French Grand Prix: At Le Castellet Paul Ricard circuit, Mercedes look to match their 2016 run of 10 consecutive race wins

Mercedes have won the last nine races in Formula One with Lewis Hamilton winning seven and Valtteri Bottas crossing the chequered flag first in two.

Reuters June 19, 2019 15:53:35 IST
French Grand Prix: At Le Castellet Paul Ricard circuit, Mercedes look to match their 2016 run of 10 consecutive race wins
  • Mercedes are set to match their 2016 run of 10 successive wins and Ferrari’s 2002 sequence of success

  • Only McLaren, with 11 in a row in a near-perfect 1988 season with champions Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, have strung together a better run in the modern era

  • Hamilton, on 78 career wins and edging ever closer to Michael Schumacher’s record 91, made a rare mistake in Canada when he hit the wall in practice

Formula One champions Mercedes can stretch their unbeaten run into double figures in France on Sunday while rivals Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel still chafe at being denied victory in Canada two weeks ago.

Lewis Hamilton, winner last year at Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit from pole position, has won five races this season while Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas has taken the other two.

French Grand Prix At Le Castellet Paul Ricard circuit Mercedes look to match their 2016 run of 10 consecutive race wins

Mercedes have a staggering 123 point lead in the Constructors Championships courtesy dominance by drivers Lewis Hamilton (L) and Valtteri Bottas (R). (AFP)

Add in Hamilton’s two victories at the end of last year, after winning his fifth championship, and Mercedes are set to match their 2016 run of 10 successive wins and Ferrari’s 2002 sequence of success.

Only McLaren, with 11 in a row in a near-perfect 1988 season with champions Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, have strung together a better run in the modern era.

It nearly ended in Montreal, however, with Vettel on pole and finishing first before a five second penalty for running off and rejoining in an unsafe manner demoted the German to second behind Hamilton.

Ferrari have sought a review of the stewards’ decision, apparently promising a new element that could yet provide a twist.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saw Canada as a wake-up call regardless, not least because of reliability problems the team battled right up to the start.

“We expect another tough fight in France... the circuit features some similarities to Montreal and the long straights will present a challenge for us,” said the Austrian.

“However, unlike Canada, the corner characteristics are spread across a range of speeds, which should play to our advantage. We’re looking forward to the chance to put a few things right again.”

Hamilton, on 78 career wins and edging ever closer to Michael Schumacher’s record 91, made a rare mistake in Canada when he hit the wall in Friday practice.

“I’ll come back stronger at the next race and hope not to make mistakes on the Friday,” said the Briton, now 29 points clear of Bottas and 62 ahead of Vettel, after a race dominated by the Ferrari controversy.

With huge run-off areas, Le Castellet should be more comfortable.

Montreal was the second race this season that Ferrari should have won, with Charles Leclerc on pole in Bahrain but denied victory by a late engine problem, but they will not be favourites in France.

“We will have a few small evolutions,” said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto.

“What we will be bringing won’t be the solution to our problems, but the technical feedback we get from these evolutions will be important for the next steps we take.

“Paul Ricard has been a tricky circuit for us last year and we know that this kind of track isn’t particularly favourable for our package, but nothing is impossible.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was second in France last year, after Vettel and Bottas collided at the start with the German also then handed a five second penalty, before winning in Austria when both Mercedes drivers retired.

France, back last year after a decade off the calendar, is again a double-header with Spielberg and the Dutchman can again hope to shine in what is also a home race for team mate Pierre Gasly.

“I feel comfortable in the car so I hope we will be able to challenge the frontrunners more closely,” said Verstappen.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Formula 1 2020: Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher's F1 win record at Sochi
Sports

Formula 1 2020: Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher's F1 win record at Sochi

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Michael Schumacher on 91 career wins, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

FIA investigating Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton for Breonna Taylor t-shirt at Tuscan Grand Prix, says report
Sports

FIA investigating Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton for Breonna Taylor t-shirt at Tuscan Grand Prix, says report

Lewis Hamilton, who won the Tuscan GP, wore a t-shirt bearing a message that said "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" before and after the race, during an anti-racism ceremony and television interviews.

Formula 1 2020: Contract talks between Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton still 'a work in progress', says Toto Wolff
Sports

Formula 1 2020: Contract talks between Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton still 'a work in progress', says Toto Wolff

Hamilton had said in July that he expected it to be a relatively straightforward process and "not a big effort" and he had no desire to move to another team.