Lewis Hamilton has won the 53 lap race around the 5.8km Circuit Paul Ricard for the 2019 French Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas finished second as Mercedes-AMG take another 1-2 finish with Charles Leclerc taking the final podium spot in third for Ferrari.
As the lights went out, and the 2019 French Grand Prix was underway, Lewis Hamilton executed the perfect start from pole to lead the Grand Prix which the British driver held throughout the race as he came across the finish line. The Hamilton’s dominance was evident as he finished 18 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
The race played out in a ceremonial fashion as not much took place over course of the 53 lap race. However, come the last 8-10 laps, the race had suddenly come alive. The battle in the front while being non-existent from the start, saw the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc close in on the Mercedes of Bottas and within DRS range. While Mercedes was under threat for a small amount of time, the charge from Ferrari seemed to have come into play a little too late. Bottas held on to his second place as Leclerc crossed the finish line within a second of the Finn to claim third.
As Verstappen finished fourth nearly half a minute behind Hamilton, Ferrari saw a near minute gap behind Vettel who was driving in fifth. On the penultimate lap, Vettel came in for his second pit-stop for a set of new softs in an attempt to claim the extra point up for grabs for the fastest lap of the race. Vettel came and executed the lap as required to take the fastest lap to manage the damage that had already been done to Ferrari’s and his personal championship campaign. Carlos Sainz finished sixth for McLaren.
Meanwhile, the real race was taking place for seventh place. Lando Norris drove a brilliant race throughout in the second McLaren. However, in the closing stages, his car suffered a hydraulic problem and left him as a sitting duck with no DRS and a dodgy differential. The rest of the pack which included Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg started to gain in on Norris. The rookie did everything he could to try and defend his seventh place ahead of his far more experienced challengers. But his McLaren forced him to concede the position after a four-car scramble into the chicane with Ricciardo using his DRS on the Renault to initiate the move but ran wide. As he returned to the track, Norris was forced to go off track in order to avoid contact. Raikkonen got the better of them and got past both as Hulkenberg also tried to have a look himself but couldn’t quite make a move. Daniel used his straight-line speed and grip to get back ahead of Raikkonen who left him sufficient room. Ricciardo went on to finish seventh in his Renault, with Raikkonen in eighth for Alfa Romeo, Hulkenberg took ninth in the second Renault to claim championship points in the French works teams home Grand Prix. Lando Norris finished in 10th to claim the final point available for the day. However, Stewards have confirmed that Ricciardo is under investigation for leaving and rejoining the track If he is awarded a penalty, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Norris could move up a position each.
Hamilton leads the driver’s title with Mercedes leading the constructor’s championship after eight rounds of the season now complete. The next scheduled race will be the Austrian Grand Prix which will be held at the Red Bull Ring next weekend from 28-30 June.
UPDATE: Daniel Ricciardo was handed a 10-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage and failing to rejoin the track safely. After the time was added to his total race time, Ricciardo’s penalty has dropped him down to 11th out of the championship points. Now Raikkonen has been classified as seventh, Hulkenberg eighth, Norris ninth and Gasly 10th.
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