When performing a search for the question what the Formula One community could learn from the 2019 FIA Formula One French Grand Prix, the answer could be easily found. Mercedes continued their dominant form by clinching the eighth victory in Round Eight of the season.
Last-gasp move – Sebastian Vettel might have had a relatively muted weekend in France but the four-time champion’s fastest laps, scored on the final lap of the race after a late switch to soft tyres, was the 37th of his career and his first since last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. With his fastest race lap of 1m32.740, the German the previous lap record of Valtteri Bottas.
The fast-evolving track – The Paul Ricard track was evolving rapidly already during Saturday’s qualifying and the grip continued to increase significantly in the race. As an evidence, nineteen of the twenty drivers set their best lap times after Lap 40 with the only exception of Max Verstappen. The point-scorer - The Lewis Hamilton’s win on Sunday marked his 200th points finish from 237 races. The Briton scored points in 84,4 per cent of the races he started.
One-two finishes - Valtteri Bottas’ second place in France not only handed Mercedes its sixth one-two finish of the season but also its 50th in F1. The Anglo-German outfit started the season in perfect fashion with five one-two finishes in a row. The Monaco Grand Prix brought this run of success to an end when Sebastian Vettel finished second behind Lewis Hamilton and in front of Valtteri Bottas.
Just outside the podium - In Sunday’s French Grand Prix, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen scored his fifth fourth place this season. The Dutchman has a fifth place from the Canadian Grand Prix and two third-place finished from the Australian and Spanish Grand Prix.
Solo retirement – Sunday’s race in Le Castellet saw only one driver retire from the happenings. It was Romain Grosjean who was instructed by his team on Lap 44 to dive into the pits and retire from his home race. Six again! – Six different outfits managed to collect points on Sunday. Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren finished the race with both their cars in the top ten while Alfa Romeo and Renault Negative – Some of the teams left France with a bitter taste. Haas Ferrari did not really find the pace on the 5.842-km-long circuit and failed to add any points to its tally. Both Racing Point and Toro Rosso were struggling for pace all across the race weekend and eventually failed in their attempt to leave France with any gains. After showing a slight improvement, Williams returned to its state of being-in-no-man’s-land. Both in qualifying and in the race, the Grove-based team was significantly off the pace of the mid-field rival squads.
The king of the pit – It was once again Robert Kubica who spent the least amount of time during his pit stop. The Polish driver only needed 29.792 seconds to complete his tyre change and drive through the relatively long pit lane. The one-time Grand Prix winner was followed by Carlos Sainz and Kimi Räikkönen.
Third – Of the eight races so far, it was only the third time that the pole-sitter managed to hang on to the lead and clinch the victory. Valtteri Bottas was the first pole-sitter to convert victorious in Azerbaijan in Round 4 of