F1 – French GP – Qualifying
Bonjour Minifans and welcome back to Le Castellet, where we are ready for 8th round of the season! Last year, they hosted the first French Grand Prix in ten years and the first one in 28 years on Paul Ricard. However, that comeback wasn’t to everyone’s liking. Some got even dizzy due to the stripes along the track. Well, at least they have a purpose! The blue lines have a rough texture, so there is a lot of grip and degradation, while the red is even rougher. It acts like the gravel that you find off track on other circuits. Now that that is cleared up, it’s time to race!
During Q1, we saw the Ferrari’s struggling again with Mercedes on top. Hulkenberg did a great job and set a fourth time, while Ricciardo took a noteworthy fifth place! Renault has really found its pace this season! Both Stroll and Kvyat had some difficulty with their car and couldn’t make it to the second part of qualifying. We went to Q2 without Kvyat, Grosjean, Stroll, Russell and Kubica.
McLaren showed how strong they have gotten over the last races and brought both drivers into Q3. Verstappen was under investigation after running off-track in turn six, while Gasly was at risk to be out in Q2. He saved it at the very last moment with a tenth fastest time. It seems like the Frenchman is still not used to his Bull after eight race weekends. Meanwhile, we were confused to see Hulkenberg being out of qualifying, despite his strong performance during the first part. Ricciardo, however, was through to Q3. Qualifying ended here for Albon, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Perez and Magnussen.
By the start of Q3, Hamilton let us know over the radio that there was a lot of traffic on track. He played out a little trick and created distance between him and the driver in front of him by driving as slow as possible on the outlap. This way, the Brit could drive the fastest lap. Vettel stopped his flying lap and pitted, because he made the same mistake as Verstappen. It only put more pressure on his shoulders while driving his very last lap of the day.
Lewis Hamilton took pole position in France with a lap record! Bottas will start next to him, with Leclerc on P3. Verstappen completes the second row and is followed by Norris and Sainz, who had the best performance for McLaren in years. Vettel starts from a disappointing P7. Ricciardo, Gasly and Giovinazzi finish up the top ten.
Will Vettel be able to fight back and will McLaren score a good ammount of points here in France? We will find out tomorrow!