Max Verstappen wins the French Grand Prix
Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Tanishka Vashee
After an exciting qualifying yesterday, Max Verstappen lined up on pole for the second time this season. Just beside the young Dutchman sits Lewis Hamilton, who was only two tenths seconds off the speedy Verstappen. Starting the second row is the ice cold Finn in the Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas, who is just one tenth of a second off his teammate. Next to the Finn is new Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez with the hopes of helping his pole sitter teammate.
From the back, it’s a crashed-out Yuki Tsunodq who will start from the pit lane.Lance Stroll, who got his time deleted due to track limits infringement will be starting p19. In front of the Aston Martin sits Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and Kimi Raikkonen completes the back four.
It was predicted to rain with a 90% chance of precipitation just moments before the race.But shortly before the race started, the rain calmed down and gave way to a full dry race for F1.
As the race started, Verstappen got away fairly well and managed to pull away from Hamilton. But the lead wouldn’t last long because Verstappen went wide on turn 1, giving way for Hamilton to take provisional lead. This lockup may be caused by him going through the formation lap too fast and stopping for too long, hence the cold tyres and no grip.
On lap 11, Hamilton reported that his tyres are graining, which means tyre degradation was high. Several other drivers also reported high degradation on the choice of compounds that Pirelli chose to bring to this race, which is the C2 as softs, C3 as mediums, and C4 as hards, with the majority of the grid running a medium tyre start.
This was a great race for third place contender, McLaren. They saw themselves finish fifth for Lando Norris and sixth for Daniel Ricciardo. The duo was also involved in some feisty battles with veteran driver Fernando Alonso for 10th place, which the pair absolutely won.
On the other hand, this is one race to forget for Scuderia Ferrari as they fluffed their strategies by pitting Charles Leclerc three laps earlier than the others, putting him out of contention for points.
Valtteri Bottas reported shortly before the race ended that his tyres were out and complained that the strategy should be to utilise the two-stop strategy.
Verstappen attempted not one, but two undercuts and the second one worked, barely, as he overtook Hamilton just before the long back straight. He gained a total of more than 20 seconds over a race distance.
After a great two hours of racing, it was Max Verstappen, the young Dutchman to win the French Grand Prix. This win extends his lead over championship rival Lewis Hamilton, who was before the race, behind by four points and now will be behind by around 11 points.
Meanwhile, in the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull extended their lead too as they got a double podium, with Max winning the race and Sergio Perez coming in third.
In the perspective of a Formula One fan, this race had everything one would enjoy. It had drama (just a tad bit), long battles for positions, epic strategies in full swing, and so much more. We’ll be back next week as the Steiermark GP takes place and for now, Max Verstappen and Red Bull will have the upper hand.