LIVE: 2019 French Grand Prix
Location: France, French Grand Prix
Circuit Paul Ricard
It’s another glorious day in France and as we saw yesterday, the wind is still affecting parts of the track however today – it seems to be stronger than in Qualifying yesterday. It’s likely that this could affect some of the drivers races today….
Track Parade – LIVE 2019 French Grand Prix
Drivers are now out on the track parade and greeting fans, throwing merchandise out of the truck and enjoying the buildup. Some drivers are on the truck – other drivers are in cars, being driven around the circuit.
Pierre Gasly: “It’s pretty amazing and we are so lucky to have the French Grand Prix because before last year, it wasn’t on the calendar. We will try to move forward and see what we can do.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “They’re all good experiences and here now what I’m experiencing is really fun. A lot of the things are quite enjoyable but one thing I’m noticing is that it’s quite windy on the track here.
Carlos Sainz: “Today is the important day, the one that really counts, the race results and we are trying to learn from the mistakes of Canada and see what we can do to make things happen today.”
Max Verstappen: “It’s getting better and better (the car) and I don’t mind trying extreme things on the car to see what will work. We found the balance in Qualifying and even though we’re not in the perfect state, it’s not bad. We have updates coming soon and that should bring us through – you always need a bit of luck and I’ll be fighting at the start. I’ll bring excitement but not too much – I need to stay out of trouble.”
Antonio Giovinazzi: “Yesterday was a positive day and I got through to Q3. There a negative things like starting on the softs so we will have a difficult part of the race and that’s it – we just need to continue and get things through with the strategy so it will be difficult.”
The drivers and team members have come together for Sir Jackie Stewart’s Birthday – Happy Birthday! 80 Years Old!
Drivers and teams are now making their way back to the motorhomes to get ready for the LIVE 2019 French Grand Prix!
They’ll be making their way to the garages shortly and making their way to the grid.
Take a look at this lovely photo from the track parade – it’s nice to see the drivers happy.
PIT LANE NOW OPEN – LIVE 2019 French Grand Prix
Drivers are making their way round the circuit to line up on the grid.
Pierre Gasly: “I will have to fight hard, we are not starting where we would like so we will see if we can have an advantage at the start – I just want to move forward and hopefully, I can make a few positions. It’s a pretty long race – who knows, there might be some safety cars and we need to make the best of any opportunities. A great weekend but I want to move forward and push as hard as I can.”
Zak Brown: “The drivers have done a great job and the engineers have dialled the car in a great way. The men and women who have worked on this and the car back at the factory have been great and we shouldn’t get too carried away but it’s good. We are dialling in the car and getting feedback from both drivers. I hope we have a good few laps and a good race.”
Max Verstappen: “The track looks lovely (laughs) – I hope we can find some grip.”
Alex Albon: “We are trying to get up to speed with everything. This is a difficult race – the tyres are something which we have to manage. You can push quite hard without stressing the tyres.”
Lando Norris: “Ideally, we should finish where we’re starting but I have a red car behind me (Ferrari) and Carlos near me so we will have to do what we can and hopefully have a good race.”
Mattia Binotto: “His mindset (Vettel) isn’t the best at the moment but he needs to keep focused and have a good race. The more he races, the more he will be comfortable. For Charles, he is in a good position, he just needs to have a good start and keep going.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “I think we will have a good race package. We should have the cars behind us more or less covered. Seb should make his way through and then we can manage.”
Toto Wolff: “It’s a new day a new game. We had a good performance on Friday but today, we haven’t started yet so we will see how it all goes. There are different scenarios but when the visor goes down – everything can happen.”
Christian Horner: “Hopefully both of them can make progress today and we can battle with the McLaren’s and Renault’s and we just need to manage everything and have a good start off the line as both drivers will need to manage the cars tyres.”
Drivers are now all on the grid, in their cars and getting ready for the formation lap.
Team to Bottas: “Track temp is going up a little bit…”
FORMATION LAP: LIVE 2019 FRENCH GRAND PRIX
Drivers are now making their way round the circuit, getting their cars as prepared as they can for the race start. It’s the formation lap ahead of the race.
It’s expected that track temperatures will rise – it’s a very hot afternoon so strategies and tyre management will be key.
Both Mercedes have great starts! Lewis Hamilton gets a good start and remains in the lead with Valtteri Bottas right behind.
A relatively clean start for the rest of the pack as drivers battle down the main straight to gain position.
The top 3 have remained the same – Hamilton, Bottas and Leclerc.
Verstappen in P4 however Sainz manages to move up one space and is up in P5.
Vettel staying in P7 with Norris right ahead of him.
McLarens’ are looking good too – they’re both ahead of Ferrari (Vettel), for now, DRS will be available in the next lap.
Just as Hamilton makes his way down the main straight – the fastest lap time comes from none other than Max Verstappen. He’s in P4 at the moment.
Vettel still down in P7.
Max Verstappen: “Errr… I’m not pulling out of the corners….”
Team to Verstappen: “Ok, standby….”
Not good despite Verstappen just setting the fastest lap time.
Lewis Hamilton now setting the fastest lap time.
Sebastian Vettel still down in P7 – he hasn’t made his way past Norris yet and already around 10 seconds off the lead.
Sebastian Vettel just makes his way past Norris – Norris attacks but Vettel blocks off the move and is now up into P6.
Hamilton now setting the fastest lap time.
The team talking to Hamilton and telling him to try different settings.
Vettel now makes his way past Sainz and is up into P5.
Team to Charles: “Charles, we are going with Plan A, Plan A.”
Leclerc: “OK, copy…”
Lewis Hamilton setting another fastest lap time.
Valtteri Bottas now sets the fastest lap time. Charles Leclerc has dropped back slightly.
Sebastian Vettel has now set the fastest lap time – he’s pushing and if he keeps up with these lap times, he will catch up to Verstappen who’s running in P4.
Lewis Hamilton now sets the fastest lap time – 1:34.811
Lando Norris now comes into the pits – he’s the first driver to come into the pits.
Lewis Hamilton setting the fastest lap time.
Carlos Sainz now coming into the pits.
Team to Bottas: “The pace has started to drop with the Ferrari – it’s like they’re struggling on the fronts.”
Max Verstappen comes into the pits.
Team to Vettel: “Opposite to Verstappen.”
They’re trying the over-cut on the Red Bull’s.
Team to Vettel: “Go as long as possible. As long as possible.”
Vettel: “Yeah, I agree with you.”
Charles Leclerc coming into the pits – not entirely sure why as his tyres are still OK! Are the team trying to bring Vettel into play and drop Leclerc further back?
Lewis Hamilton comes into the pits. It’s Hamilton in the lead, Vettel and Bottas. Don’t forget – Vettel hasn’t come into the pits yet.
Vettel now mentioning the tyres – he’s struggling on the tyres.
He now comes into the pits and Vettel comes out in P5. In front of Raikkonen (P6) and behind Verstappen (P4).
Hamilton still leading the race – there’s battles throughout. Bottas dropped back slightly but he’s back on the pace.
Lewis Hamilton leading the race.
Hamilton: “This tyre doesn’t feel as good as this other one…”
Team to Hamilton: “Ok copy…”
Drivers struggling on their tyres.
Team to Bottas: “We can see blistering on the tyres on both cars. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Team to Lando Norris: “OK, Lando – we’re managing an issue so you’re not to use DRS.”
Charles Leclerc now sets the fastest lap time – he’s started putting the pressure on the team in front, Mercedes.
Leclerc telling the team that his tyres are good following Mercedes radioing about their tyres….
Norris: “I’m having really bad problems with the upshifts!”
Team to Norris: “OK Lando, this is part o the problem that we’re trying to manage.”
There’s around 10 laps to go and things have started to pick up….
Team to Vettel: “OK, we are now on Plan F, Plan F…”
Bottas now sets the fastest lap time!
Team to Hamilton: “It looks like Vettel will have a free stop at the end of this lap…”
Bottas keeps the fastest lap time at the moment. Drivers are all pushing yet managing their tyres at the same time.
Toro Rosso drivers are battling – Albon and Kvyat. Albon in the lead – both respecting each other.
Kvyat now closing the gap down the main straight but there’s a gap between the pair.
Hamilton leading the race with Bottas in P2. Bottas still with the fastest lap time (extra point).
Leclerc in P3.
Verstappen in P4.
Vettel in P5.
Team to Norris: “The car will become sturdier and then the steering will become heavier – that’s what you need to manage and they’re part of the problems.”
Norris: “The steering already feels heavy.”
Team to Grosjean: “We need to retire the car Romain – retire the car.”
Romain Grosjean retires from the 2019 French Grand Prix – not the result he wanted for his home race.
Team to Hamilton: “Norris is managing a hydraulic issue so just keep an eye out there…”
Oh, there’s a bollard on the track! Yellow Flag.
VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR
The marshalls have gone on track to clear the bollard and the track is now clear.
Verstappen: “My tyres are pretty ******”
Sebastian Vettel now comes into the pits – it’s likely that he won’t be going after Verstappen but is going after the fastest lap. (extra point).
Charles Leclerc is gaining on Valtteri Bottas – there’s only a second between them! Could Leclerc get P2?
Ricciardo now gets past Lando Norris.
Hamilton making his way through the last few turns…
LEWIS HAMILTON WINS THE 2019 FRENCH GRAND PRIX
Sebastian Vettel takes the fastest lap time.
Lewis Hamilton: “This has been a phenomenal weekend guys, thank you for all your work! It’s been amazing.”
Lewis Hamilton: “I mean this is always such a challenge out there and you’re always trying to find the best out of the car. All these guys (the team) are doing the best that they can be – we’re making history and it’s amazing to be a part of a team like this. Valtteri did a great job today too. It’s really warm – it’s very bumpy and it’s a challenging track. It wasn’t easy at all – you’re always on the edge and wondering about where to manage and how things work. This has been the best start of the year se we need to enjoy it.”
Valtteri Bottas: “There’s not lots happening from my side but ultimately we had a good race. Lewis drove a great race and this is important for the team but we just need to see what we can do for next time. There’s things that I need to look at as he (Lewis) was very strong, he’s not unbeatable but I need to do my homework.”
Charles Leclerc: “Everything felt OK with the car and today it was about tyre management and towards the end I was catching Valtteri but there was not enough laps for me to try and push. Seeing where we were on Friday and where we are now, it’s an improvement and I believed we could have taken P2 but it was a good race.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It was quite a tight race – we had a problem with the battery in the last few laps otherwise we could have been further up. We know that we are fast in the straights and not so much in the corners. We failed this weekend but we are not giving up – we need to see why some of the bits didn’t work and see what we can do for the next race. Another factor here is that the weather was quite hot and this made us struggle with our tyres.”
Max Verstappen: “It was a little bit lonely but I had Charls (Leclerc) in sight so this was something. I always want to see how fast we can go and in the last few laps – I lost the grip in the rear tyres so I just thought it would be better to bring it home.”
LANDO NORRIS HAS BEEN VOTED AS THE DRIVER OF THE DAY
Lando Norris: “The last few laps were getting worse and worse and when you need power steering it wasn’t there but it didn’t reach the point where the car wasn’t drivable. It’s good for the team overall and it’s getting better – it’s good, we’re getting there and the team spirit is good.”
MEDIA INTERVIEWS – LIVE 2019 FRENCH GRAND PRIX
Lewis Hamilton: “Clearly, I’m sweating so you can see that it was challening. I was chasing lap performance each time – right at the beginning, I had a good start along with Valtteri and we were close but then I got my bearings.”
“The hards were not as good as the mediums and towards the end I didn’t push too much – at the last lap, I pushed and I didn’t know what to expect. I think we always try to remind each other to do the best – my team is very calm and sometimes you get the sense that it’s what they expect. They’re like “you got pole position” but we always look back at things and think we could do things better. My team said don’t worry, “you can’t get the fastest lap” and I thought ‘ what do you mean, I’m not giving up‘ – it’s that feeling that you never need to sit back and take things easy.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Towards the end of the first stint, I started falling back as my tyres were not looking good. I was pushing when I could but overall, Lewis had the pace and delivered strong laps.”
“I need to take a look and learn about these things to be prepared for other weekends. My focus is 100% myself and my team mate – we are aware of other teams but we always focus on ourselves and not on other teams.”
Toto Wolff: “There’s 13 races left, there’s around 500 points to go and even though we are in the lead – the gap is not enough. Lewis had a very good race today, the performance and the car was the best that we have had all season and I’m very happy for the team with this result.”
“This is the best result and the best I have seen the mechanics of the car develop and work – they are relentless and continue to push. The tracks do play a fundamental part in how things will be but we need to look at getting the regulations right.”
“We have drivers and teams all involved with the FIA and we have good discussions. We all want to get it right – we need to make sure we all get our ideas and thoughts in, collaborate and help the FIA with the development. We need to re-write the rules and take the good out of what we have and optimise things further.”
Current driver standings following the 2019 French Grand Prix.
There’s lots more coming this evening including driver interviews and more photos from the weekend!