Grand Prix of France – Qualifying

The Grand Prix of Canada wasn’t the most exciting of races, and then the chequered flag was shown too early, so hopefully the return of F1 racing in France will be an improvement.

The Paul Ricard circuit hosts it this year; the previous French GP was 10 years ago when Felipe Massa won (in a Ferrari) and it was hosted at Magny-Cours. Mercedes haven’t won the French GP since 1954, and Red Bull have never won this race.

News since Canada:

  • ALO and Toyota teammates Buemi and Nakajima won the Le Mans 24-hour race – that just leaves winning the Indy 500 for the Triple Crown [FIA]
  • Red Bull announced their engine provider for next year and 2020 will be Honda [BBC]

Free Practice:

  1. HAM (1:32.231), BOT, RIC, RAI, VET
    ERI’s Sauber went up in flames after he spun off into the tyre wall
  2. HAM (1:32.539), RIC, VER, RAI, VET
    PER lost a wheel, causing a red flag (session suspended) for ~10 minutes – Force India was fined €15,000, plus an additional €85,000 suspended for 12 months, but PER was not given any penalty [FIA]
    HAR had an engine problem – he’ll take some new components and the associated grid penalties
  3. BOT (1:33.666), SAI, LEC, ALO, VET
    Plenty of rain so less action on track

Weather update just ahead of Quali: Sunny at the moment. But official forecast says: there is an increasing chance of a shower – 60% around 1615 local time
Track 36°C; air 23°C; humidity 63%

Qualifying Session 1 (Q1)
Local(ish) driver LEC is first out of the pit lane
SIR 1:34.752
MAG 1:32.956
GRO 1:32.466
VER 1:31.823
BOT 1:31.776
HAM 1:31.589
RAI 1:31.567
VER 1:31.531
HAM 1:31.271
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are PER, ALO, ERI, SIR, STR
STR is a hair shy of 3sec/lap slower than HAM
STR runs wide, hits a bump and runs very wide
Chequered flag
ALO P13, relegating OCO
ERI P14, bumps VAN
OCO P11, pushes HAR to P16
PER P12, putting ALO back to P16
Back of the grid: ALO, HAR, VAN, SIR, STR

Reports of rain starting to fall

Qualifying Session 2
Red Bull going out on supersofts, as have Mercedes, but Ferrari are on ultrasofts
VER 1:32.307
SAI 1:32.223
RAI 1:32.000
BOT 1:31.227
HAM 1:30.645
Radio for VER asking about track conditions; “it’s tricky”
Track temp down to 30°C
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are OCO, LEC, ERI, HUL, PER
PER P10, relegating GAS
GRO side by side with LEC down the pit lane – that’s not clever
2mins left; front runners are on track on ultrasofts
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are GAS, OCO, LEC, ERI, HUL
OCO P1O, bumps PER to P11
LEC P10, relegates OCO to P11
HUL P12
Middle of the grid: OCO, HUL, PER, GAS, ERI

Qualifying Session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, VET, RAI, VER, BOT, GRO, MAG, RIC, SAI, LEC
They’ll all be on ultrasofts for Q3
VET 1:30.400
RAI P2
BOT 1:30.317
HAM 1:30.222
SAI P5
VER P4
RIC P5
GRO into the tyre wall – red flag!
Radio for GRO checking he’s OK – “yes”
Replay shows GRO lost the tail, slid sideways into the armco wall
Marshals pretty quick in removing GRO’s Haas – his tyres are right down to the canvas
Green flags for the restart of Q3
5mins left; order is HAM, BOT, VET, VER, RIC, RAI, SAI; no time from GRO, MAG, LEC
RAI goes too deep, has to abandon his quick lap
2mins left; everyone (except GRO, of course) on track for a final flying lap
BOT 1:30.147
HAM 1:30.029
Chequered flag
MAG P8
LEC P8
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, VET, VER, RIC, RAI, SAI, LEC, MAG, GRO
HAM’s 75th F1 pole

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VET, VER, RIC, RAI, SAI, LEC, MAG, GRO, OCO, HUL, PER, GAS, ERI, ALO, HAR*, VAN, SIR, STR
*penalties to be applied: HAR (technically 35 grid spots for new engine parts, but the 2018 rules say any driver with penalties exceeding 15 places goes to the back of the grid)

3 Replies to “Grand Prix of France – Qualifying”

  1. “Ferrari deployed one of its two Formula 1 curfew ‘jokers’ by mistake on Saturday morning at Paul Ricard, potentially leaving it with just one for the rest of the season.”
    https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/136953/ferrari-used-curfew-joker-by-accident
    “Ferrari has told Autosport that a staff member who works for its Driver Academy, and who is present at the French Grand Prix to look after junior drivers Antonio Fuoco, Giuliano Alesi and Callum Ilott in the supporting Formula 2 and GP3 events, triggered the penalty by entering the F1 paddock before 10am.
    He appears to have been wrongly registered in the FIA pass system as an operational F1 team member.
    The rest of the Ferrari race crew was waiting outside the paddock for the end of the curfew.”

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