Formula 1 | The highs, twists and questions after the French Grand Prix

After every Grand Prix, Nextgen-Auto.com invites you to find the peaks and tumbles set by the editorial team. Who is worthy of praise? Who, on the contrary, should be criticized? Finally, what question marks or ambiguities should be followed with interest during the upcoming Grand Prix? Check it out below!

Tops.

Top No. 1: Hamilton shines, double podium and doubled hopes for Mercedes F1

Last year, it was hard to imagine Lewis Hamilton so happy he finished second in a duel with Max Verstappen. Saturday evening again, after qualifying, we had the same difficulty imagining the upbeat and relaxed Mercedes F1 camp, while the one-lap performance, at this circuit, which should have been more favourable than Paul Rijkaard, was disappointing – with nearly Of the second behind Pullman Charles Leclerc. However, on Sunday evening, the Mercedes clan was delighted and Lewis Hamilton was captivated by it “He couldn’t be happier.”

But what happened in the meantime? Race, go! Mercedes has already had a very satisfactory pace in long runs, to the point where it can beat Sergio Perez’s Red Bull on a regular basis (Max Verstappen has remained out of reach at the moment). In truth, the developments or characteristics of Paul Rijkaard’s circuit highlighted Mercedes’ strengths and weaknesses: the German team looked more in qualifying, and even closer in the race. What remains is the excellent reliability that allows Mercedes to take 44 points from Ferrari in the constructors’ standings.

And while morale, which plummeted on Saturday night, returned on Sunday, a special mention must still be attributed to Lewis Hamilton. Not only did the seven-time world champion dominate George Russell all weekend (3-tenths in qualifying in particular). But he still saw himself being rewarded for his irresistible attitude and for all his substantive work in the settings. The work that perhaps will pay off next year… with a car more tuned to the wishes of Chief Engineer Hamilton?

Top No. 2: Verstappen controls the race and championship

The battle with Lewis Hamilton seems to have made Max Verstappen grow and mature: calmer, more poised, calmer, and the Dutchman has established himself as the undeniable boss of the year. The stats show it again: 7 wins in 12 races, it’s unstoppable and allows the Red Bull driver to have a cushioned mattress in his head (up 63 points). This toughness, this calm, this serenity, this stubborn stability of the Red Bull driver is what we want to emphasize here.

His performance in Paul Ricard also explained what makes Max Verstappen strong this year. When he can’t get hold of Charles Leclerc at pure speed, the Dutchman now knows how to be patient, making Auguste’s motto: Festina Slow, Hurry Slowly. Max Verstappen applied a strategy of wear and patience, believing he should save his tires more than trying to overtake Charles Leclerc at the start of the race. This cautious strategy, aimed at maximizing intermediate points, is paying clear dividends this year, especially when Ferrari hits the wall of reality. In short, Max is never as strong as he is when he’s not insane…

Top No. 3: Fernando Alonso reaps, reaps, reaps…

When the black cat is absent, the mouse Fernando Alonso dances! At the start of the season, and on certain occasions recently, the Alpine Spaniard has been the victim of a curse: just 2 points in 6 races. Since then, he’s had solid results nearly every weekend, effectively showing that when luck returns, results come back with it. The consequences were also immediate for Alpine, who is now ahead of McLaren in fourth place in the automakers’ standings.

That Grand Prix showed in Paul Ricard once again. Without possessing the pure speed of Lando Norris in qualifying (5-tenths of all), Fernando Alonso did Fernando Alonso on Sunday: a fox, a crook, a very effective con man at the start, who was already well ahead of McLaren at the end of the race. On the first lap, he even gave himself a Mercedes for George Russell. Then he easily dominated the gap with Norris…and veteran Fernando Alonso wanted, as a testament to his drive and confidence, McLaren’s return to him so they could exhaust the Pirellis!

So it’s a new final weekend for Fernando Alonso – on top of that, he has put his teammate Esteban Ocon under the fire extinguisher, who suspects a chassis problem is on his singles bench. A potential two-year extension in Alpine might seem like a long time for a forty-year-old, but with such a forty, the future has no age.

flops

Flop #1: Ferrari insults Rijkaard

When everything is fine, it means that soon everything will go wrong for Scuderia Ferrari… This is the feeling that Maranello has given so many races. For the third time this year, Charles Leclerc retired while driving the Grand Prix. For once (unlike for example Barcelona, ​​Monaco or Baku, but like Imola), Charles Leclerc does not blame his team: but himself for his fatal mistake on lap 18. He did not hesitate anywhere else not after his arrival, where he found the words even to be harsher His critics, sympathetic at that moment, did not dare to imagine it. The parallels with Sebastian Vettel’s 2018 Hockenheim foul have been drawn and arguably have their validity; Explanations for the flight of Charles Leclerc, accused of possibly pulling too much of his rear axle, would multiply (but isn’t that also what makes him so powerful?); The perennial themes, “Can you be a hero if you make so many mistakes?” He will return, while the answer has been known since 1950. Of course, Charles Leclerc knows that he must not make such mistakes in the future and of course preserve the potential of the future world champion. Success does not happen all at once.

Furthermore, Charles Leclerc should not be held 100% responsible for his potential failure against Max Verstappen this year (a failure forming by 63 points in the standings now). Ferrari also accumulates errors this year. Once again with Carlos Sainz in strategy: Despite the excellent pace (the Spaniard probably had his best weekend of the year), Sainz had to deal with a flawed strategy at Ferrari. Scuderia stopped him too late for his last stint in the media to come to fruition. While talking to him on the radio in the midst of a great fight with Red Bull from Sergio Perez! As he misleads him with a 5-second penalty for his unsafe release, the pilot himself had to correct his trajectory engineer on the radio, reminding him that it wasn’t just a stop and release…

Finally, reliability remains a concern at Ferrari: this time around it was Guanyu Zhou who suffered an apparent failure of Ferrari’s power unit, which has been a bit under the radar due to the events. The truth is that this year Scuderia is showing that it is not always ready to fight against a machine like Red Bull. It’s the same as in 2017 and 2018: the drivers are not far from culpable, but after all they follow the example set by their team… These refrains were worrisome, then haunted, and now they’re horrific.

Flop 2: Perez didn’t really exist

Sergio Perez was more of a shadow over himself this Sunday at Paul Ricard. His only spark of hope was definitely put in time, in Q3, as he finished just 1/10 and a half behind Max Verstappen after being unleashed on his freestyle teammate. In the race logically, Sergio Perez paid the price for poor base work this weekend. Seeing his teammate win while being beaten up by a Mercedes at sheer speed (and no matter how bad the hypothetical safety car was, George Russell was pretty close anyway)…it might affect the Mexican’s morale.

For the rest, Sergio Perez backed up his alarming remarks, when he claimed that the car’s development was more in the direction of Max Verstappen than in his. After this weekend in France, we want to believe it, and it’s also hard to know how to prove Milton Keynes’ technical team wrong. Great second or good second, Sergio Perez stays a second. Moreover, when we see the Ferraris, Max Verstappen may no longer need Checo for the title…

FAILURE 3: Pierre Gasly’s Weekend: Friday’s Developments, Saturday’s Downturn, Sunday’s Disappointment

When things don’t go well… Free practice was promising with AlphaTauri and Pierre Gasly: ​​thanks to belated but seemingly effective upgrades, the Italian car seemed to have the potential to once again compete with Alfa Romeos and McLarens. Then: the meltdown, as is often the case this year. In qualifying, Pierre Gasly suffered his fourth elimination in the first quarter (it wasn’t anything last year) in qualifying, unable to get enough speed from the AlphaTauri, and was particularly struggling with his rear axle. When his Q3 teammate arrived. The remark thus grows bitter for the Normans when he sees Yuki Tsunoda making more use of the single seat, and thus begins to devour his reputation and morale.

In the race, it was very difficult for Pierre Gasly to be comfortable enough to hope for points. Perhaps a symbol of his frustration was the loss in Williams overtaking Alexander Albon: Pierre Gasly then had to shoot straight, losing a few places on the occasion. Pierre Gasly continued to climb up to twelfth place to give himself a little hope in the second half of the season: under normal circumstances, these developments bring something up, and the rest of Hungary should be better suited for the AlphaTauri. Hope, Gasly needs exactly when his season, like his career, seems to be faltering. Perhaps very unfairly.

we want to see…

The last Grand Prix of France a while ago?

Aren’t we ready to see the Grand Prix de France again? Officially, nothing has been done yet for next year: the calendar has not been announced and hope is still with Eric Boullier, president of the Grand Prix. But these situations are probably just a front: it’s too late to snatch a contract for next year, especially when it’s so prestigious, and let’s face it, maybe a grand prix is ​​more glamorous, as in Las Vegas, or more symbolic, as in southern Africa, knock on the door.

However, Paul Ricard also proved that he could put up a good show: especially with the skirmishes between George Russell and Sergio Perez. The level of safety is still good too, with the big passes deplored but at least not as full of hard curbs or gravel as they are at Silverstone. There are still regulatory hiccups (cork is still there, a bit of water on the track despite the sweltering heat…), but we are far from a fiasco for 2018.

But perhaps Paul Rijkaard was fighting against an even larger opponent, the dynamics of the globalization of Formula 1. What could Beaussett do against Las Vegas? The signs facing Singapore and Shanghai? The south region in the face of the State of Qatar? That is why Christian Estrosi called for the departure from the head of state, having done so much with his weapons, it is true: “We are in the middle of a debate, I am not resigning, while I have allowed our country to take back the Grand Prix of France, this wonderful sporting event, this wonderful popular event. It is also good that the Head of State and France say through his government that we want Formula 1, and that we want it to be We have one of the most popular sports in our country. The President assured me that, now I see in what circumstances we, the societies, will not be alone as we were five years ago to carry this on our shoulders” Captures for Channel +.

Thus, alternating with the Belgian Grand Prix, every two years, would be a good rescue for Paul Rijkaard. A way to perpetuate what would have disappeared long ago without effective mobilization of local authorities.

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