French Grand Prix Ferrari ‘no cigar’

The FIA decided there was no new fresh evidence to overturn Vettel’s Canadian race penalty. Noteworthy is the footage showing how Hamilton was forced wide on Vettel’s return to the circuit once he left the grass.

Balance and grip is a massive concern for the W10 Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas as Hamilton took out a plastic track corner bollard forcing Verstappen to run wide.

Ferrari are using a new front wing, Grosjean in front of his home crowd had a water leak in FP2 forcing him to watch the session from the team pit wall, then damaging his tyres in FP2 under intense French heat. Not a good day for Romain.

Saturday will reveal the changes overnight to various teams as they prepare for FP3 and Qualifying.

In FP3 this circuit may highlight the centre of gravity as the teams with grip improving with more rubber down. Renault power appears to be at it’s best with the customer team McLaren more than their own factory Renault crew.

In Q2 as qualifying took place Raikkonen’s Alfa failed to get into Q3. Renault’s Hulkenberg lost his last lap and finished 13th for his grid start tomorrow. Williams remain at the bottom of Q2 as did Romain Grosjean who struggled with pace, “it’s on the edge, the front is not good nor the rear of my car”. Lance Stroll lacked grip placed 18th on the grid.

The medium Pirelli looks to be the main tyre for tomorrow’s race as most of the drivers are gaining time each lap as they appear to handle the heat well.

SOFT

The softest of the available compound, this is also the mandatory for Q3 tyre compound – competitors reaching qualifying’s final shootout receive one set of this compound for use in Q3 only for their final attempt to take pole position. Whilst this will be the tyre of choice to achieve maxiumum out-an-out pace on the weekend, endurance is limited and timing a pit-stop to one of the other compound at the optimum point will be key to overall race performance.

MEDIUM

Each weekend this compound will be aim to strike the balance between performance and durability in use. Competitors who can make this tyre work well could end up with a strategic advantage over their rivals by giving themselves greater strategic options through qualifying and race.

HARD

The hardest of the available compounds, therefore likely to be the slowest for outright single lap pace, but the most durable for extra long runs.

Q3 Mercedes were looking quite stiff on track as Valtteri Bottas chased the pole position hoping to lessen the gap to his team mate Lewis Hamilton 1.28.319 who took the new lap record.

Hamilton AMG Mercedes took pole with his team mate Bottas second also on the front row for tomorrow’s race, then Ferrari driver Leclerc, Red Bull Verstappen, McLaren Norris and Sainz, Ferrari Vettel, Renault Ricciardo then Red Bull Gasly with Alfa Giovinazzi 10th.