Lewis Hamilton seemed to be on another level as he swept to victory in imperious style at the 2019 French Grand Prix. So dominant was he that he won the race with an 18-second advantage over his teammate, Valtteri Bottas. For his part, Bottas had to fend off a late charge by Charles Leclerc as the Ferrari driver hunted down the Mercedes for second. Bottas narrowly held off Leclerc as Mercedes scored a sixth 1-2 victory out of eight races run thus far. Mercedes has won all of them with Hamilton claiming six victories for himself.
The race was largely processional at the front. However Sebastian Vettel started 7th after a poor qualifying run and could only recover to 5th in the race. Max Verstappen had a relatively untroubled run to 4th. Behind the fifth-place runner was the battle for the best of the rest. The mid-field often makes for the most entertainment.
The McLarens found form at the Paul Ricard Circuit with Norris securing 5th on the grid in qualifying. Teammate Carlos Sainz, one place behind. Lando Norris showed strong race pace and looked destined to finish 6th but his McLaren began to fatigue which forced him to slow. On the final lap, Norris did his best to hold off a train of cars behind him.
Riccardo in the Renault sensed blood and attacked, perhaps a little too over enthusiastically. A number of circuit violations courted a 10-second penalty. Despite overtaking Norris’ slowing McLaren he was pushed down to 11th by the race stewards.
That post race decision by the stewards elevated Sainz into 6th closely followed by the Alfa Romeo of Raikkonen and behind him the Renault of Hulkenberg. Norris had enough time in hand to fend off Pierre Gasly in the Red Bull Honda.
Ahead of all this was Hamilton, he never lost the lead at any point during the race. As for Bottas, the advantage he appeared to enjoy at the start of the season has evaporated. Bottas admitted he tried his best to beat his Hamilton.
At the 2019 French Grand Prix Bottas should have been hounding Hamilton. He didn’t. The Finnish driver is fast enough but is going to have to raise his game to another level otherwise Hamilton will run away with the 2019 drivers championship.
2019 French Grand Prix Race Results:
Note – Vettel scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Ricciardo originally finished seventh but received a five-second post-race time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, plus an identical penalty for failing to rejoin the track safely.