Formula 1 report Nº 8 – French Grand Prix 2019

Lap record 1m 34.225s held by V. Bottas Mercedes 2018. 

The first French World Championship GP was held in 1950 at the 7.816km Reims-Gueux circuit and after the 64 laps the race was won by J M Fangio driving an Alfa-Romeo 8S in 2h 57m 52.800s with his team mate L Fagoli and P Whitehead in a Ferrari V12s joining him on the podium. This will be the 60th French GP and the 16th to be held at this circuit, with the last being way back in 1990 which was won by A Prost driving a Ferrari V12. 

The last French GP was held at Magny Cours in 2008 and was won by F Massa in a Ferrari V8.  Paul Ricard is renowned for being a high tech test circuit and boasts no less than 167 different layouts, one of which being the current F1 circuit.

This race is the first of the five back to back races of the season. 

Friday morning for FP1 saw it sunny with a temperature of 24.7ºC but very windy. There were a lot of spins & off circuit excursions over the brightly coloured blue & red striped run-off areas mainly caused by the high winds. Ham, Bot, Lec, Ver & Vet were the top five drivers.

FP2 saw Ham go off the circuit and on returning caused Ver to take evasive action. Bot, Ham, Lec, Vet & Nor were the top five drivers.

FP3 was a fairly calm final hour session, but not without some more lock ups and offs. Bot, Ham. Lec, Vet & Ver were the top five. 

Qualifying in the afternoon at 26.2C was bright and sunny, but windy. With the exception of more spins & offs it was a fairly calm 18 minutes until the dying minutes when all the drivers were out to try and improve their positions, Bot, Ham, Lec, Hül & Ric took the top five places.

Q2 was another a fairly calm 15m session. Ver had his first time deleted for exceeding track limits. Out went, Mag, Per, Hül, Räi & Alb. Top five were Bot, Vet, Ham, Lec & Nor.

Q3 was an exciting 12 minutes. Vet had to abort his lap due to a ‘missed upshift’. Ham got his 86th pole position and recorded a new track record. Bot Lec, Ver & Nor made up the top five. Kvy & Rus were given grid penalties after having multiple new PU elements.

The race began in bright sunny conditions with the temperature at 26ºC. Ham got away well with a battle between Bot, Lec & Ver the latter being sandwiched between the McLaren duo which allowed the Briton to build a gap. Another battle went on between Gas, Vet & Ric. Behind them, Per went off the circuit at turn 4 and although returning correctly (to the left of the bollard) still gained 2 places so given a 5 second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. The pit stop mania started on lap 16 which caused a few place changes. Gro ran wide opening the door for Ric, but the Australian went over the line with all 4 wheels off the track. Nor had some problems with his upshift so couldn’t use his DRS. Gro retired yet again for the 4th time this year. Vet made a last hope pit stop for fresh tyres to get the 1 extra point for fastest lap. Ham got his 79th career win and 6th of the season. Bot & Lec joined him on the podium.   

Formula 1 report Nº 9 – 2019

Back in time again to 1989 to round 9 of the championship which was the German GP at Hockenheim. After the 45 laps around the 6.797km circuit totalling 305.865km the race winner was A Senna in a McLaren – Honda V10. 

Lap record 1m 06.957s held by K. Räikkönen 2018.

The first Austrian GP was held in 1964 at Zeltweg with the circuit laid out on the runway of a NATO fighter base situated in the river Mur valley north of Graz.  The new circuit was originally named the Österreichring and hosted its first Formula1 GP in 1970, situated in the wooded Northern Styrian Alps in a natural hillside bowl renowned for its beauty, the circuit had many elevation changes with super-fast sweeping curves making it very much a driver’s circuit. The race was held there until 1987, but not without some minor changes to improve the safety which included the Hella Licht chicane which giving a new length of 5.942km. The Austrian GP was off the calendar until 1997 when it returned as a rebuilt and shortened circuit to 4.323kms and was renamed as the A1 – Ring. The pit lane is shorter than most with the entry just before the final corner and the exit just after turn 1 and has the steepest pit lane exit on the calendar. There are only 10 corners around the circuit which is the least of any F1 circuit. There are 3 DRS zones again with the first between turns 1 & 2 being the longest straight at 790mtrs an uphill drag, the second is between turns 3 & 4 and the third along the start/finish straight.  

Friday morning for FP1 was a warm and sunny at 25.3ºC. Bot missed the first 30 minutes after the team discovered an oil leak on his W10. A lot of drivers ran over the kerbs causing some damage mainly to the front wings. The session was red flagged at the closing stages when Hül left half of his front wing on the circuit. As expected there were lots of lock-ups, spins and offs especially at turn 10. Ham, Vet, Bot, Lec & Ver were the top five runners. 

FP2 in the afternoon was 30.4ºC. Str & Gio ran over the kerbs with more damaged front wings. Session red flagged when Ver went off at turn 10 and crashed into the barrier causing extensive damage to his rear end. Bot crashed into the barrier at T6 and damaged his front end. Lec, Bot, Gas, Ham & Sai were the top five.

The final 1hr session was again bright and sunny. Gas crawled back to the pits with a loss of power. Str went off at turn 10 and Gio had an off at turn 1, after a lot more spins and off circuit excursions. Top five were Lec, Ham, Bot, Vet & Ver.

Qualifying in the afternoon was a fairly calm 18 minute session but for a couple of close encounters first between Ham & Räi then towards the end Kvy had to run very wide at the final corner as he encountered a gaggle of slow moving cars. Both William’s & Racing Point drivers went out   along with Kvy. Top five; Ver, Ham, Bot, Lec & Vet.

Q2 was a fairly smooth 15m session. Vet lost some time with a mechanical problem. Out went both Renault drivers along with Sai, Alb & Gro. Top five were Lec, Vet, Ham, Ver, & Bot.

Q3 was an exciting 12 minutes. Lec got his second career pole position and recorded a new track record. Ham, Ver, Bot & Mag made up the top five. Sai & Alb went to the back of the grid after having multiple power unit parts fitted. Hül was handed a 5 place grid drop for new parts. Mag lost 5 places for an unscheduled gearbox change and Ham & Rus 5 places for impeding other drivers.

The race began with Rus starting from the pit lane after having a new wing fitted overnight. Lec got away well. Ver had a very bad start and was passed by both Mercedes drivers. Räi, Nor & Vet saw Gro lose 5 places & Sai gain 3. Mag pitted early and then Bot & Vet pitted on lap 21, but Ferrari made another blunder by not having the tyres ready and losing 3 seconds during the stop. Ham pitted for a new front wing which took around 8 seconds more. Ver made a ‘do or die’ move on Lec bashing wheels and forcing the Ferrari driver off the circuit and got his 6th victory in F1. Lec & Bot joined him on the podium.