Grand Prix 2018 French Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

I know you all know this but the phrase Grand Prix means Great Prize, which is a bit of a clue as to the history of motor racing. The first ever Grand Prix took place in France in 1906. There was a race in the first season of the World Championships in 1950 and apart from 1955 (after the Le Mans tragedy) there was a race in France every year up until 2008.

The French Grand Prix was, is and will continue to be part of the history of F1 and the fact that the powers that run Formula One chose to drop it from the calendar from 2008 was a disgrace and insult to the heritage of the sport. Regardless of the finances, there are certain races which must be on the F1 Calendar and France is one of those. Liberty media would do well to look at the history of the sport and learn what the sport needs not just from a financial perspective but also from an historical one.

Anyway, enough of my ranting France is back. Hooray! The race is taking place at Paul Ricard. Hooray, sort of. Why sort of? Well, Paul Ricard has a history in F1 with the race taking place there at various times in the 70's and 80's, sharing duties with the circuit at Dijon Prenois. But the circuit which was used back then has been heavily revised for safety reasons since the 80's. The old back straight was over a mile long and watching the turbo cars of the 80's blast down this was something to behold. After the death of Elio de Angelis a chicane was put in to the straight and then the circuit was shortened. The bizarre thing is de Angelis' death had little to do with the length of the straight and more to do with the poor emergency support at the practice session.

By the way, we shall have to refer to the circuit as Le Castellet otherwise we are giving free advertising to an alcoholic drink maker who only paid for the track to be built. Not like he deserves any credit is it? Perhaps we should now call it the Circuit Bernie Ecclestone, after the current owner. In fairness to Bernie he has invested a lot of money to improve the facilities to the point where it can host a Grand Prix but then he has a lot of money doesn't he.

So along with the emasculated track comes another strange innovation. There are no gravel traps at Le Castellet, instead there are blue and red stripes painted around the edge of the track which are designed to slow the cars down should they enjoy an excursion off road. These painted run off areas are a mix of asphalt and tungsten and the red sections are deeper than the blue so give more grip to the tyres, slowing the cars down. Having watched a WTCC race it is sometimes difficult to work out where the track runs and, reading some stuff to write this article, found out that the circuit has 167 possible configurations. I wonder if any of the drivers will get lost?

Having just got over the "excitement" of Canada I can't be bothered to get too much into where we are in the 2018 championship. Suffice to say that pole will be either from Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull and the winner will also be from one of these teams. The test will be whether Merc bring their upgraded engine to France and if this will get them closer to Ferrari.

Enjoy one of the historically most important races Formula One could have. I hope it will provide some close action but I have a horrible feeling it will struggle to beat the number of overtakes in Canada. It should be better than Monaco though.
 
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2. How many people did Vettel hit? Three? Certainly it was lively watching him run back up the pack.
...
9. There was lots of passing in lots of different places on the track, not just the DRS zones. Nice to see.
10. Will Mercedes have the edge in the next two races? If so, I fear the championship will slip out of reach of Vettel.
...

Finally, it was nice to have Paul Ricard back. I missed it. Not my favorite track, but it feels like it belongs.

Vettel's race was certainly eventful and he hit several cars. IMHO he shouldn't have been punished for hitting Bottas, he had nowhere else to go, Hamilton went into turn 1 making sure that Bottas could catch up on Vettel, either Vettel was going to stop in the middle of the road or he and Bottas were going to come into contact. IMHO this was a racing accident (as Hamilton had all the right to slow down Vettel so that his team mate could slot between himself and his championship challenger).

Having said that IMHO Vettel should have been punished for hitting Grosjean on the first lap, it was totally unnecessary, I understand that he had some issues with his car but there was no need to punt Grosjean.

Regarding Mercedes I fear that they will have an advantage as long as the current PU formula comes to an end, they wanted this formula and started working on it years ahead of the competition and only then they wrote the rules, ensuring that the other engine manufacturers cannot catch up. IMHO they are playing games with the competition, so Hamilton should win another WDC. On top of that the stewards seem to be rather strict with Vettel (let alone with Sirotkin, maybe Sirotkin killed Charlie's cat) and very lenient and understanding with Hamilton (and with Verstappen)

Regarding Paul Ricard, yes great track, with such a long straight they could have done without DRS (and obviously that silly chicane), it would have been more honest, yesterday there were several good moves (Ricciardo and Bottas, if I remember correctly) even if most of the action was just DRS passes before the chicane on the Mistral. I would also suggest that they change the colour of the run off areas
 
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Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Contributor
I don't how it can be a penalty when, since the driver doesn't have to take it quickly, the penalised driver, who is in the second fastest car, has 50 odd laps to build up a cushion. The punishment might as well be allowed to take place in FP1 in the next race.
 

gethinceri

Lance Stroll Fan. Alfa Romeo Fan.
Contributor
I agree Bill Boddy, the drive-through penalty was a much better punishment when it was the first available sanction. I also think that the stop-go should be seen nowadays.
5 seconds added allows the team to strategise around it.
Serve all penalties within 3 laps.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Nice summary Ruslan
I would love to see some data on your point 9 though. The overtaking stats will be interesting as I can’t remember any more than 5 that weren’t DRS assists outside of lap one.
I saw a few. Five would still be pretty significant compared to what we've seen earlier this season. I was kind of pleasantly surprised. I gather it was more a function of the track than the cars.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
He's been equal to Hamilton so far this season, if not slightly better. What more do people want to see from him, some trash talking like Hamilton did whilst Rosberg was his teammate. He's quite a bore outside of the car, but at least he's no stick in the mud like Raikkonen.
Oh...I don't think he has been his equal. I have been disappointed in him since he has gone to Mercedes. So far this season, Hamilton leads the qualifying war 5 to 3, and that includes a couple of races where Hamilton simply appeared to be off form.

I actually like Bottas. When he is interviewed, he tries to answer the questions completely and honestly. I don't think he is as good as Rosberg was. I don't think he has really been a threat to Hamilton.
 
Always a video worth playing. ;)

I think that he had a point and I'm grateful that there is someone out there willing to speak his mind, we often complain about how fake F1 drivers come across and when a driver is honest and upfront we don't like him. What do you think that someone like Alan Jones or James Hunt let alone any driver of the 60s would have told charlie in such a case? I think that they would have been much more direct than Vettel, they might have punched Charlie in the face, and Charlie would have fully deserved such treatment.

On top of that if Charlie cannot take criticism then he should resign, being a referee is not for him, he should be unbiased, even if a driver told him to .... off he still has to be unbiased. IMHO Charlie is a liability to F1, not because of his attitude towards Vettel but in general
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I think that he had a point and I'm grateful that there is someone out there willing to speak his mind, we often complain about how fake F1 drivers come across and when a driver is honest and upfront we don't like him. What do you think that someone like Alan Jones or James Hunt let alone any driver of the 60s would have told charlie in such a case? I think that they would have been much more direct than Vettel, they might have punched Charlie in the face, and Charlie would have fully deserved such treatment.

On top of that if Charlie cannot take criticism then he should resign, being a referee is not for him, he should be unbiased, even if a driver told him to .... off he still has to be unbiased. IMHO Charlie is a liability to F1, not because of his attitude towards Vettel but in general
Well, I think it was a mistake. If he had an issue, it should have been brought later in private directly with Charlie Whiting. It is one thing to speak your mine....it is another thing to publically embarrass and shame someone.

Traffic is a fact of life in racing. It does appear like some drivers are expecting it to magically part like the Red Sea every time they encounter it. Cursing out Charlie Whiting in public over this was extremely inappropriate in my book.
 
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Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Here is the entire incident again:

Wikipedia discussion:

Both Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel were stripped of third place podium finishes when penalised post-race. Verstappen crossed the finish line in third, followed 0.99 seconds later by Vettel, himself followed 3.55 seconds later by Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Before the trophy presentation, Verstappen was penalised five seconds for cutting a race corner and unfairly maintaining his narrow lead over Vettel on lap 68. While Vettel attended the podium ceremony as the revised third-place finisher, he was soon given a ten-second penalty for driving dangerously on lap 69, for moving under braking to block Ricciardo as he attempted a pass, under new rules introduced at the United States Grand Prix the previous week. This meant that Ricciardo was promoted to third which also sealed third place in the championship for him, while Verstappen was relegated from third to fourth and Vettel was moved from fourth to third to fifth once the stewards had reviewed all incidents.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I dunno. Hamilton and Alonso give him a run for his money.

Oh and Grosjean blaming everything under the sun on Ericsson is probably hard to beat.

Oh and Lance Stroll sulking at Monaco.

Oh and Perez wanting Sainz hung drawn and quartered at Canada.

Hmmm....seems to be a common theme in F1 drivers.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I dunno. Hamilton and Alonso give him a run for his money.

Oh and Grosjean blaming everything under the sun on Ericsson is probably hard to beat.

Oh and Lance Stroll sulking at Monaco.

Oh and Perez wanting Sainz hung drawn and quartered at Canada.

Hmmm....seems to be a common theme in F1 drivers.

There is a lot of whining. Not sure how we reached this point. Was it always this way and we just have radios now, or has it become this way?
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Have any of you been foolish enough to watch reality TV programmes like Big Brother, X Factor, I'm a Celebrity or Top Model? You have villains, you have good guys & gals, you have those who don't contribute, you have those who look foolish, you have those who appear clever.

Do you know how we come to these opinions about those involved in these shows? It's how the producers edit the content and then present it to us. Someone who is a perfectly reasonable, genuine person can be presented as a deviant, humourless or a scoundrel simply by picking the right quote or sound bite, editing it into a situation where is doesn't fit or taking it completely out of context.

This is exactly what FOM do with most of the radio messages which we are permitted to hear during a GP. The volume of communication between the drivers and the pit wall must be huge but we get, perhaps, 20 clips throughout the race. These are supposed to give us an insight in to the thoughts, manner and personality of the drivers? In a situation where they are under maximum pressure both physically and emotionally.

If you enjoy being manipulated by TV producers and editors please feel free to take these all at face value. Me? I'll continue to take them with a pinch of salt the size of Wales.
 
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