Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
3 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
FP1 in
17 days
09 May
Next event in
22 days
23 May
Race in
40 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
54 days
13 Jun
Race in
61 days
27 Jun
Race in
75 days
04 Jul
Next event in
78 days
18 Jul
Race in
96 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
110 days
29 Aug
Race in
138 days
05 Sep
Race in
145 days
26 Sep
Race in
166 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
169 days
10 Oct
Race in
179 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
194 days
31 Oct
Race in
201 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
221 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
243 days

Promoted: How the French GP ranks for on-track action

The first French Grand Prix in 10 years thrilled last year, so Motorsport Live delves into the stats to explain why a Formula 1 race at Paul Ricard is simply unmissable and considers the key action areas on the track.

Promoted: How the French GP ranks for on-track action

What’s a Grand Prix without action? Overtakes, crashes, safety cars and a lack of retirements all form the blueprint of a great grand prix, and Paul Ricard never disappoints in that regard. Lewis Hamilton took a dominant win in 2018, but mainly because of absolute chaos at the start. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – perhaps characteristic of his season – threw his race away and smashed into Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at ‘S’ de la Verrerie (Turn 1). There might have been more crashes in other European races, but none as significant in the title battle, and in contributing to Bottas’s unlucky start to the season, as Paul Ricard.

 
Motorsport Live illustration for the French GP

Motorsport Live illustration for the French GP

Photo by: Motorsport.com

  • Book your tickets to the French GP with Motorsport Live here

It also caused disagreement in the aftermath, with Max Verstappen blasting the media’s harshness in describing the incident, while Mercedes’ boss Niki Lauda slammed F1 stewards for its decisions, which he did not feel were stringent enough towards Vettel. It’s fair to say Paul Ricard creates drama that lasts well after the grand prix!

Esteban Ocon of Force India and Pierre Gasly’s Red Bull also clashed at Virage de L’Hotel (Turn 3) on the opening laps, with Gasly claiming Ocon hadn’t seen him. Both drivers were reprimanded.

One area Paul Ricard dominated in terms of stats against the other European grand prix last year was in overtaking. And that’s without an excessively long straight down which DRS passing can take place. 

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, spin to the back after contact on the opening lap

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, spin to the back after contact on the opening lap

Photo by: Steve Etherington / LAT Images

Marshals recover race retiree Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Marshals recover race retiree Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

Vettel and Bottas’s thrilling drives back through the field contributed to that excitement. In total there were 48 overtakes, the second most of the European grand prix season and 42 more than a certain other grand prix in the same region, naming no names (ahem, Monaco). The stats don’t lie.

The only European F1 race that pipped Paul Ricard in the overtaking stats last year was Hockenheim with its changeable weather – and even then, there were only two more passes in Germany than in France. The rest trailed a long way behind, with Monza next up behind Paul Ricard on 37 overtakes and even Spa-Francorchamps only producing 21 passes. Last year those passing moves were further down the field at Paul Ricard, with Hamilton only headed for a single lap when he pitted, but his two main rivals being delayed on lap one surely played a part. Who knows how much wheel to wheel racing might ensue in 2019 if the frontrunners are all in contention on a track so conducive to passing?

Safety cars and retirements play contrasting roles in a great grand prix – a few safety cars to bunch up the field never hurt, but the fewer retirements the better as more cars on track for longer means more action for spectators. Paul Ricard was in the upper echelon for both statistics in 2018 with two safety cars, and just three retirements.

Even the support races thrilled last year. Wet weather ensured an excellent Formula 2 race, while Frenchman Dorian Boccolacci was disqualified from a first victory in GP3 for a tyre infringement, handing the race win to fellow Frenchman Anthoine Hubert. Les Bleus – with their brilliant World Cup campaign happening alongside the grand prix – could do no wrong last year! 

The Safety Car leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14, and the rest of the field

The Safety Car leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14, and the rest of the field

Photo by: Steve Etherington / LAT Images

Podium: second place Anthoine Hubert, ART Grand Prix

Podium: second place Anthoine Hubert, ART Grand Prix

Photo by: GP3 Series Media Service

Whether it’s F1, its support series or the drama following the race, those attending will never forget the 2018 French Grand Prix. And 2019 promises to be even better.Build your perfect French GP race weekend experience with Motorsport Live here.

 
shares
comments
Hockenheim: German GP a must if Schumacher gets F1 seat

Previous article

Hockenheim: German GP a must if Schumacher gets F1 seat

Next article

McLaren's Barcelona S3 struggles a concern for Monaco

McLaren's Barcelona S3 struggles a concern for Monaco
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event French GP
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Prime

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle.

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb Prime

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen's emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber teammate's own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here's how Nick Heidfeld's career was chilled by the Iceman.

Formula 1
Apr 3, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Prime

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021