Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – 10

Faultless, clinical, brutal – the list of superlatives go on when discussing Lewis Hamilton’s form through 2019. His demolition of the field at Paul Ricard was arguably his most impressive yet, coming off the back of missing Thursday and a tricky final two practices. It’s hard to see anyone stopping him any time soon.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes – 7

Bottas looked to be the man to beat heading into qualifying after leading both FP2 and FP3, but was a step behind Hamilton when it mattered in Q3. The gulf between the pair was stark in the race as Hamilton skipped clear, leaving Bottas watching over his should to Charles Leclerc at the end.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari – 5

Things aren’t getting any easier for Sebastian Vettel in 2019. After the hubbub surrounding Ferrari’s failed hearing died down, Vettel was off the boil in qualifying as he ailed to P7 on the grid. He took a while to pass the McLarens, by which point Max Verstappen was already out of reach, resigning him to P5. He’s now 76 points off Hamilton in the championship.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari – 9

Given Ferrari’s pace deficit to Mercedes at Paul Ricard, Charles Leclerc did about all he could by qualifying and finishing third. Leclerc improved throughout qualifying before a strong Q3 run – a big weakness earlier this year – and had the race under control, even pushing Bottas for second in the closing stages.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull – 9

A good showing for Max Verstappen in France after his Canada blip. Friday struggles led to a late setup gamble ahead of qualifying that helped him stay ahead – just – of the McLarens, and he ran a good race to finish fourth in front of Vettel. Red Bull was further back than usual here, but he once again managed to outstrip the RB15’s potential.

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull – 4

Not a happy home weekend at all for Pierre Gasly. He too gambled on setup after FP3, but went in the wrong direction and was hamstrung for the rest of the weekend. He was lucky to get ninth in qualifying, but was then far off in the race, even losing out to Daniel Ricciardo and both Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg on strategy. Tough pills to swallow.

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault – 7

After struggling to P13 in qualifying, Hulkenberg was able to battle back in the race with a well-executed reverse strategy, running a long stint on the Hards before switching to Mediums to get the jump on Gasly and Giovinazzi. The late scrap with Ricciardo, Norris and Raikkonen saw Hulkenberg move up to P8 in the final results, marking a decent recovery. 

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault – 8

A mixed bag for Daniel Ricciardo’s first French Grand Prix in Renault colours. He did well to reach Q3 and qualify eighth, only to slip back at the start. He fought back to pass Pierre Gasly after the pit stops and then caught an ailing Norris in the final stages, but was hit with a penalty for unsafely rejoining the track and passing Kimi Raikkonen outside of track limits, dropping him to P11 in the final standings. God loves a trier, though.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas – 6

A nightmare of a weekend for Haas, whose pace evaporated once again to leave Kevin Magnussen languishing well down the order. It ran as the second-slowest team, only ahead of Williams, with Magnussen saying he felt “helpless” in the race. He at least can take some comfort out of beating Romain Grosjean.

Romain Grosjean, Haas – 5

Grosjean said he thought he got the “maximum” out of the Haas VF-19 car, but the gap to Magnussen in both qualifying and the race suggested otherwise. The team retired the car with 10 laps to go in order to save some parts and get a free gearbox change for Austria.

Carlos Sainz, McLaren – 9

We were treated to a terrific display from Carlos Sainz in France. After qualifying sixth just behind teammate Lando Norris, Sainz got ahead at the start and even hassled old teammate Max Verstappen for a little while before dropping back. He didn’t put a foot wrong en route to P6, finishing as the leading midfield driver to maximise McLaren’s potential at Paul Ricard.

Lando Norris, McLaren – 9

A sterling display from the young Brit. He was just one-hundredth of a second off the second row of the grid, and was quick off the line, even if he ended up losing a place to Sainz. Norris tailed his teammate throughout the race before his late hydraulic issue, leaving him limping him in P10, becoming P9 after the penalty for Ricciardo. A mature display again outstripping his 19 years.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point – 6

Racing Point didn’t have the pace for points at Paul Ricard, but Perez was almost able to rescue some from the race. A penalty for gaining an advantage despite following the FIA’s instructions at Turn 5 on the opening lap ended his points hopes, narrowly leaving him P12 behind Gasly and the penalized Ricciardo.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point – 6

Stroll’s disappointing qualifying form continued with a 12th straight Q1 knockout on Saturday, but even his tried and tested reverse strategy tactic couldn’t save him this time around as he lost a lot of time towards the end of his stint on the Hards. He came through to finish just two seconds shy of his teammate.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo – 7

Alfa Romeo’s recent struggles looked set to continue at Paul Ricard after Raikkonen could only muster P12 in qualifying, only for the Finn to turn in an excellent display on raceday. A long stint on Hards vaulted him into the fight for points, with Norris’s late issues helping back up the Renaults. Raikkonen dipped past to take an opportunistic P7 finish, matching his best result of the year in the process.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo – 5

The wait for Antonio Giovinazzi’s breakthrough continues. He qualified well to reach Q3, but was a sitting duck after starting on Softs. An early pit stop left him struggling in traffic, ending his hopes of a first F1 point, with a second stop in the closing stages showing how difficult it had been to keep his tyres alive.

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso – 6

Points never looked on for Toro Rosso in France, but Kvyat put in a decent display from the back of the grid after being hit with a power unit penalty. He put a nice move on Kevin Magnussen and battled well with teammate Alexander Albon through the second stint, edging clear by two seconds.

Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso – 6

Albon qualified an impressive 11th for Toro Rosso, but after getting boxed in at the start he lost five places, compromising the remainder of his race as a result. He was able to pass the Haas drivers, but lost out to the recovering Kvyat in the end.

George Russell, Williams – 6

It may have been his first defeat to teammate Robert Kubica in a head to head fight this year, but George Russell remained upbeat after his race in France. The pair had a nice battle, although Russell did hit a marker board and damage his front wing in the process, forcing him into a second stop that dropped him behind Kubica before the end of the race.

Robert Kubica, Williams – 5

Despite a first win over Russell head-to-head this year, Kubica was the slowest man out there again in France, only beating his teammate due to a second stop for Russell. He did however get a first proper wheel-to-wheel fight in this season, which is something, right?

 

Comments

Loading Comments...