Return to France – French GP 2018

Another sadly dull Grand Prix which turned the championship tide back in Hamilton’s favour. This year has been plagued by races where most of the action happens at the start of races with almost no overtaking. Not the best possible race for the grand return of France as an F1 venue country.

The Top-10:

  1. Lewis HamiltonUtterly dominant and flawless drive.
  2. Max VerstappenAnother tide which finally seems to be turning is Verstappen’s career. After the disastrous start to the season, Max has really kept a cool head in the last four races and it is finally paying off. A shame it’s too late for him to realistically challenge the other drivers for the championship.
  3. Kimi RäikkönenDespite starting from an uncharacteristically lowly grid-6, Kimi kept a cool head (naturally) and attained his fourth podium of this season. The Iceman’s future in the sport has also been under question as of late.
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Despite an excellent start, Danny boy sadly couldn’t stand up to Räikkönen’s speed and was defeated. He’s still third in points so he really has nothing to be ashamed of.
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Vettel unfortunately rammed himself and Bottas off the track at the start after which they had to fight their way back into the Top-10. Vettel also received a 5 second penalty for his efforts which didn’t hurt him in the end.
  6. Kevin Magnussen – Haas were headed for an extremely auspicious start so it’s a little disappointing that only Magnussen scored points (yet again). No flies on the Danish driver.
  7. Valtteri Bottas – As mentioned above, Bottas was rammed off the track by Vettel at the start suffering a tyre puncture. Though Bottas rose up the ranks, his final pit-stop was a flop, taking way too long.
  8. Carlos Sainz – Sainz was in the top-3 at one point but Renault began experiencing technical difficulties late in the race which sadly dropped the Spaniard down. Still, an excellent drive.
  9. Nico the Hülk – Sainz team-mate improved from the start to land one place down.
  10. Charles Leclerc – This is the Monegasque driver’s fourth scoring finish and his second in a row. Despite Sauber’s poor performance, the rookie is beginning to challenge the far more experienced Force India drivers for points. If this is not a clear sign that Sauber are lugging around some excess weight in their other car, I don’t know what is.

Golden Pineapple Award: Romain Grosjean

Grosjean becomes our seventh driver to be inducted into the pineapple hall of fame. This is also Grosjean’s best result of the season. Grosjean was apparently involved in a collision which netted him a 5 second penalty. However, I don’t know why Grosjean’s performance was this bad. Haas have had good moments this season, it just appears Romain is never able to benefit from them.

Drop-out count: 4

A dark day for Force India. Not only was Sergio Perez forced to retire with engine issues, but Esteban Ocon was crashed out by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly on the first lap, leading to a safety car session which took up the first five laps. For Gasly, this was a particularly embarrassing accident.

Lance Stroll‘s front tyre also wore out completely late in the race, causing him to go completely off the track.

Back of the Lot News:

I’m sorry to say but McLaren were probably the biggest losers this round, as they sandwich the rest of the entries in this part of the race report. Stoffel Vandoorne has accomplished next to nothing this season. After a few paltry landings in the bottom-half of the scoreboard, his team-mate’s had to carry the weight of the whole team. Let’s look at the facts. Stoffel is 15th in the standings, the only drivers behind him being the Williams drivers, Marcus Ericsson and the 0-points club. Charles Leclerc’s been 10th four times and he still has more points than the Belgian. McLaren as a company are in a bit of a turmoil as it is, but Stoffel in particular should finally start to wake up and smell the coffee. Vandoorne was 12th.

Marcus Ericsson showed a little bit of fight today but too little is too little, especially this late in his career. He was 13th.

Brendon Hartley had another so-and-so race. Toro Rosso ensures us that he’s safe for the rest of the season. Hartley was 14th.

Williams’ rotten day was completed by Sergey Sirotkin landing 15th and second-to-last.

Dead Last: Fernando AlonsoAlonso, was forced to pit early, probably due to taking some damage on the first lap and then spun out late in the race. A complete disaster of a race for the orange arrows.