Race Report: Hamilton dominates French GP

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The 60th French Grand Prix was a hot, sunny affair and leading up to the race, the weekend practice sessions and qualifying clearly showed that Mercedes was the team to beat. The Paul Ricard circuit is a pedestrian circuit that may be a better test track than it is a race track and as such, the race was quite pedestrian as a result. That is if you consider a Mercedes 1, 2 finish a pedestrian result. If you’re a Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas or Lewis Hamilton fan, this this race a great fun.

Leading from pole position, Lewis Hamilton led every lap and lapped up to 7th place while his teammate struggled to keep pace with him. The nearest competitor was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who manage to pressure Bottas at the end and finish 3rd.

Win

A win for Mercedes who looked dominant all weekend and capitalized on their strong qualifying position by converting a 1,2 quali result into a 1,2 race result. Although both cars experienced blistering on their front-left Hard compound tires, they were able to still finish strong through difficulties with their Pirelli’s. Even though they experienced tires issues, it says a lot that other teams still, without blistering, still couldn’t get their tires to work well enough to find an advantage over Mercedes. A testament to a superior chassis and design by the Silver Arrows team.

A win for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who managed to secure a podium finish with a tidy drive and he did keep Bottas honest until the last lap. Ferrari also scored a “fastest lap” point by pitting Sebastian Vettel late for soft compound tires and giving the team and Seb a point.

A win for McLaren who managed to beat Renault for “best-of-the-rest” with Carlos Sainz Jr finishing in 6th place behind Vettel’s Ferrari. McLaren looked rejuvenated all weekend long with both Sainz and Lando Norris qualifying very well and then converting that result into a terrific race result. Powered by Renault, they were fighting the home-town heroes on their home track and they won.

A win for Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen who finished in the points with a 7th place result. He had a quiet race but his straight-line pace and tire management for a deep first stint resulted in a nice run to 8th place.

Fail

A fail for Renault who couldn’t continue their Canadian GP success by losing their battle against McLaren for “best-of-the-rest”. Daniel Ricciardo used all of the track and more to try and get around both McLaren’s and ultimately garnered two 5s penalties for his pass of Lando Norris due to running off the circuit during the passing attempt as well as running off the track while passing Kimi Raikkonen. It moved him from 7th place to 11th. Nico Hulkenberg, using the older engine, could not make any progress on either McLaren and it was Lando’s hydraulic issues that allowed him to pass to finish 8th.

A fail for McLaren’s hydraulic system on Lando Norris’s car that cost him valuable places in the waning laps. Lando did a terrific job to manage with no DRS, dodgy differential, hard upshifts and failing hydraulic systems on all four corners of his car. IT garnered him a “drive of the race” award at F1.com.

A fail for Haas F1 who retired Romain Grosjean on lap #47 while Kevin Magnussen trundled around to 17th. The tires may still be elusive for the team but one questions the rate and effectiveness of their car development at this point as they’ve continued to slide backwards after starting the season as a “best-of-the-rest” favorite.

A fail for Pierre Gasly who started on the soft compounds and struggled the entire race out of sequence with those around him. Same could be said of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi who had a similar race.

WTH

Not sure what happened to Toro Rosso’s pace as they seemd tidy on Friday and Saturday but just couldn’t find the pace on Sunday. There were some good intra-team battles between Alex Albon and Danill Kvyat and while the latter started at the rear due to an engine change, it’s unfortunate they couldn’t find more pace for Alex.

Sergio Perez is wondering why he got a penalty for running wide and re-entering the track around the prescribed bollard following the rules perfectly. The re-entering around the bollard is one rule but going off track and gaining an advantage is a second rule, regardless of re-entering in the prescribed manner, that was in effect.

The T-shirt Gatling gun was a bit odd. Felt like it was feeding Soylent Green to the people or bringing loaves of bread to the French peasantry.

French GP Results:

POSDRIVERCARLAPSGAP
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes531h24m31.198s
2Valtteri BottasMercedes5318.056s
3Charles LeclercFerrari5318.985s
4Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda5334.905s
5Sebastian VettelFerrari531m02.796s
6Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren/Renault531m35.462s
7Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo/Ferrari521 Lap
8Nico HulkenbergRenault521 Lap
9Lando NorrisMcLaren/Renault521 Lap
10Pierre GaslyRed Bull/Honda521 Lap
11Daniel RicciardoRenault521 Lap
12Sergio PerezRacing Point/Mercedes521 Lap
13Lance StrollRacing Point/Mercedes521 Lap
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Honda521 Lap
15Alexander AlbonToro Rosso/Honda521 Lap
16Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo/Ferrari521 Lap
17Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari521 Lap
18Robert KubicaWilliams/Mercedes512 Laps
19George RussellWilliams/Mercedes512 Laps
Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari44Retirement

Driver’s Championship

POSDRIVERPOINTS
1Lewis Hamilton187
2Valtteri Bottas151
3Sebastian Vettel111
4Max Verstappen100
5Charles Leclerc87
6Pierre Gasly37
7Carlos Sainz Jr.26
8Kimi Raikkonen19
9Daniel Ricciardo16
10Nico Hulkenberg16
11Kevin Magnussen14
12Lando Norris14
13Sergio Perez13
14Daniil Kvyat10
15Alexander Albon7
16Lance Stroll6
17Romain Grosjean2
18Antonio Giovinazzi0
19George Russell0
20Robert Kubica0

Constructor’s Championship

POSCONSTRUCTORPOINTS
1Mercedes338
2Ferrari198
3Red Bull/Honda137
4McLaren/Renault40
5Renault32
6Racing Point/Mercedes19
7Alfa Romeo/Ferrari19
8Toro Rosso/Honda17
9Haas/Ferrari16
10Williams/Mercedes0

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Tim C.
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Another race recorded on the DVR to watch later today, but another race that will be deleted before ever pushing play to watch it. I completely understand why people are turning away from F1.

photogcw
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Yes, another dull race from Paul Ricard, just like last year. One must wonder if the race would be any better in going back to Magny Cours. The issue I found most profound was the empty grandstands all over the track including the front straight across from the pit lane. FIA, Liberty Media and F1 have a huge problem and they should be addressing it immediately.

Fabio
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Wonder if Horner is looking to get a Renault engine now?

jtr
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Why? Max easily ran away from the Renault-powered cars, and Renault has already had at least three engine-related retirements this year to Honda’s zero. The Honda looks to be right around the same power as the Renault, with better reliability and better integration into the RBR/STR chassis. What Red Bull needs is a number two driver who can overtake someone, ANYONE, while in a superior car to everyone around him. This is the second race this year where he’s finished tenth or below in a race where he has had no mechanical issues or on-track incidents; in both cases, his… Read more »

F1Great
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LH qualifying was not perfect but enough to take pole.
Controlled start and measured race.
Well done LH and Mercedes. Bottas looks defeated.
If you do not like this F1 use the off button.

Bruno
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We all say that F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, but in the current state of affairs, it is definitely not the category providing better entertainment and competitiveness. Moto GP and IndyCar are just a few examples of series with better racing. F1 is losing itself in politics and corporate interests and the teams with less resources stand no change to compete fairly. Not to mention the incredibly dull tracks, the racing rules babysitting the drivers and the absurdity of tyre compounds. All of this masks what really is impressive, which is the groundbreaking technology used in modern F1 and… Read more »

Nick
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Nick
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I really don’t understand how people can continually bang on about boredom, dominance, too much winning ……. it was the same in Fangio’s time and in Schumacher’s as well. What we’re watching is nothing less than an absolute maestro at work. Yes, you might bemoan the fact that there’s not wheel-to-wheel racing at every corner, but the reality is that this is rarely the case in F1. This being the case, people can choose to watch it or not but should do so without the expectation of Nascar-like super-close racing with manufactured competition cautions, restrictor plate engines and the like.… Read more »

Jason
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Jason
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Didnt bother watching. No exciting passing and plenty of dumb penalties. Watched Road America instead. Ive switched full time fan of that. Even the ovals Rooting for our boy RSI

F1Great
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F1 is strategic.
LH is exceptional.
Watch something else.