The weekend at Paul Ricard was sunny and hot, with no big surprises. French Grand Prix didn’t pretend to be as spectacular. Overtaking is not about Paul Ricard, but the F1 cars’ bounce and tires’ strategy were first. Even so, we still had a chance to see a wheel-to-wheel battle. The racing fight between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen was the most coveted for F1 fans.
The main heroes of French GP 2022.
The clear pretenders to win at Paul Ricard were Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. For Ferrari, especially for the Monegasque driver, it was vital to gain as many points as possible. Verstappen won three races in a row. Additionally, the entire Red Bull team does not make as many mistakes as the Ferrari team does.
Despite the fact that Mercedes cars weren’t favorable, we already knew that both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were good enough to save the tires.
Saturday’s qualifying session ended up being very positive for both teams, as Charles Leclecr took the pole. Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez shared the pole with a Monegasque.
The hope for some intrigues on French Grand Prix.
This is not by chance that RaceFans considered the French Grand Prix as an outsider, since Paul Ricard is rarely spectacular. The case is in circuit configuration. The track is hard, but still, overtaking here is almost impossible. Therefore, tire strategy came first.
Fernando Alonso noted ahead of the race that “one pit” is the key for success here at Paul Ricard. Although even two-time Formula 1 champions were mistaken, as tire disintegration in racing mode is greatly increased, lap by lap. So, two pit stops’ strategy was the best choice, excluding the free pits due the safety mode.
The dramatic French Grand Prix 2022 for Charles Leclerc.
Knowing that this race would not be spectacular, we had hoped there would be a few surprises. Due to this, the first tension came when Yukio Tsunoda made the pesky mistake and triggered safety mode. However, Alpha Tauri driver still does not have a contract for next
Honestly, we had some thoughts on Scudera Ferrari’s reliability before the race, but both cars were good enough. Thus, there was nothing that could prevent Lelcerc from winning, only he himself.
At Paul Ricard, everything had to end in the same order in which it began. However, Max Verstappen, as he often makes decisions first, immediately went to the pits as tires were depleting. In trying to get as much advantage as possible over Verstappen, Charles Leclerc made a mistake on Lap18. Ferrari’s car was flat out.
His roaring “Nooooo” was so loud, it sounded like a lion’s roar. That was hard to see. Even Max Verstappen asked the team on radio “He is okay?” But Charles didn’t, since it looked like a problem with the car. Few moments later, the problem was clear. In this case, the fault was in the gas pedal, which came from Leclerc as well, but it made no sense since Max Verstappen led the race. Lewis Hamilton took second position.
The main intrigue ended, but the battle for third place heated up.
Verstappen, Hamilton, Perez, Russell. The order in which the French GP 2022 would have ended. If everything was clear between Hamilton and Verstappen, no matter how much Lewis tried to take all the purple spots, third place was still in play.
The leaders had been racing fast for more than twenty laps, but not fast enough to make the step up. Carlos Sainz’s risky attempts were successes, but his tires still needed to be replaced. The situation changed on 49th Lap, when Guanyu Zhou’ made the error and spun out. Virtual safety car’ mode was turned on and George Russell, inspired by his teammate’s provisional second place, focused on the prize – third place.
When in safety mode, every driver knows how crucial it is to keep a safe distance from the car ahead. In addition, you never know when the safety mode will be disabled to push hard. It is very important to stay focused.
George Russell was more successful than Perez. Mercedes driver overtook Red Bull very quickly. After the race, Mexican will have a serious discussion with Russell, since he gave him the podium position very easily. George finished third in the French Grand Prix 2022 and helped bring the team a lot of enjoyment, as he scored 33 points with Lewis Hamilton!
Having previously been fast during the rain, Fernando Alonso entered Alpine’s home race with confidence. Spaniard started seventh and, despite the breakthrough at the start (fifth place) finished French GP 2022 on six position. Esteban Ocon, his teammate, finished eighth in France, scoring points for the team.
The French Grand Prix is an iconic and legendary event. Paul Ricard is a very tough track, where each driver makes mistakes. At the same time, the race is boring for fans. In any case, a difficult track is a terrific opportunity to determine the best driver, as we saw today.