French GRAND PRIX 24.6.18
Back in France at the Circuit Paul Ricard
The race has not been held in France since 2008 when Felipe Massa won it in a Ferrari at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
“It’s a beautiful Sunday.” (Hamilton on his win and England beating Panama 6-1 in the World Cup)
1. LEWIS HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2. MAX VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull)
3. KIMI RAIKKONEN (Ferrari)
4. DANIEL RICCIARDO (Red Bull)
5. SEBASTIAN VETTEL (Ferrari)
6. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN (Haas)
7. VALTTERI BOTTAS (Mercedes)
8. CARLOS SAINZ JR (Renault)
9. NICO HULKENBERG (Renault)
10. CHARLES LECLERC (Sauber)
Driver: Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton reclaims the lead in the World Championship, after dominating the first French Grand Prix to be held in 10 years. He now leads Vettel by 14 points.
Vettel and Bottas collided at the first corner – putting them both at the back, with Vettel earning a 5 second penalty for causing the crash (which he served during his second pit).
Hamilton’s start was good enough to put him just far enough away from the crash to avoid it and at the restart following the safety car he sped away - never to be caught – a comfortable gap between him and Verstappen throughout the race.
With Hamilton way out in front, the action was taking place behind him.
Vettel made great strides from the back – he was 11th by Lap 10 and 5th by Lap 20 – but here his progress was to stall, and he finished in 5th. Bottas was unable to make up as much ground, because of crash damage to his floor, which affected the Mercedes’ downforce and balance.
After watching the replay of the crash, Hamilton felt justice had not been done for his teammate:
“When someone destroys your race through their error, and they get a tap on the hand, and are allowed to come back and finish ahead of the person they took out, it does not add up.”
Verstappen drove another impressive race to finish 2nd – but his treatment by the media regarding previous racing errors still weighs heavily:
“Everyone makes mistakes, even the best. But it makes me angry that they do not speak about him (Vettel) as badly as they spoke about me.”
With 11 laps to go, Raikkonen passed a struggling Ricciardo (a piece had come off his front wing) to take 3rd place and the final podium.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr looked set to finish 6th after a strong race; but suffered an engine problem (an ongoing issue for Renault) in the closing stages and dropped to 8th.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen managed to avoid the chaos of Lap 1 and achieved his second 6th place this season. “It was a good race and we had a good car. We got everything right.”
It was another awful weekend for McLaren. After their worst qualifying performance in over a year, Stoffel Vandoorne finished 12th and Alonso failed to finish. Alonso spent most of the race at the back after being delayed by the crash at the 1st corner.
Forced to pit on Lap 1, he then attempted to finish the race without stopping. “I have no tyres, no brakes and I’m out of the points.” In the closing stages (while in 12th) he changed his mind and pitted for fresh tyres to try for the fastest lap.
Unfortunately, his suspension failed on the penultimate lap and he had to retire.
Next race is Austria – all to play for! We don’t have long to wait…
See you then!
Our next great adventure is at the British Grand Prix on the 8th July 2018, we hope to see you there.