It's the return of the French Grand Prix this weekend, at the Paul Ricard circuit Le Castellet. Today’s state-of-the-art venue may be new to younger F1 fans, but Le Castellet can trace its F1 origins back to the early 1970s, when it held the first of its 14 French Grands Prix to date. Constructed in less than a year, and with famous drivers such as Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Henri Pescarolo consulted on its 5.8km layout, the Circuit Paul Ricard – named after its sponsor – opened in April 1970, before staging its maiden F1 race – won by Jackie Stewart from local hero Francois Cevert – the following year. The track would prove a happy hunting ground for French drivers, with Rene Arnoux winning in 1982 and Alain Prost triumphing no less than four times, including the last Grand Prix at the venue in 1990, by which time it was deemed outdated for F1 purposes. In 2016 a deal was struck to return the French Grand Prix to the track, and prior to its 2018 revival numerous modifications have been made to both the circuit and its setting to ensure a suitably stern challenge for the drivers and an equally thrilling spectacle for race fans.
It seems that Mercedes are having a few issues and the expected engine upgrade is not enough in isolation amid fierce F1 development war, warns Bottas ahead of this weekend's French GP. That being said it will be a great race at a great venue. Will Hamilton get back to winning ways? will the engine upgrades be enough to hold off the surging Ferrari's? or could another team triumph. Watch this space!
We have Hamilton at 13/8 and Vettel at 7/4. Maybe a punt on Ricciardo at 10/1, or perhaps it's Kimi Raikkonen's turn at 12/1
It was a another typical Vettel victory. Vettel pulled away from pole position and entered the first corner in the lead. The Ferrari driver showed the car had the pace required, thanks to some updates, building a gap to pit and comfortably rejoin in the lead.
The reward for a faultless drive was Vettel gaining his 50th Grand Prix victory and the championship lead, overturning a 14-point deficit to Lewis Hamilton to lead by one point.
On paper, this looked like a race that Hamilton and Mercedes would dominate. Hamilton has won six times in Canada in ten attempts. Mercedes had won the last three Grands Prix in Montreal. But they failed to deliver. The team didn’t bring their engine update as planned due to final testing issues. The result was second for Bottas with Hamilton in fifth. Mercedes had their lead cut in the constructors’ championship to 17 points while Hamilton’s 14-point lead was wiped out and he leaves North America trailing Vettel by a point. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff described his team’s performance as a “wake up call”. Plenty of work to do, then, for the Silver Arrow before France.
With the upcoming Canadian GP this weekend can Hamilton turn the screws and increase his lead in the championship? or will Riccardo continue his form from Monaco. Riccardo has been hinted for a move to Mercedes but that has been said to be unlikely! Who knows anything can happen in F1.
The stinging criticism from all quarters over Monte Carlo's 'driver procession' means Montreal only needs to deliver a small amount of drama to increase interest again. Excitement is something the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has served up regularly. This artificial island built for the World Fair in 1967 has played host to high emotions and many jaw-dropping highlights.
If Hamilton was to triumph this weekend he'll draw level with seven-time Canada victor Michael Schumacher. No-one else on the current grid comes close to matching these impressive stats. As an added bonus, Hamilton can make his own history by becoming the first driver to score four consecutive pole positions and - if converted - race wins at the Montreal street circuit.
Well Riccardo put in a steelar drive in the Monaco GP. Despite power problems he held Vettel at bay and gained a well deserved win, at this historic street cricuit.
Some pundits are saying it was more of a procession and not a race! The fault being the current car design and regulations. Perhaps it is time for something to change so we can go back to races where overtaking is possible! never easy but certainly exciting to watch.
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