The Formula One season returns to action this weekend, with the French Grand Prix set to take place at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
The French Grand Prix kicks off the first triple-header of the season.
Following a one-week hiatus after the action-packed Azerbaijan GP, which saw four DNF’s including race leader Max Verstappen crashing out in the last few laps and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton brakes failing following the race restart, putting him from first to last in a matter of seconds.
Therefore, neither Hamilton nor Verstappen collected any points, with the gap between the two remaining unchanged as Verstappen holds a four point lead heading to France.
Baku was not Mercedes’ weekend, picking up no points. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez secured victory ,giving Red Bull a 26-point lead in the constructor’s championship over Mercedes.
Mercedes will be hoping for a much more productive weekend in France, and will be expecting a lift from Valtteri Bottas who has been out of form of late, not collecting any points in the past two races.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon will be hoping for a successful weekend at his home race.
The Frenchman will be looking to show that Alpine made the right decision extending him for another three years this week until the end of the 2024 season.
The race for P3 in the constructor’s championship between Ferrari and McLaren will be of interest, with both teams in strong form currently.
Ferrari over the past three races has looked to have turned a corner, and is starting to be strong competitor after a slow start to the season.
On the other hand, McLaren has been consistent all season, led by Lando Norris, the only racer to collect points in all races this season.
Currently Ferrari hold a two point lead over McLaren.
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The race for P5 between Alpha Tauri and Aston Martin will also be of interest, with both teams having strong races in Monaco and Baku.
Alpha Tauri, led by French native Pierre Gasly, has picked up a sixth and third place finish in his last two races. Gasly continues to exceed expectations, currently sitting eighth in the driver standings ahead of the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
For Aston Martin, the big off season signing of Sebastian Vettel is starting to pay off, with the four-time world champion looking like the Vettel of old.
Vettel has been much more aggressive in his past two races, starting eighth to finish fifth in Monaco, and coming from 11th to finish in second on the podium in Baku.
F1 fans will be hoping he keeps up this exciting form for the remainder of the season
Aussie Daniel Ricciardo is looking forward to this upcoming weekend and the upcoming triple-header as an opportunity to get some must needed consistent track time in his McLaren.
“Three back-to-back races can be seen as a challenge, but it’s also a great opportunity to get continuous time in the car and really build on the progress we’ve made so far.” Ricciardo said.
“Being able to consecutively put more miles in over the next three weekends combined with the work we’ve done in the simulator will hopefully get us to a good place and continue to build my confidence in the car.
“Looking forward to racing at Paul Ricard this weekend. It’s a much more conventional and forgiving track than Baku that also comes with slightly fewer risks.”
While Ricciardo has not necessarily been bad this season, he has not been at the lofty standard F1 fans have become accustom to.
Ricciardo has been unable to challenge for a podium spot yet this season, his best finish in sixth. With teammate Lando Norris having such a strong season, the pressure on Ricciardo has intensified.
In his two previous races at Circuit Paul Ricard Ricciardo has finished 11th in 2019 and fourth in 2018.
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