Lewis Hamilton Wins The French Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton has won the french grand prix.
Back at Paul Ricard, and it was Lewis’ weekend.
Before the race began, there was a 60% chance of rain, which never materialised.
Lights out, and it carnage from the get-go. Ocon lost one of his wheels (and his chance of continuing the race), Vettel got damage to his car and in doing so, gave Bottas a puncture, and we also said goodbye to Gasly.
Hamilton, Verstappen and Sainz managed to escape the bumper car-like action unscathed in the first lap.
Into the pits after the first lap: Vettel, Bottas and a selection of other drivers. Repairs made to their cars, and back out, and into the race.
With just four laps into the race, we lost Ocon and Gasly. Surprisingly, sat in 17th place was Vettel, and 18th place was Bottas; dropping from second and third on the grid, and having to fight their way back up.
Safety car was deployed which was not what Hamilton would have wanted considering how much of an advantage he managed to get at the beginning of the race.
Lap 5, and the safety car exited the lap, and the race re-started. Hamilton had a great start, with Verstappen and Sainz closely behind him. The same couldn’t be said for Alonso who was clipped by Vettel, and span around but managed to get back onto the track, facing the right way.
At lap 10, Vettel was awarded a 5-second penalty for his collision with Bottas. This will be added on to his race time at the end of the race. So far, a very exciting start to the french grand prix.
It was all relatively plain sailing, with both Vettel and Bottas making their way through the race, one overtake at a time. By lap 20, Vettel was in 5th place and Bottas was in 10th place.
At lap 22 we head Alonso’s race engineer say over the radio that in 20 minutes time, rain could approach the track. This was then echoed by Ricciardo’s race engineer who said that there was some “weather on it’s way”.
Lap 26 and Verstappen pitted and came out with soft tyres. It seems as though Red Bull think that the earlier reported “weather” was just going to be clouds, and not rain. They were right.
Sirotkin, right at the back of the pack was handed a 5-second penalty for driving too slow behind the safety car. This won’t affect his race too much, as he is already at the back of the pack anyway.
On lap 29, Ricciardo pitted, and he entered the race in fifth position, behind Verstappen and Vettel. Unfortunately for Perez, he retired from the race on lap 30 with a possible engine issue which will no doubt be a disappointment to Perez.
For the first time in the race, Verstappen managed to record the fastest lap on lap 33 with a time of 1:35.598. Until this, Hamilton was the fastest by a long way.
Hamilton pitted at lap 34, and returned behind Raikkonen, who lead the race but had yet to pit. Vettel, down in fourth was being chased by Ricciardo who was gradually gaining time on the Ferrari, and managed to cleanly overtake, to move into fourth.
Lap 35, and Raikkonen pitted, giving the lead back to Hamilton. He re-entered the race in fifth, just behind Vettel. Just four laps later, and Raikkonen overtook his team mate. It was only a matter of time as Vettel was struggling with his tyres, and was 2 seconds off the racing speed.
Bottas pitted on lap 40, but it wasn’t clean. He returned 3 places behind where he would have expected. Vettel was close behind, serving his five second penalty with a change of tyres and comes out in fifth but over 30 seconds behind Raikkonen.
Lap 46, and not much has changed. Hamilton was leading by over 5 seconds, with Verstappen and Ricciardo behind. Lap 47, and Ricciardo was struggling to hold off Raikkonen, and unfortunately for the Red Bull, the Ferrari was too fast on the back straight. Raikkonen moved up to third.
Lap 50, and Sainz was experiencing some serious engine problems, with Magnussen and Bottas quickly gaining on him. Along with this, Stroll had a tyre issue, taking him out of the race meaning that the race would finish under a virtual safety car.
With three laps to go, Hamilton was strongly in first place regardless of a virtual safety car. Leading all weekend, Hamilton continued this, and won the 2018 french grand prix.
Here is how the race finished.
#1: Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 25 points
#2: Max Verstappen - Red Bull/Renault - 18 points
#3: Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 15 points
#4: Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault - 12 points
#5: Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 10 points
#6: Kevin Magnussen - Haas/Ferrari - 8 points
#7: Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 6 points
#8: Carlos Sainz - Renault - 4 points
#9: Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 2 points
#10: Charles Leclerc - Sauber/Ferrari - 1 point
#11: Romain Grosjean - Haas/Ferrari - 0 points
#12: Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren/Renault - 0 points
#13: Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari - 0 points
#14: Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso/Honda - 0 points
#15: Sergey Sirotkin - Williams/Mercedes - 0 points
#16: Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Renault - 0 points
#17: Lance Stroll - Williams/Mercedes - DNF
#18: Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes - DNF
#19: Esteban Ocon - Force India/Mercedes - DNF
#20: Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso/Honda - DNF
Let’s see what next week has to offer, as we head to the Austrian Grand Prix!