4:36 p.m .: Max Verstappen takes a further lead in the championship with this easy victory offered by Charles Leclerc and his crash even before halfway through the race. We still saw far too many errors on the part of Ferrari. Very good work from Mercedes which manages to put two cars on the podium, a first this year after the difficulties at the start of the season. Good performance from Alpine, too, with Alonso 6th and Ocon 8th, enough to take 4th place from the manufacturers to McLaren. I’m going to the podium and will post a video a little later to debrief this weekend. Thank you all for spending part of the afternoon with us.
Round 53: Victory for Max Verstappen ahead of Hamilton and Russell!
Lap 53: Last lap for Verstappen, quietly in the lead with a 10′ lead over Hamilton!
Lap 52: Alpine advantage against McLaren, with 6th place for Alonso and 8th for Ocon, sandwiched between the two orange cars.
Lap 51: It’s going to be hot until the end between Russell and Perez!
Lap 51: End of the virtual Safety Car and George Russell took the opportunity to overtake Perez, surprised by the recovery. Big hit from the Mercedes driver!
Lap 50: It’s a virtual Safety Car which should benefit Perez and Russell.
Lap 49: Yellow flag, Zhou is stopped on the bottom side of the track!
Lap 49: The battle between Perez and Russel slows down both riders, Sainz could come back even if it seems complicated!
Lap 47: Sainz has just passed Alonso 5th, but he is now 22′ behind Russell. He has 6 laps left to come back to the Briton.
Lap 45: Fastest lap on track for Sainz, already up to 7th place.
Lap 44: Russell continues to pressure Perez to set up two Mercedes on the podium.
Lap 43: And Sainz returns to the pits to change his tyres. He comes out 9th, behind Ocon.
Lap 43: Shock between Russel and Perez who took advantage of Sainz’s overtaking to come back to the Mexican!
Lap 42: Carlos Sainz’s engineer who asks him to pit when he makes a magnificent overtaking on Perez. It’s a sketch at Ferrari!
Tour 42: Charles Leclerc’s reaction to the Canal + microphone: “It’s a mistake, so here it is. I’ll check the data to be sure. No, I haven’t calmed down. We will do the accounts at the end of the season, but if we miss 25 or 30 I could only blame myself. The level is very high, but two mistakes at Imola and here that’s a lot”.
Lap 39: Sainz is now glued to the exhausts of Perez. And Ferrari who still asks for the Spaniard’s opinion on a possible plan B…
Tour 37: Gasly gives everything to get into the points, and make up for his mistake, overtaking Magnussen. He is 13th. The Haas have no pace at all in the race unlike in qualifying.
Lap 36: Alonso who also allowed Ocon to come back to Ricciardo and Norris, what a genius. McLaren and Alpine are tied in the Constructors’ World Championship with 81 points.
Lap 35: And Sainz who comes back like a bullet on Perez with his medium tires…
Lap 32: Small fright for Hamilton who manages to straighten his single-seater in the S of the glass factory.
Lap 31: Error by Pierre Gasly in his attempt to overtake Albon, the Norman slips to 15th place. Weekend to forget!
Round 30: And Carlos Sainz doubles Russell from the outside in Signs! Nice maneuver!
Lap 28: Alonso who lets the two McLarens come back on him to make them “eat their rubbers”. We love.
Lap 27: Sainz is swooping down on Russel, the Spaniard should easily overtake him. To see the consequences of the penalty…
Lap 26: Sainz takes over his engineer who announces a stop and go as a penalty. “No, it’s a 5-second penalty,” the driver explains to him… There are always so many approximations at Ferrari, it’s incredible!
Lap 25: On the side of the race leader, Verstappen has a comfortable gap on Hamilton with almost 3′, on the other hand Perez is let go by the Briton and caught up by Russel!
Lap 24: Schumacher spins after colliding with Zhou, who lost his car.
Lap 23: Tsunoda retires after colliding with Ocon. And head to tail without consequence of Mick Schumacher.
Round 22: And Sainz makes short work of Alonso! He is 5th!
Lap 21: End of the safety car, Verstappen now leads this Grand Prix, followed by Hamilton, who is competing in his 300th race, and Perez. Russel is still behind the Mexican while Sainz is already 6th!
Lap 20: “Nooooooooooo”, exclaimed Charles Leclerc on his radio. Terrible mistake for the Monegasque but his tires seemed to be in agony… Ferrari’s new fault?
Lap 19: Everyone takes the opportunity to go to the pits and Sainz was not far from the disaster he brushed an Alpine when coming out! Beware Ferrari!
Lap 18: Leclerc crashes and the safety car is deployed. It’s terrible for the Monegasque!
Round 18: RedBull asks Verstappen to push: “Push, push”
Lap 17: Passage of Verstappen to the pits to put on hard tires. He comes out 7th. Fear of the undercut for Ferrari!
Lap 15: Ocon is 8th at 4′ from Norris, but still has to stop for an additional 5 seconds on his next pit stop. Gasly is 14th, 4′ from Albon.
Round 14: Sainz has already moved up to 10th place on his hard tyres. Ferrari hopes for a top 6, which should be achievable for the Spaniard.
Lap 13: It’s George Russell’s turn to come back on Perez visibly in difficulty on this Paul Ricard circuit. He is only 1′ from the Mexican.
Lap 12: Leclerc’s engineer offers him plan B, asking his opinion. Pirelli is counting on a stop between the 13th and 20th lap for the mediums, we will see what Ferrari does.
Lap 11: The gap is more around the second now between Leclerc and Verstappen for the lead, Perez is almost 3 ‘from Hamilton.
Round 10: The RedBulls do not catch up with their opponents, the rubbers of Verstappen and especially Perez seem to be suffering behind Leclerc and Hamilton!
Lap 7: The single-seaters of Leclerc and a little more for Verstappen, seem to be slipping a lot. The tires are expensive in this battle.
Round 6: And Verstappen on Charles Leclerc now that the DRS is authorized! The reigning world champion oscillates between 3 and 7 tenths behind the Ferrari. Unsuccessful overtaking attempt by the outside in the Bosset!
Round 5: Perez puts pressure on Hamilton to recover 3rd place!
Round 5: Note that only Sainz, now 14th, Gasly, 16th, and Bottas, 17th, started with hard tires.
Round 4: Penalty of 5 seconds for Ocon after his collision, it’s not the weekend of the French!
Round 3: Verstappen is in the DRS zone of Leclerc, less than a second away when Hamilton is already relegated to more than 4 ‘.
Lap 2: Tsunoda spun after colliding with Ocon. The Frenchman is 9th, but watch out for possible damage…
Round 2: Sainz has only gained one place, he is 18th, unlike Magnussen who is already 13th!
Round 1: Head to tail of Yuki Tsunoda who tumbles to last place after his good qualification!
Round 1: Good start for the first two, Leclerc and Verstappen, Hamilton does the right thing and takes Perez’s place!
2:53 p.m. : I’m going to watch the start from the windows of the press room, see you right away.
2:45 p.m. : Take advantage of this Grand Prix de France which could be the last for a while since the contract with the Paul Ricard circuit comes to an end this year. The spectators answered present, the stands are full to bursting with many French flags and an atmosphere of madness when the Marseillaise resounds!
2:43 p.m. : Come on, we left to follow this GP of France together. The drivers are on the grid, and we are in the starting blocks in the Paul Ricard circuit press room.
The strategy will be very important on this Paul Ricard track which displays 50.1 degrees on the ground, and which will have a major impact on tire degradation. If a one-stop strategy seems most effective in normal times, many teams should opt for a second stop. But the pit lane lost almost 30 seconds per pit-stop. On the French side, we hope for a comeback from Esteban Ocon, who will start from 10th place on the grid and especially from Pierre Gasly, extremely disappointed after qualifying on Saturday, who will start in 14th.
» See you around 2:45 p.m. to follow this French Grand Prix live with us