F1 2019: Unstoppable Hamilton takes victory in France ahead of Bottas

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins the French GP in dominant fashion ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as last-lap battling in the mid-field provides much excitement.

23/06/19

Starting Grid

1.Hamilton  2.Bottas  3.Leclerc  4.Verstappen  5.Norris  6.Sainz Jr  7.Vettel  8.Ricciardo  9.Gasly  10.Giovinazzi  11.Albon  12.Raikkonen  13.Hulkenberg  14.Perez  15.Magnussen  16.Grosjean  17.Stroll  18.Kubica  19.Kvyat*  20.Russell*

Kvyat* received a grid penalty for exceeding his PU components with Russell* had his ERS module on his car prior to qualifying thus receiving a penalty.

Tyre Choice

Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi will start on the Soft compound tyre while Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat will start on the Hard compound tyre. Everyone else will start on the Medium compound tyre.

Race

A 63rd front-row lock-out for Mercedes saw Lewis Hamilton pip Valterri Bottas to Pole Position. Charles Leclerc flew the flag for Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel struggled in Q3 and only qualified 7th. The big surprise of Qualifying and the weekend so far was the performance of McLaren. Both Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr qualified in the top 10 in 5th and 6th and not far behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. The Soft tyre is graining very quickly this weekend because of the temperatures and may not be used many times during the race.

The lights go out and it’s by both of the Mercedes drivers with Lewis Hamilton leading Valterri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr, Lando Norris, Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly, Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniel Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo is down to 10th after starting 8th and Alexander Albon is down to 16th after starting 11th. Lap 2, Lewis Hamilton leads Valterri Bottas by 1.3 seconds as Sebastian Vettel pressures Lando Norris for 6th. As they are starting on the Soft compound tyre, expect Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi to pit reasonably early as their tyre’s won’t last as long as the other drivers around them.

Lap 5, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Lando Norris for 6th place into turn 8. Lap 6, Lewis Hamilton’s lead is up to 2.1 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas in 2nd. Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Antonio Giovinazzi for 9th and now Kimi Raikkonen overtakes his Alfa Romeo team-mate for 10th. Vettel is now right up behind Carlos Sainz Jr and now overtakes the second McLaren car into 5th into turn 8 once again. Giovinazzi now drops to 12th after being overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg. The Italian pits on lap 8 for the Hard tyre and rejoins in 20th.

Ferrari tell 3rd place Charles Leclerc that they will be sticking to “Plan A” and that Leclerc needs to keep the gap to Max Verstappen behind. Race leader Lewis Hamilton is fiddling around with different engine modes with his engineer asking him to switch to different modes. The Brit is being annoyed by this but this is short-lived as the Reigning World Champion extends his gap at the front by setting a new fastest lap.

Lap 9, Sergio Perez has received a 5 place time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Lap 16, Kevin Magnussen is struggling at the moment after being overtaken by both Toro Rosso’s of Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat. Lewis Hamilton is now complaining of seat issues – it looks like the race leader is not at all comfortable at the front despite holding a 4 second gap to team-mate Valterri Bottas.

Lap 17, Daniel Ricciardo pits. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 16th as Kevin Magnussen pits as well and also goes onto the Hard tyre. Lap 18, Pierre Gasly pits. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 15th ahead of Ricciardo. However, with DRS and warmer tyres, Ricciardo overtake Gasly for 15th place. Lap 19, Lando Norris and Sergio Perez pit. Both go onto the Hard tyre with Norris in 12th and Perez in 16th. Lap 20, Carlos Sainz Jr pits. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 10th. Lap 21, Max Verstappen pits from 4th. He goes onto the Hard tyre while Ferrari tell Sebastian Vettel to do the opposite of Verstappen and in Vettel’s case, he stays out on the track.

Lap 22, Charles Leclerc pits from 3rd. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 4th. Lap 24, Valterri Bottas pits from 2nd. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 3rd behind Sebastian Vettel who hasn’t pitted yet. Lap 25, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 1st. Lap 26, Sebastian Vettel pits from 2nd. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 5th but 4 seconds behind Max Verstappen.

Lap 27, Lewis Hamilton leads by 11 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas. Charles Leclerc rounds-out the podium at the moment ahead of Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll, who haven’t pitted yet, Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris. Leclerc is setting good lap times at the moment and is only 3 seconds behind Bottas in 3rd. Leclerc’s hope of catching Bottas is short-lived as Bottas sets the new fastest lap to bridge the gap to the Ferrari man to 4 seconds.

Lap 32, Kimi Raikkonen pits. He goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 12th while Nico Hulkenberg, who was behind Raikkonen, is told to “push like hell”. Hulkenberg’s team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, overtakes Daniil Kvyat to move back into the points in 10th and is within 5 seconds of the McLaren’s ahead. Lap 35, Hulkenberg pits from 6th. He goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins behind Raikkonen in 11th but ahead of Pierre Gasly.

Lap 40, Lewis Hamilton still leads the race ahead of Valterri Bottas by about 13 seconds with Charles Leclerc 6 seconds behind Bottas in 3rd. Lance Stroll finally pits and goes onto the Medium tyre as Leclerc now sets the fastest lap of the race. Behind the top 5, Carlos Sainz Jr leads team-mate Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg. McLaren, however, is managing a problem on Norris’s car and Ricciardo is catching the Brit rapidly. Ferrari tell Sebastian Vettel that they are moving to “Plan F”.

Lap 47, Haas tell Romain Grosjean to pit and retire the car. It’s been a horrible weekend for the Frenchman and he becomes the first retirement of the race. Lap 50, Lewis Hamilton leads by 15 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas as Nico Hulkenberg is right behind Kimi Raikkonen in 9th and 10th. There’s a brief FCY on lap 51 as marshals recover a bollard that was kicked up by Daniil Kvyat. Lando Norris is now coming under pressure from Daniel Ricciardo in 7th and 8th. Lap 52, Sebastian Vettel pits. He goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 5th. He’s going for one thing only – the fastest lap.

Onto the last lap, Valterri Bottas is now under pressure from Charles Leclerc. It looks like Lando Norris has lost out to not only Daniel Ricciardo but Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg. Lewis Hamilton wins the French GP ahead of Bottas and Leclerc. Vettel finishes in 5th and picks-up the fastest lap.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 53 Laps
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +18.056s
  3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +18.985s
  4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +34.905s
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +62.796s
  6. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault,+95.462s
  7. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  8. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  10. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, + 1 Lap
  11. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, + 1 Lap
  12. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  13. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  14. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  15. Alexander Albon, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  16. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  17. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  18. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  19. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, DNF

Ricciardo originally finished seventh, but received a five-second post-race time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, plus an identical penalty for failing to rejoin the track safely.

 

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