Sport Recaps

F1 French Grand Prix: Recap

Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the French Grand Prix to take the win and extend his championship lead.

Saturday qualifying

Q1 was ended early by Mick Schumacher going into the barriers. He managed to get into Q2 for the first time in his career, unfortunately, his car didn’t. 

Lance Stroll ended up losing out as he hadn’t registered a competitive time yet. His teammate Sebastian Vettel qualified in 12th after making it into Q2. 

Q3 was an incredible watch as both Red Bull and Mercedes battled it out for the front row. 

As the qualifying was coming to an end, all four drivers were on a fast lap. Verstappen went a tenth below one minute 30 seconds. 

He was followed by teammate Perez who took second, for only nine seconds before Valtteri Bottas displaced him. Bottas was then displaced by Hamilton. 

With this pole position, Max Verstappen ended Lewis Hamilton’s run of pole positions at the French Grand Prix. 

The rest of the top ten was made up of two Ferraris (5th and 7th), two Mclarens (8th and 10th), Pierre Gaslys Alpha Tauri in sixth and Fernando Alonso (Alpine Renault) in ninth. 

What a race!

Verstappen kept the lead off the line, only to go off the track on turn one to hand the lead to Hamilton. What followed was an intense battle to the end of the race between the Mercedes and Red Bull cars. 

All seemed to be going well for Mercedes until the 18th lap, when Valtteri Bottas pitted. 

Bottas pitting was a strange move as the leading car tends to get priority. For this move to work, Bottas needed to undercut – overtake a car via a pit stop – Verstappen, which he failed to do. 

This proved to be a big problem for Hamilton who fell behind Verstappen despite posting a faster pitstop than the Red Bull driver. 

Hamilton and Bottas hounded Verstappen, without ever getting close enough to pass. 

Verstappen, warning of tyre degradation, pitted again, catching the Mercedes team out. 

Mercedes strategists having already made an error earlier, asked Hamilton what he wanted to do, rather than making the decision themselves. In the end, they kept both cars out on the track despite Bottas telling the team that it would be a two-stop race today. 

Bottas was eventually passed by Verstappen on lap 44, and then Perez on lap 49. He did not take it well by asking, with some choice words, why the team didn’t believe him when he told them it would be a two-stop race. 

Verstappen then went on to pass Hamilton easily, taking the win and the extra point for the fastest lap. 

Poor day for Ferrari

Ferrari started the race well, and had both cars in the points after the opening lap. However, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc struggled for pace, eventually finishing in 11th and 16th. 

To add insult to injury, biggest rivals Mclaren were the best of the rest, finishing in 5th and 6th. 

The next two races will be held in Austria, Red Bull’s home track.

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