Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2019

Hamilton dominates processional French Grand Prix

2019 French Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton won the French Grand Prix with ease, cruising home over 10 seconds clear of team mate Valtteri Bottas.

The Mercedes driver was never headed over the 53-lap race. Bottas dropped far enough behind in the opening stint that he was no threat to his rival when the pair made their mandatory pit stops.

Charles Leclerc brought Bottas into range on the final lap of the race having languished behind the Mercedes for most of the afternoon. He took a late, speculative look going into the final corner, but had to settle for third.

Further back Max Verstappen took fourth, 11 seconds adrift of one Ferrari but ahead of the other. Sebastian Vettel passed the two McLaren drivers with ease in the DRS zone early in the race but wasn’t able to jump ahead of Verstappen after flat-spotting his tyres at the end of his first time.

Vettel pitted for fresh tyres at the end of the race in a bid to claim the bonus point for fastest lap. He succeeded, but only just, as Hamilton lapped within two-hundredths of a second of his best effort on the final lap, despite much older tyres.

Carlos Sainz Jnr passed Lando Norris at the start of the race and went on to claim sixth. His team mate fell three places to tenth on the final lap, passed by the Renaults and Kimi Raikkonen as he struggled with an apparent hydraulic problem. Ricciardo outfumbled Raikkonen for seventh, followed by Hulkenberg.

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2019 French Grand Prix reaction

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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103 comments on “Hamilton dominates processional French Grand Prix”

  1. Can someone please recommend another racing series that is a bit more competitive at the front? This season is boring as most of the upcoming races are going to be Mercedes dominance again and again.. Ferrari is a distant 2nd at best. Red bull is lagging due to their mediocre 2nd driver.

      1. Rossi won by a bigger margin then Hamilton did.

    1. @knightameerjust Go watch a lower spec series like F2, F3 or Formula E?

      Or watch something like IndyCar where it’s also a lower spec series mostly, but with the added benefit that they reset the race with a safety car a dozen times per race. It’s like a lottery really. You would love that!

      1. @f1osaurus He’s right though. This is unwatchable. I think this season is already over.

        1. Wrong. As watchable as ever.

          Enjoy your Indycar

          1. Oh weather permitting we will..

          2. @dallein Agreed. This was one of the toughest and closest title fights of all time. This win in particular was very crucial. I’d say it’s one of Hamilton’s best wins, up there with Russia 2018 and Canada 2019.

        2. bobec Well Ferrari could have won in Barahain, Baku and Canada and then it would have been a lot closer obviously, but yes they keep tripping themselves up.

          Also Leclerc wasn’t that far off from P2 at the end today.

      2. FE? Seriously? I find nothing appealing about those bumpercars. People complain about the F1 engine sound, but it’s still way better than the sound of a vacuumcleaner..

      3. Mark in Florida
        23rd June 2019, 23:03

        Really there were no safety cars during the race today. I detect a note of bitterness in your reply. Indy is a whole lot more watchable than F1 right now. Not because Indy is so much better, it’s because F1 is so much worse. The competition isn’t there because it’s the Mercedes parade to victory and when there is something competitive happening the stewards choke it to death with a big thick FIA rule book. Yes I definitely prefer Indy Car right now, at least the wins are not preordained at the start of the race. If F1 wants to save money just declare the qualifying order the race win order and skip Sunday altogether. That should reduce costs to a manageable level and won’t effect the win order at all.😉😀

    2. Motogp, if youre are up to it.
      AUS Supercars has two strong teams, but most podia vary. Tracks are funny and cars can race closer. Occasionally there are bad races, but there is always something to look for.

      1. Motogp or Marc Marquez’s championship? Still one man dominates all show.

        1. I’d argue that in the case of MotoGP the gap between manufacturer is not as obvious. Marquez is the only Honda rider currently in the top 7 and the next is 8th.

          1) Honda
          2) Ducati
          3) Suzuki
          4) Ducati
          5) Yamaha
          6) Ducati
          7) Yamaha
          8) Honda

          At least Bottas is pulling quite a gap from all the other non-Mercedes cars majority of the time.

    3. Any series. F2 cars have good racing and flames comming out on downshifts.

      F3, Indy, FE, even Le Mans/WEC if you ignore Toyota.

    4. F2 and F3 at the same track delivered 4 excellent races.

      1. Will start following moto gp and F2/F3. Thanks everyone for their valuable input.

    5. MotoGP across all 3 classes. F1 doesnt even come close to MotoGp.

      1. Sonny Crockett
        23rd June 2019, 18:47

        Yep, yep, yep.

        Moto3 is much better than F1 these days, never mind Moto2 and MotoGP!

    6. peter rippon
      24th June 2019, 2:12

      IMSA watch Watkins Glenn next weekend!!

  2. So whats that 8 in a row for Merc and nearly as many 1/2s and grid lockouts. I think it was after race 4 I gave the WCC to Merc . Won’t say Hamilton has the WDC yet but…

    1. Hamilton has it in the bag. Valtteri Bottas 2.0 is over.

    2. Bottas is now back to Bottas 1.5 mode. Now Ferrari & Verstappen should be targeting him, more realistic. Hamilton was on another planet.

      1. “Hamilton was on another planet”
        Only because his team mate sucks. Put VER, RIC or even HUL in that seat and he will come down to planet earth very quickly.
        And I’d bet BOT will be back in that seat next year – don’t want competition so HAM can tie SHU 7 titles.
        A farce

        1. I think you seriously underrate Bottas, he’s proved in the past that he’s quick. If you put VER or RIC in the car would it be closer? Probably. But the level Hamilton can reach when he gets pushed (especially shown in the 2nd half of the last two season), you just wouldn’t bet against him. The thing is we’ll never really know.

          Also its not like not SHU had teammates who would challenge him – Lets just remember Austria 2002!

          1. I think on his day Bottas is quite good, but it’s only ‘his day’ at maybe every third race. To be as consistently strong as Lewis is is not something most drivers will ever be able to do.

            Makes you realise how good Rosberg was to keep Lewis honest for three seasons and to pinch a championship off him.

        2. @burden93
          Same argument can be used for Lewis. Put Lewis in that Redbull or Ferrari and he will show them how to win a race in it.

        3. RB are not going to seriously challenge Ferrari this yr I think. They need to look out for the resurgent Mclaren.

        4. Put VER, RIC or even HUL in that seat and he will come down to planet earth very quickly

          Or he’ll beat them and then magically they’d be called crap like Bottas is now

  3. i recommend you watch any demolition derby tournaments… not only they are very competitive, they are out right unpredictable! moreover penalties are a little relaxed on pushing eachother off track or coming back to track to take a position back… you will not be disappointed

    1. Thanks for your valuable input.

      1. @knightameer
        no problem mate, any time you need…
        also you could watch american wwe, in between races to keep yourself entertained, they are so unpredictable and they clash with one another you almost never know who is gonna win!

    2. Watching half a dozen guys scraping their knees at 150mph, fighting for the lead at Misano, had me on the edge of my seat earlier….This was barely watchable.

  4. Hamilton clearly looking to squish any Bottas title bid and eek some revenge for the Canada hysterics. Job done. Gasly was appallingly bad. And again the slowest of the leading bunch of drivers, with a nice buffer to the midfield, gets the extra point. Makes it difficult to historically evaluate grand slams now, surely? Vettel gets to take away Hamilton’s after a dismal race weekend with a cheap point.

    1. @david-br Gasly was so poor this race he was lapped by Hamilton. A dire result.

    2. @david-br I’m finding you analyses so succinct and accurate atm 👌

  5. Vettel pits and gets fastest lap on new SOFT tyres by 2 hundreths of a second, while Hamilton did his on OLD Medium tyres. Let that sink in.

    1. *Old Hard tyres.

    2. It just shows how fast Mercedes is.

      1. Or how slow Vettel is?

    3. Vettel’s just said he had a Battery discharge issue on that last lap. Which explains why he was quicker in S3, but not S1 & S2, whereas the weekend form has shown the complete opposite. It isn’t quite what you think.

      1. Correction, he was quicker in S1, but slower in S2

        1. @gav

          take everythink vettel says with a grain of giant sea salt! because he was probably distracted by the mermaids on the trackside… did you see them? i guess not, but he did pay attention and hence slower pace :)

          1. Say that to HAM, who complained multiple times these years about the tyres, yet he lapped faster and faster.

          2. Well well well, he gets on with the job despite reports of problems and gets the job done… Vettel on the other hand gets lost and disappears entirely… If you know the magic formula for vettel, please do explain… Because vettel has no idea where he is making mistakes and don’t know how to fix them, he only complains and fails to deliver!

    4. And unfortunately those 2 hundreds seems to have cost Hamilton a well deserved Grand Chelem (pole, win, leading every lap, fastest lap)… Because there is a point to gain by Vettel from having space behind to pit.

      Grand Chelems should be hard, but that’s a rediculous way to lose it.

      1. @losd I agree, the fastest lap point is really cheap nonsense, almost invariably gained now by a top team driver producing a mediocre performance on the day.

        1. @david-br Heh yes, indeed it’s mostly the driver (in a top team) who was the most useless on Sunday who can go for the free pitstop and get the FLAP.

          I doubt that was what they were going for when they came up with this rule, but it’s usually the case with these entertainment rules that they dont do what they were supposed to.

          1. @f1osaurus Unfortunately Gasly was most useless today, so bad he got stuck back in the midfield. I shouldn’t really be so churlish about Vettel getting a point, given his season has already imploded, but ruining a fine grand slam in this way just annoys me. Hamilton’s performance deserved that grand slam, instead we have Vettel’s face popping up on the TV coverage at the end of the race as though he was worthy of something this weekend, when Leclerc completely trounced him in the same car.

          2. @david-br Completely agree

  6. W (@vishnusxdx)
    23rd June 2019, 16:03

    ******* dominates processional French Grand Prix

    This could have been the title to EVERY racereport from 2001 to 2008, then again in 2010 to 2013, then later again. It’s a stupid title.

    1. It is however a summary of what happend in the race. Hamilton drove off from the start and never looked in danger.

  7. One of the easier post-race write-ups, eh Keith?

  8. Gasly really needs to step up his game again. It looked like he had got better as the season progressed, but now for two races he’s got jumped by at least one driver starting behind him.

    1. @jerejj, not to mention that Norris in front was struggling with mechanical issues, and yet Gasly did not look like even remotely troubling Norris, or any of the drivers in front of him. In fact, he was perhaps lucky that Perez got that five second penalty – Perez was only 5.1s behind Gasly at the end of the race, so he might have been at risk of slipping back even further.

      You do also wonder whether he was a bit lucky that Giovinazzi wasn’t able to set a representative time in qualifying, because his pace in Q2 was slightly worse than that of Giovinazzi – being the slowest in the top 10 would have really hammered home how poor his pace was this weekend.

      With the car that he has at his disposal, he really should be finishing in the top six as a minimum, and yet recently he’s been failing to even deliver that (not even making it into the points for this race is especially poor). At this rate, Gasly might start coming under pressure from Sainz Jr and Ricciardo in the WDC – to be honest, he’s not looked ready for that seat at Red Bull and is really under delivering right now.

      Might we see a case of Red Bull switching around one of their Toro Rosso drivers with Gasly before the season is out? There might be a certain irony if they promoted Kvyat back into the parent team by such a move…

  9. Even my mom said Hamilton and Mercedes winning the time was boring and even on this track. They should move the French GP to Magny Cours but keep Paul Ricard as a testing session.

    1. Did you watch races at Magny-Cours? The race would have been worse.

      I love it as a circuit, particularly before they ruined the last sector in 2003, but it is not a great circuit for racing.

      1. Gav, or, as it used to be called in the past, Magny-Bores, so boring were the races – basically, everybody in the sport knew the only reason they were racing there was the fact that the French authorities of the time were using the race in an attempt to bribe the locals to vote for them by promising it’d bring lots of money into the area.

        If you were on your own, the circuit might have points of interest for the drivers – but, in terms of the races, it was considered to be very processional.

      2. I actually liked the races at Magny Cours. We sat on the grandstand at the Adelaide hairpin and from there you could see plenty battles in that hairpin, but you could also see them come back through Imola (or was it called Monza)

    2. Both F2 and F3 had excellent races in Paul Ricard. Renault Eurocup a couple weeks ago also. The problem is F1.

  10. On a mild note of interest, what happened to Bottas at the end? He lost a bunch of seconds in the last laps and Leclerc suddenly closed in, unfortunately with too few laps left to really force a pass.

    1. To much coffee and porridge I suspect.

    2. There was a low flying pelican along side… he was distracted, luckily he didnt beach it

    3. His tyres cooled down too much during the VSC and he couldn’t get them going.

      1. @aapje Thanks! Wow, totally missed the VSC.

      2. No no, he already lapping 1 min 35 before VSC, slowed down massively after setting fastest lap at that time. Leclerc was about 0.5 sec faster than him average prior VSC.

  11. Dear me.
    It was lap two and I was still wondering if it had started. Bring back turn one carnage please.

    Seb needs to either get his bits back or do a Rosberg.

    Deeply gutted about Landos car failing but he has no reason to feel bad about about his drive this weekend. Same goes for Carlos. Top work McLaren, keep handing out those Freddos!

    Lance is a constant puzzle and Gasly needs replacing …. come on Mr Stroll, you can afford it!

    1. The worst thing is Norris might have made it if Danny Ric hadn’t stuck it down the inside at the chicane, gone off track and rejoined forcing Norris wide, allowing Kimi and Hülkenberg up the inside too. Even if Ricciardo gets a penalty for one or both of the off-track incidents it doesn’t help that much, but such is life.

    2. Not sure what you mean by addressing Mr.Stroll.
      Gasly is not driving for any team associated with Mr.Stroll… and Mr.Stroll’s team will not drop Lance…

      Can you please clarify?

      1. I was suggesting that Gasly is under-performing and that the Stroll Empire can buy F1 teams.

        In all seriousness I feel that Gasly is doing so badly with the Red Bull that almost any other driver should have a shot at that seat.
        Norris would be my first choice but Kimi would almost certainly be sticking that car up where it should be alongside Max.

        1. Your picks for the Red Bull seat are quite unrealistic. I would say Kvyat and then…I can’t imagine anyone else who would be contractually possible, keeping in mind the long term aspect. If miracle happens, then Hulk maybe, but I’m far more optimistic about Daniil, cosidering his age and experience.

          1. @pironitheprovocateur, given that I imagine his contract situation is similar to that of Kvyat, Albon is surely another possible candidate.

            I suppose the only other driver whom Red Bull could possibly use might be Buemi, as he is still eligible for a superlicence and is still under contract with Red Bull. I think it is unlikely to happen in reality, but it is something that they could potentially undertake.

      2. he probably means, stroll’s father should buy a seat at TR, rather than the whole FI team…

  12. It was a pretty boring race, to be honest. Can’t fault Lewis or Mercedes for doing a much better job than the competition yet again, though. I hope everyone who keeps saying it’s “just the car” find those words taste like the excrement they are every time they utter them. I remember vividly that the vast majority of internet posts dubbed Lewis an idiot for leaving McLaren for a Mercedes team that had barely won a race & had never been on pole. I also remember that most professional pundits felt strongly that Rosberg (who had no trouble seeing off an older but still very rapid… rapid enough to stick it on pole @ Monaco… Michael Schumacher) was going to prove more than a match for Lewis in the new, more technical cars. That first year though, Lewis proved more than up to the challenge & after he’d had some input in the next year’s car Rosberg had to start studying Hamilton’s data & copying his setup just to have a shot at beating him. That proves at the very least that Hamilton helped unlock performance from the car that Rosberg (who had always been lauded on his technical ability & intelligence) and Schumacher couldn’t, all while being more economical on fuel & better on tires. At best (and logically, most likely) his input helped the engineers produce those monsters. I consider the fact he’s now dominating with them just rewards for the effort he’s put in helping to make the Mercedes chassis consistently one of the best out there ever since he joined the team.

    1. Wow its true love! Happy for you both!

  13. As he wasn’t shown much, I somehow missed Bottas being that far.
    How on Earth did Leclerc catch Bottas?

    Was Bottas too slow during VSC? Or did he just gradually dropped off Lewis?

    1. I think the VSC cooled his tyres and he didn’t get them back again

  14. I wonder how they’re going to decide in Ricciardo – Norris incident. I wouldn’t consider it unusual, but in the light of the precedence set two weeks ago you can clearly see Norris taking an evasive action and losing badly due to Ricciardo’s optimistic move.

  15. One of the dullest races ever.
    And unfortunetely, these are becoming quite common.

  16. The real story here is how good Norris is and how slow Gasly is.

    How long until RedBulls sign Alonso, Occon or anyone else from the sidelines? Kvyat looks miles better than Gasly. There must be some kind of contractual issue for RBR not to drop Gasly.

    I would anyone else in an instant.

  17. RocketTankski
    23rd June 2019, 17:08

    Gasly was pretty good in the TR, he just seems hopelessly outclassed in the big team. The same would probably happen to Albon if he got promoted for 2020.
    TR already tried to snaffle Lando but were rebuffed. I can’t see them going for an old hand like Hulk or Perez.

  18. There was a meeting between teams in the paddock this morning to discuss pushing the FIA to ask Pirelli to revert to the 2018 thicker gauge tires.

    The FIA are apparently investigating the possibility but will need at least 7 teams to agree to it in order to be able to push the change through. Pirelli however are against the change due to the blistering issues the 2018 style thicker gauge tires suffered from.

    1. Last years tyres? Now who won everything last year on those tyres?
      I remember F1 when the drivers and teams goal was to strive to be the best.

      1. @riptide It was a lot more competitive last year though & the feeling amongst most of the teams is that a lot of the Mercedes advantage this year has come from them been able to work the thinner gauge tires a lot better than anyone else.

        The thinner gauge tires been used this year are a lot harder to get upto temperature & into the optimal working range & once you get there they are very knife edge. Mercedes seem to have a car that gets them into the working range faster & is able to keep them there so there always able to get the most out of the tyres.
        The other teams are struggling to get the tires into the working range & keep them there consistently over a stint which is why you see performance behind Mercedes fluctuate so much as teams are constantly falling in/out of the working range.

        The feeling is that going back to thinner gauge tires would help those struggling with the current tires work them better which would therefore allow Ferrari & Red Bull to get more out of there cars which would allow them to challenge Mercedes closer.

        Pirelli’s point however is that they changed to the thinner gauge tires this year because the thicker one’s were prone to the compound overheating which was leading to severe blistering. And Mercedes are obviously against it because they feel it’s unfair to penalize them for doing a better job at getting there car to work the tires as they are.

        Perhaps the best solution would be to make both types of tire available to teams so that they are able to select which suits there package best. However this would increase cost’s for Pirelli so there reluctant to do so. This approach is actually similar to what Michelin said they wanted to do in supplying each team tires suited to there cars characteristics.
        https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/tyre-war-possible-with-sole-supplier-michelin/3171659/?nrt=54

        1. @gt-racer The poorly performing teams are grasping at straws!

          Clearly Ferrari and Red Bull messed up their design. They don’t have enough downforce. So they want to “fix” that problem with tyres that work better with low downforce.

          All the teams agreed on these new tyres. All the teams were fine with them in pre season testing.

          Now the teams that failed with their new design want to throw the dice in a last ditch effort to see if their car design possible would function less poorly on the old tyres.

          How lame can you make it? Despicable!

        2. Whilst that may have a certain amount of truth in it, you can’t deny that Ferrari have screwed up and gone in completely the wrong direction. So no surprise they cant get the best out of the tyres. (Although some would argue they bested Mercedes tyre wise at Ricard). And if Binotto is to be believed they are slowing getting on top of the problems and know what direction they want to go in. So unless Ferrari want further upheaval at this point I find debatable that they would want too change tyres at this point..

  19. After every race we have the same people complaining and threatening to NEVER watch another race.

    Come next race………..

    If you guys are so bored and so fed up with F1, believe me, you don’t need to inform us, or seek our permission. You can just leave and go and enjoy some other sport.

    Might actually make for a better comments section!

    1. Exactly. Best comment today.

    2. @stubborn swiss exactly

    3. Exactly! Thank you!

      “That’s it, im done watching F1”
      -Who cares!

      1. And then, you have others infroming us that F1 is finished, even after decades of watching lol

    4. @stubbornswiss

      +2 and nicely expressed as well!

  20. I’m an ALO (as a driver) fan but his days in F1 are over – RBR aren’t competitive enough for his needs anyways.
    Don’t know if they want Ocon or Merc would part with him. VER and him have some fences to mend (Brazil last year) if they get him:)

  21. RocketTankski
    23rd June 2019, 18:19

    Since the Australian highlights I haven’t watched any F1. It’s been a bit like a breakup – I keep checking the news pages like a stalker, hoping things will change. But one day at a time it’s getting easier! :-D

  22. Has any team (possibly Ferrari with Schumacher) ever won more than 10 in a row?

    1. Only McLaren, first 11 races in 1988.

  23. And who still says Ferrari have the car to beat?
    Cmon! This will be a race we look back on where it changes the sport. Sorry but this was a shambles of a race. This season is a shambles

    1. @johns23 Ferrari did have the car to beat in Canada. Their #1 driver failed to keep his car on the road, but their #2 driver was lapping half a second a lap faster. Unfortunately he had to give the tow to their #1 driver and they “forgot” to pit him during the race.

  24. Keith, I know it would take some valuable time but could you make an analysis of the success rate of the prediction championship (% of correct predictions) over the years. I’m sure it will show just how easily someone can predict the outcome of a race even before practice 1 nowadays!!!

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