Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Paul Ricard an unfamiliar ‘home’ track for Leclerc

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In the round-up: Leclerc says Paul Richard a ‘new’ track, third ‘close to home’ race

What they say

I’m very close to France also to Italy actually. I have one home race and two close to a home race, which is Monza and Paul Ricard.

Strangely Paul Ricard is a track I’ve never really driven. I’ve driven it once in a GT car to have fun but I did like probably five or six laps only. Also this will be quite a new track, I didn’t yet do the Formula One track so it will be interesting to know this.

I remember being in karting, a lot younger when I was probably five or six, there’s karting track there so this one I’ve driven but not the Formula One one.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Just relaxing in the museum at La Sarthe enjoying a cool bottle of water after a roasting hot race. Fantastic stuff, so much emotion from Toyota, and I’m especially happy for Nakajima after what happened previously. Enjoyed the GTE battles, the Porsche RSRs are glorious racing machines, and also very good to see Dempsy on the top step finally, even if not as a driver.

Right, I’m off to go get stuck in a traffic jam for the next hour…

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On this day in F1

  • On this day in 1988 Ayrton Senna put his McLaren on pole position for the United States Grand Prix in Detroit while the Ferraris bumped team mate Alain Prost to fourth

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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23 comments on “Paul Ricard an unfamiliar ‘home’ track for Leclerc”

  1. Absolutely sublime by Alonso & Nakajima at night… fully deserved!
    2 done 1 to go. Bring on Indy!

  2. (Alonso) became the sixth driver to complete the Monaco-Le Mans double

    Who do you think is closest to be the seventh?

    1. Hulkenberg! He has won Le Mans, and if Renault keeps improving (and he sticks long enough to see it), they might start to win races. Or, if Raikkonen quits and Ferrari doesn’t want to go young with Leclerc just yet, they might sign Hulk.

      Then there’s Rosberg obviously, but I don’t know if he goes racing at that level ever again and I don’t really see HAM and VET continue racing after F1. But if they do, they have a good chance too of course.

      1. correct, @jeffreyj. I was thinking of the Hulk.
        And of course next Monaco GP is before next Le Mans.

        PS – I do think Hamilton will stop F1 a la Rosberg, maybe as soon as/if VET wins the 2018 title. But not sure if he still has the drive (NPI) to race Le Mans next year.
        Button (although needs to improve his LM performance) and Rosberg are other contenders.

        PPS I don’t see Ferrari take on Leclerc just yet in 2019; but that does not mean RAI should be kept.

        1. PS – I do think Hamilton will stop F1 a la Rosberg

          What an odd statement, why ‘a la Rosberg’ ? A la Schumacher would be much more fitting comparison given the sheer number of records he has broken.

          I also think he will stay on if Vettel wins the title but retire if he retains it.

          Or we are all just talking nonsense after he’s had an off weekend, of which he had many more in 2016 and 2017 at this point in the championship.

          1. no need to get upset. ‘a la Rosberg’ is widely understood to be ‘without warning’/’overnight’ when still under contract.

            And yes, “we are all just talking nonsense”, but as I/we lack the racing skills and that is all we can do in this sports ;-)

    2. @coldfly Raikkonen, who I reckon will do the Le Mans 24 hours with Toyota sometime in the next few years.

      1. that would be great for Raikkonen en great for Le Mans if both come together, @mashiat.

    3. @coldfly

      Who do you think is closest to be the seventh?

      I’d say Jenson Button. This year’s Le Mans has been a disaster for his crew, but there was nothing he could do. He’ll stick around, and with the upcoming reshaping of the top class, he might eventually find himself in a competitive seat and get lucky one day. He’s a bit of a Wurz type of driver, never had the kind of speed that drops jaws, but the consistency to make up for it, and a knack for staying out of trouble in complicated race situations.
      Nico Rosberg may be another driver to look out for, especially if he does join Formula E. If you look at the top spots of this year’s Le Mans 24 hours, there’s quite an overlap with FE, so there might be some sort of synergy for drivers who compete in both disciplines. And of course, Rosberg has a reputation for his meticulous work outside of the cockpit, so that could be another bonus.
      Of the active Monaco GP winners, none really jumps to mind. I just don’t see Lewis Hamilton in a Le Mans prototype, Vettel’s Ferrari connection could constitute a contractual obstacle, Ricciardo’s focussed on turning a good career in F1 into an excellent one, and Räikkönen hasn’t had a convincing, or error-free, or at least constant weekend in ages, so it’s hard to see how he could be an asset in a 24 hours race.
      Therefore, I’d put my money (though not too much of it) on Button or Rosberg.

      1. I was not very impressed with Button’s performance at Le Mans this year (still better than Di Resta & Montoya though).
        But as you stated ‘he can ‘get lucky one day’.

        1. @nase @coldfly would you mind to keep us posted about what happened to Button and/or his car? I haven’t followed Le Mans and can’t find information on this – thanks!

          1. @spoutnik
            From what I recollect, his car was sidelined with a sensor issue (“deep in the PU”) during the first hour. They managed to get the car running again after a couple of hours (?), but they were already 50 laps behind at that stage. In the end, with less than an hour to go and with Button at the wheel, the engine expired on the run to Indianapolis. And that was it.

          2. @spoutnik, I think we all missed what Button did.
            From memory they were some 50/60 laps behind due to a sensor fault early on. And even after that Button had an off.
            In the end the car retired during the last hour with engine failure.
            Though they never had the speed of the other SMP (which did quite well initially).

          3. @nase @coldfly
            Thanks for the infos! What a shame, wasn’t it Lotterer’s Rebellion car that had a similar sensor issue at Spa and was delayed in pits until they replaced it? Looks like those sensors can absolutely ruin one’s race … I wonder if this engine failure could be related to the fact the team had to dig deep into its PU to replace the sensor.

          4. @spoutnik
            No idea, I’m afraid.

        2. actually pastor did better than all of them!!!

          1. @coldfly
            Yes I can see Hamilton doing a Rosberg with a quick exit- would suit his style in doing things his own way, maybe why this new contract is slow to sign- he is seeing what Dr Dre is doing next year??:)

            I had no issue in the way Rosberg retired quickly, except for the fact his left his team that made it all happen in it. He done what he needed to do that thought that was enough for him- kudos to that.

            Also agree Leclerc needs more time before Ferrari and Kimi should finish- so we have Daniel for them LOL

          2. @chrisgalaz
            The thing is, I don’t see him winning the Monaco GP anytime soon.

  3. Montoya, LOL.

  4. Really hard for me to see this as anything other than a hollow victory. As the only manufacturer entrants and only hybrids in LMP1 it was always going to be Toyota’s race. It’s extremely likely that they had everything turned down to make sure they had no major issues, and it’s a shame to see the classic event being contested by two cars.

    As a fan of Alonso it was nice to see him pushing hard at night and closing that gap, and he certainly appeared to have the better of the #7 Car, but the whole WEC this year feels a bit too much like Indianapolis ’05. I certainly would love to see a top category full to the brim with the likes of Porsche, Audi, Peugeot, Ferrari, Bentley, McLaren, Jaguar etc coming back. No disrespect to the Toyota who have deserved a win but this year was pretty farcical.

    1. F1 fan in Atlanta
      18th June 2018, 12:48

      Do you have the same opinion regarding the 16 and 17 F1 seasons? 16 was a one team race from the start and 17 wasn’t much better after the Ferrari fell off late. Or when Audi ran the R10s with an insane and blatant advantage in the rules to bring diesel? Or is it just Toyota that everyone loves to hate on?

  5. Really hard for me to see this as anything other than a hollow victory. As the only manufacturer entrants (…) it’s extremely likely that they had everything turned down to make sure they had no major issues

    Agreed. Toyota was racing against themselves. Only a mistake or reliability could have prevented them from winning.

    As for reliability both cars probably turned everything down as soon as they had a gap of multiple laps on their competition. And despite making multiple mistakes with their second car (going over fuel max, missing the pitlane entry etc.) and several penalties, their second car was still miiiiles ahead of the competition. Sad.

  6. I’m wondering if people that calls this a “hollow” victory have every watched Le Mans. This race is ultimately man and machine vs the track. Most of the wins come down to who has the less issues, not who is the absolutely fastest.

    They were running without opposition, yes, but they still had to finish. And if you ask if they were pushing, they completed more laps than both 2017 and 2016 winners.

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