Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
FP1 in
28 days
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
51 days
09 May
Next event in
68 days
23 May
Race in
86 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
100 days
13 Jun
Race in
107 days
27 Jun
Race in
121 days
04 Jul
Next event in
124 days
18 Jul
Race in
142 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
156 days
29 Aug
Race in
184 days
05 Sep
Race in
191 days
12 Sep
Race in
198 days
26 Sep
Race in
212 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
215 days
10 Oct
Race in
225 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
240 days
31 Oct
Race in
247 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
267 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
282 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
289 days

French GP: Hamilton leads processional Mercedes 1-2

Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton absolutely dominated the French Grand Prix, leading every lap from pole position to extend his lead in the championship to 36 points.

shares
comments
French GP: Hamilton leads processional Mercedes 1-2

Hamilton comfortably defeated teammate Valtteri Bottas at Paul Ricard as Charles Leclerc completed the podium for Ferrari, whose lead driver Sebastian Vettel is now 76 points behind Hamilton after finishing fifth.

Vettel failed to make much progress from seventh on the grid, although a bonus point for fastest lap after making a late pitstop for fresh tyres provided a thin silver lining.

Hamilton held the lead at the start and only edged clear by a small margin over the first half of the opening stint.

However, the longer the drivers eked out their medium tyres, the bigger Hamilton's advantage became.

He was more than eight seconds clear when Bottas blinked first and pitted for hard tyres on lap 23.

Hamilton stayed out an extra lap, Mercedes having extended their drivers' stints to make sure they were far enough ahead of Vettel to rejoin ahead, as the Ferrari stayed out even longer.

After the pitstops, Hamilton stretched his advantage further and, after a brief back and forth battle with Bottas for fastest lap, the gap extended to 18s by the flag.

A muted Bottas at least returned to the runner-up position for the first time in three races, although the damage done by Hamilton's fourth straight victory could be significant for the Finn's title hopes.

Behind the two Mercedes, Leclerc hung onto Bottas's tail gamely in the first of the Ferraris.

Leclerc hounded Bottas to the flag, albeit always a few seconds adrift, as he scored his second podium finish in a row.

The 21-year-old had to overcome a fierce first-lap challenge from Max Verstappen, after the two ran side-by-side down to Turn 3 for the first time.

Leclerc was boxed in by Bottas into Turn 2, which gave Verstappen momentum around the outside before Leclerc edged clear as they approached the next corner.

After that point, Verstappen gradually slipped back from Leclerc and his attentions turned to keep Vettel at bay.

Vettel closed to just three seconds behind in the first stint but after pitting several laps later than the Red Bull he rejoined 5.9s adrift and fell further and further away.

That gave Verstappen, who struggled with some lag on the throttle early on, breathing space and meant Vettel had too much time to make up when he started to close in again in the final few laps.

Ferrari therefore pitted Vettel with two laps remaining, bolted on a fresh set of soft tyres and released him to chase the fastest lap.

Vettel pumped in a 1m32.740s on the final lap to steal the bonus point from Hamilton by just 0.024s – after Hamilton had set a new fastest lap on the final lap as well.

Behind the Ferrari, McLaren won the best-of-the-rest battle with Carlos Sainz in sixth.

Sainz jumped teammate Lando Norris on the opening lap when Norris found himself with nowhere to go at Turn 1 and had to back out, handing Sainz momentum and the position.

Norris did well to even finish after battling a hydraulics problem that got worse as the race progressed and presented braking and steering problems for the rookie.

He ran seventh until the very last lap, when his problems became too much to overcome and he slipped behind Daniel Ricciardo's Renault, the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg in the other Renault.

Ricciardo attacked the ailing Norris on the outside at the chicane but ran deep, so Norris squirted the throttle and tried to re-pass him through the second part of the corner but went too wide after Ricciardo squeezed him, and took to the run-off.

That triggered multiple cars running side-by-side as Raikkonen and Hulkenberg got in on the battle, with Ricciardo claiming seventh ahead of Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and the defeated Norris.

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 18.056
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 18.985
4 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 34.905
5 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 1'02.796
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 1'35.462
7 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 1 Lap
8 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 1 Lap
9 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 1 Lap
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 1 Lap
11 France Pierre Gasly
Red Bull 1 Lap
12 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 1 Lap
13 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 1 Lap
14 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 1 Lap
15 Thailand Alex Albon
Toro Rosso 1 Lap
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 1 Lap
17 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 1 Lap
18 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 2 Laps
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 2 Laps
France Romain Grosjean
Haas
French GP: Animated lapchart of the race

Previous article

French GP: Animated lapchart of the race

Next article

Hamilton was fearing repeat of Stroll tyre blowout

Hamilton was fearing repeat of Stroll tyre blowout
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event French GP
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game Prime

Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game

In a pre-season where Red Bull has been unusually quiet, Max Verstappen has also been guarded about the team's fortunes in 2021. Even after trying the RB16B for the first time at Silverstone, the Dutchman was careful to manage expectations

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes Prime

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes

In the strategy for grand prix racing's future, 2021 represents a significant step towards the goal of closer racing and a more level playing field. That's the theory behind the latest raft of changes, but will they have the desired effect?

Formula 1
Feb 24, 2021
What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch Prime

What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch

Red Bull made no secret of the fact its 2021 F1 car is an evolution of its predecessor, but in keeping the same foundations while hiding some tightly-guarded updates with its RB16B, the team aims to avoid suffering the same pitfalls of previous years

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo Prime

How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo

Alex Albon has faced the media for the first time since he lost his Red Bull drive at the end of 2020 and dropped out of a Formula 1 race seat altogether. He has a history of bouncing back from setbacks, so here's what he must do to rise again

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates Prime

Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates

Carlin has helped guide enough drivers to Formula 1 to fill out an entire grid, plus a handful of reserves, to create a remarkable alumni list. With Yuki Tsunoda set to join that group, Motorsport.com has ranked its graduates to grace the grand prix scene...

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans Prime

Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans

Alfa Romeo launched its C41 with a revised front nose, but there's little to suggest it will surge up the leaderboard in 2021. As the team frankly admits, it's putting its eggs in the basket labelled 2022 and hoping to hold the eighth place it earned last year

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse Prime

Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse

Red Bull opted not to re-sign Pierre Gasly even before it decided to drop Alex Albon and so the Frenchman's Formula 1 journey will continue at AlphaTauri. This has positive and negative connotations for one of last season's star performers.

Formula 1
Feb 20, 2021
Eight things Red Bull must do to beat Mercedes in 2021 Prime

Eight things Red Bull must do to beat Mercedes in 2021

After seven years of defeat at the hands of Mercedes, Red Bull is as hungry as ever to secure a fifth world championship. But there are key challenges it must overcome in 2021 to switch from challenger to conqueror

Formula 1
Feb 19, 2021