2019 French Grand Prix Qualifying LIVE
Location: France (French Grand Prix)
Circuit Paul Ricard
We’re getting ready for the 2019 French Grand Prix Qualifying where you’ll be able to see LIVE updates as everything happens.
The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining and drivers are now getting ready for the qualifying session ahead which, at the moment, is expected to be strong for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team, especially with Valtteri Bottas looking the stronger driver out of the two.
The Pit Lane Is NOW OPEN with drivers making their way out onto the track.
Q1 – 2019 FRENCH GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING LIVE
The drivers who are currently out on track are trying to get their cars prepared for their ‘hot laps’ however they’re managing their tyres and taking things relatively slowly.
Haas are one of the first teams out on the circuit.
Did you know? The blue and red lines around the track (pictured in the first photo) act as a gravel pit – without the gravel. The lines are ‘sticky’ with the red part being the ‘stickiest’ so to speak. However the gravel pit does a better job at stopping the car.
Renault is trying to push (it’s their home race) however at the moment, Hulkenberg has only managed P5 – it’s still early though.
Kimi Raikkonen goes off-track and rejoins – getting in the way of Grosjean.
Sebastian Vettel not looking strong at the moment – he had a couple of issues as he made his way round the circuit. The car not reacting in the best way.
Valtteri Bottas goes P1 – 1:31.378
Leclerc in P2 and Hamilton in P3.
Lewis Hamilton also having a little issue on the final corner – bringing his time down.
Hamilton now managing to set a P2 lap time – behind his team-mate. Leclerc on the other hand in P3, is he playing things safe?
Drivers are now making their way round the circuit again – getting their best lap times in. The top teams however are holding back.
Q1 – Knock Out Zone
Drivers are now making their way back to the garages – getting ready for Q2.
Q2 – 2019 FRENCH GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING LIVE
A change for the team-mates as Lewis Hamilton goes fastest. It’s a tough afternoon for most of the drivers – most of them are struggling around the circuit.
Leclerc currently has the edge over Sebastian Vettel. Charles Leclerc pushing and currently in P3.
Verstappen splitting the Ferrari’s in P4 and Vettel in P5.
Now, Valtteri Bottas goes P1. Hamilton P2 and Verstappen P3 – it’s a good afternoon for the Red Bull driver!
Drivers are now making their way into the garages – there’s around 6 minutes to go until the end of Q2.
Many of the drivers are using the out lap as an extra lap to warm up their tyres – as mentioned above, a lot of drivers are struggling with grip at this circuit.
A little bit of tension at Ferrari between the team and the team-mates. Sebastian Vettel sounding rather down and one point saying “I’m not trying to kill him….” in regards to his team-mate.
Q2 – Knock Out Zone
Drivers are now back in the garages and remaining 10 and waiting for Q3 – this should be a good qualifying session with all the drivers pushing their cars yet having grip issues too!
Romain Grosjean: “It was just the pace – when I crossed the line it was just what the car had. The car is on the very edge of ‘going’ as the grip is difficult. I didn’t have the updates for the rear and this is compromising my races. This was my home race and I wanted to do better but I will do all I can and hopefully we can push.”
Lance Stroll: “Checo found a lot of time in the last lap surprisingly – I don’t know how he found that time. There’s around a second that he’s up and we’ve been even all weekend. Tomorrow is a new day, anything can happen – we’ll see what Sergio is capable of doing now.”
I’d just like to add here that Lance Stroll doesn’t seem to have the respect for his team-mate. He always seems to question his speed and the above shows it. Sometimes, a track may suit a certain driver more – just because they’ve been “even all weekend” doesn’t mean they’ll be equal all the time.
Personally, I think that Lance Stroll hasn’t proved himself as a driver.
Q3 – 2019 FRENCH GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING LIVE
Lights out – the pit lane is open and both the McLaren drivers are out on track first.
The team telling telling Carlos Sainz to stop at the end of the pit-lane.
Ferrari are now coming out onto the circuit – Leclerc being the first car.
Lewis Hamilton on the radio: “there’s a lot of cars ahead of me….”
It’s only the start of the session but Bottas already going a second fastest and as I’m typing – Hamilton now goes faster, setting a track record! 1:28.448
Vettel now coming into the pits – he had a terrible lap and saying on the team radio “Box, box”
Drivers now coming into the pits.
Leclerc: “What happened in the straights? I lost a lot of time.”
Team to Leclerc: “A lot of drivers have been reporting wind on the track…”
At the moment, Vettel hasn’t set a time.
Bottas is now the first car back out on track followed by Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel now comes out on the track – followed by Charles Leclerc.
Charles Leclerc saying that Sebastian Vettel slowed down with the team saying “it will be fine”‘.
The same thing is happening to with the front two drivers however Lewis Hamilton is currently on pole for the 2019 French Grand Prix.
Setting another lap record of 1:28.319
Sebastian Vettel only manages 7th fastest – a terrible qualifying session for him!
Charles Leclerc in P3, Max Verstappen in P4 and Lando Norris in P5 – a great result for McLaren on the other hand.
Post-Qualifying Driver Interviews (Track Interviews)
Lewis Hamilton: “A big hello to everyone. It’s not an easy track here – it’s quite technical. Valtteri was the faster one here and he was chipping away, chipping away but the last two laps worked for me and I did all I could to push. The wind has been picking up and the track is dusty so you have to be dynamic with the way you go round the circuit. We’ve just been working really hard – the team have done an amazing job. This one is for Karl (Lagerfeld)”
Valtteri Bottas: “I think Lewis had a really good lap in the end and it’s all about the fine details and the wind changed in the opposite direction so I had to work things out but I think Lewis did it better today and overall – a great result for the team. We’ve had a strong package throughout the weekend and hopefully I can do something tomorrow with the long run into turn one. The race is what we focus on.”
Charles Leclerc: “At the end, we are happy. I am pretty happy with my lap and even though it’s not enough – we will close the gap to them. The target is to close the gap to them and we have to get the good start and focus on that. In Bahrain we couldn’t race too much but hopefully this one will be a good race.”
Lewis Hamilton comes into the interview – “I can’t wait to race with this one!” In regards to Leclerc.
Toto Wolff: “It was a good weekend for us – a good qualifying session. I think we have lots of downforce. The challenge is tomorrow – we need to bring the tyres home and bring a good result back. You need to have 1 stop as this is around a 23 second loss so the race happens on Sunday and we just need to finish it. In the last lap – we had a gust of wind and only Lewis improved, that’s the difference.”
Sebastian Vettel: “No I didn’t have a problem, I just lost a lot of momentum and I didn’t feel the need to lose that lap. In the end, I didn’t get the most out of the car. It was really difficult for me as some laps were really good and other laps it didn’t work. This isn’t the step we wanted but we have a good pace for tomorrow and we should be in the mix with the Red Bull.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “I think this was as good as we could do – I felt like we couldn’t improve. The McLaren’s have really had speed this weekend and I think they might have a little secret update (laughs) we couldn’t match that so I’m pretty content with P8 and it’s good. I had a few moments and I had to abort my run in Q2 and I thought we were on the back foot but it just worked out with P8.”
Max Verstappen: “This is a good result – we maximised the result but it wasn’t as clean as we would have liked. There was some odd behaviour from the car and we should have been closer but we managed to maximise the result and do what we can. I had a moment into Turn 6 and that wasn’t ideal – for the podium, I think we need a bit of luck. The Ferarri’s have improved but we’ll give it a good go!”
Carlos Sainz: “This result means that we are doing our homework well. This also means that the track suits us – we need to enjoy the moment and do what we can, enjoy the race tomorrow too. This feels good and it finally feels like we have the pace – it’s one of the strange feelings. This track is medium and high-speed. We are efficient on the straights and we introduced an upgrade in Spain and this wasn’t working on slow speed but on the medium and high speed – it works well.”
Lots more on the way this evening so check back for all the F1 news!