F1 – French GP – Race
Le Castellet in France played host to round eight of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship; the first grand prix in France for 10 years.
This race will be remembered for the absolute bedlam at the start. Lewis Hamilton lined up on pole and was able to control the race, but behind him, sheer carnage. Sebastian Vettel made a mistake into turn one on the opening lap, and tagged Valtteri Bottas into a spin. Meanwhile, at turn three, Pierre Gasly lost control of his car and tapped Esteban Ocon into a spin, both retiring as a result. It is shame to see two French drivers not able to complete a lap at their home race. This contact between Esteban and Pierre caused around 600 drivers to cut the track while trying to avoid the debris – really mixing up the order. There were also a number of other minor incidents on that opening lap. As the safety car was deployed; Hamilton held the lead with Max Verstappen second and Carlos Sainz in 3rd place.
The next phase of the race was about watching Bottas and Vettel recover up the order, whilst also keeping one eye on the sky for rain (which never arrived). Both drivers were able to storm through the field and quickly got back up towards the front as the race played out, but there were further incidents. The progress of Bottas was hampered by a slow pit stop, whilst Vettel slightly tapped Fernando Alonso who had made an uncharacteristic mistake and was already in the early phases of a spin.
As the race continued there were a number of overtakes with the order still mixed up from the lap one chaos; it made for good viewing. Sergio Perez would retire from the event with “engine issues” which is concerning for all Mercedes-engined cars because that was a brand new power unit. It wasn’t a straightforward race for the Renault engine either as Sainz lost power towards the end, resultantly losing 6th place to Kevin Magnussen, with Bottas sneaking through also.
Near the end of the race, Lance Stroll suffered a tyre blow out and failed to finish. Not that it mattered anyway with Williams so far back.
Hamilton came through to take his first grand prix win in France, ahead of Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo was 4th with Vettel able to recover up to 5th. Kevin Magnussen finished in an impressive 6th place ahead of Bottas in 7th. The two Renault drivers were 8th & 9th with Sainz ahead of Hulkenberg. Meanwhile, the ever-impressive Charles Leclerc was 10th for Ferrari. Sorry, Sauber. Ferrari is next season ..
Next up is Austria in just one week!