through in fantasy, and for us that is Yuki Tsunoda ($8.8m).

The AlphaTauri looks more competitive this season, and is a safer bet for points than the Alfa Romeo, Haas, or Williams.

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FLYING HIGH: Yuki Tsunoda has shot up through the ranks to reach F1

Tsunoda may be a rookie, but he proved he could find his feet quickly in both F3 and F2.

At $6.2m George Russell is a very tempting option too. If Williams really has improved then he could start raking up the points.

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Constructor

The constructor pick can make or break your F1 Fantasy weekend. A double points finish, or better yet double podium, can boost your score massively.

As you would expect, both Mercedes ($38m) and Red Bull ($25.9m) are pricy options, so if you've spent heavily on drivers which team could be a bargain choice?

Aston Martin ($17.1m) is certainly tempting after the success Racing Point had here last season, but we've gone for Alpine ($15.4m). The slightly cheaper team gives us some stake in Fernando Alonso's return to F1, which just makes things a bit more fun this weekend!