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23 | 06 | 2019 GP Frankreich / GP France Le Castellet – Scuderia Ferrari comes away from the French Grand Prix with a third place courtesy of Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque driver finishing right behind Valtteri Bottas and a fifth place from Sebastian Vettel, who thus finished two places higher than he started, following a difficult qualifying on Saturday. The German also set the fastest race lap, which is a new lap record.

Start. When the five red lights went out, Charles went wheel to wheel with Max Verstappen, getting the better of the Dutchman before closing in on Hamilton and Bottas. Sebastian hung on to seventh place, keeping out of trouble which is often a factor in the middle of the pack.

Overtaking. In the opening laps, Leclerc managed to pull away from Verstappen, while a bit further back, Vettel thrilled the French crowd with a handful of spectacular passing moves. He stuck to the McLaren of Lando Norris, getting by on lap 5. At this point he set his sights on the other orange car, that of Carlos Sainz. The German closed up to him on lap 6 and passed him to go fifth on the following lap.

Pitstop. Both men started on the Medium tyres and Charles was the first to stop on lap 21, taking on the Hard tyres, rejoining fourth behind Vettel. The German came in a few laps later, the aim was for him to have fresher rubber at the end of the race so that he could profit from any drop off in performance from the Dutchman rival. Sebastian rejoined fifth on lap 26, just over six seconds behind Verstappen.

Tyre management. At this point, for both drivers the main task became tyre management, as there was a risk of degradation because of the high track temperature. Charles made a very good job of this so that, towards the end, he was able to close right up on Bottas, sitting on his tail for the final lap and tried to get alongside him a couple of times, although a pass was never really on the cards.

Fastest lap. Sebastian also managed his tyres well, but he couldn’t really close the gap to Verstappen. So on lap 51, the team brought him in for a set of Soft tyres and he went off in pursuit of the race fastest lap. The German took the chequered flag in fifth place having achieved that goal with a time of 1’32”740, which was also a new lap record. This was Charles’ third F1 podium following on from those in Bahrain and Canada. The World Championship resumes in only a few days with next Sunday’s Austrian GP at the Spielberg circuit.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“I had a pretty lonely race, apart from a bit of confusion at the start, given that the timing of the lights going out caught us a bit by surprise. It was fun fighting with the McLarens, first Norris then Carlos. The first stint went pretty well and that meant I could close the gap to Charles and Max. Then in the second one, I had a few more balance problems and I didn’t feel totally comfortable with the car.
I think today’s fifth place was the most we could have done, given that Charles, Max and me were all running at pretty much the same pace. At least getting the fastest race lap means I get an extra point.
We still need to understand why Friday was so complicated with some of the parts we brought here not working as we had hoped. Our car is not yet strong enough and it’s down to us to improve. We still don’t have the pace to beat Mercedes, but I know that everyone at Maranello is working with so much positive pressure – and passion.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

22 | 06 | 2019 GP Frankreich / GP France Le Castellet – Scuderia Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will start the 60th French Grand Prix from the third and seventh places on the grid respectively. The race gets underway at the Le Castellet circuit at 15.10 CET tomorrow.

Q1. Both drivers made the cut to Q2 without any problems, running the Soft tyres. Charles did a 1’31”441 on his first run, improving to 1’30”647. Sebastian’s first flying lap produced a 1’31”846 and he improved to 1’31”075

Q2. The Scuderia Ferrari duo then let the tyres cool down before setting off again to post laps of 1’29”934 and 1’30”128 respectively. At this point, getting to Q3 was not a foregone conclusion, so to make sure and to allow the drivers to start the race on less worn tyres, both SF90s were sent back out on track with new Medium tyres. Sebastian posted a 1’29”506 and Charles did a 1’29”699.

Q3. In the final top ten shoot-out, Charles and Sebastian once again ran the Softs, but while the Monegasque driver did a 1’29”015, the German lost time and decided to abort his run, pitting for fresh tyres. Leclerc did a second run on new Softs, getting down to 1’28”965 to secure third spot on the grid, behind pole man Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. On his only attempt at taking pole position, Sebastian did a 1’29”799, which puts him in seventh place.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“It was a bit of a funny session, as I didn’t get a consistent feel for the car and didn’t extract the maximum out of it, so I can’t be happy with that. On the last lap I just didn’t have the same feeling as during other parts of the session and that’s why we didn’t qualify where we should be. The car was better than where we ended up.
On the other hand, I am looking forward to tomorrow. It will be difficult to manage the tyres, but in the race, usually things settle down so it’s much more straightforward and should be more consistent, so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

  Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

21 | 06 | 2019 GP Frankreich / GP France It was a very busy free practice Friday for Scuderia Ferrari in preparation for the French Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel worked on evaluating various updates brought to the Le Castellet circuit, as well as getting on with the usual qualifying and race preparation.

FP1. In the first session, the two SF90s took to the track for a few laps before pitting to have fitted some new components introduced for the French race. Charles and Sebastian then returned on track running just the Soft tyres, doing 21 and 22 laps respectively. The man from Monaco had a best lap of 1.33.111, which put him third, while the German was fifth in 1’33”790.

FP2. At the start of the afternoon session, Sebastian went out first on Medium then on Soft tyres while Charles ran the Medium compound. Both men then did some low fuel runs during which they set their fastest lap times. The number 16 SF90 stopped the clocks in 1.31.586, while in car number 5, Sebastian did a 1.31.665. In the second half of the session they also did some high fuel load runs to simulate some sections of the race, while assessing the behaviour of the car and tyres when track temperatures were in excess of 50 degrees.

Programme. The final free practice session starts at noon tomorrow, while qualifying gets underway at 3 pm. The 60th French Grand Prix begins on Sunday at 15.10.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“I would say we have a lot of work ahead of us since not all the new parts we have here performed exactly as expected. I think we have a lot of data to analyze overnight, to possibly have a bit better performance tomorrow. On the Canada matter I would say we felt that we didn’t share the opinion of the stewards during the race in Canada and we thought that we could bring something new. It is disappointing that the matter is not going any further but that is what we have now and so we have to move on.”

  Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

20 | 06 | 2019 GP Frankreich / GP France The 60th French Grand Prix to count towards the Formula 1 World Championship takes place this weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit near the commune of Le Castellet in the south of France. It is the eighth round of this season and the 16th time the circuit has hosted the race. The French Grand Prix dates back to the earliest days of motorsport and the very first Grand Prix motor race was the 1906 French Grand Prix. The name of the race, “Grand Prix” translating as “Big Prize” proved to be true as the winner was presented with 45,000 Francs, equal to approximately 13 kilos of gold. This race has been held at seven different venues and Scuderia Ferrari has won it 17 times.

Reims and Rouen. In 1950, the first year of the world championship, the French round was held at Reims, but the Scuderia’s first win came when the race had moved to Rouen in 1952. Alberto Ascari did the honours at the wheel of a 500. The following year, the Maranello marque duly won at Reims, with Englishman Mike Hawthorn taking his first win. There were four more victories at Reims, Peter Collins (1956), Hawthorn again (1958), Tony Brooks (1960) and Giancarlo Baghetti who amazingly took an incredible win in the 156F1 on his debut in the category in 1961. The very last win for Ferrari at this track came in 1968, courtesy of Jacky Ickx.

Le Castellet. The Paul Ricard circuit first hosted the French Grand Prix in 1971, but Scuderia Ferrari had to wait for its first victory in the hills of the Var region until 1975, when Niki Lauda did the honours. Today, the track offers no fewer than 167 different configurations. Its most famous feature is the very long Mistral straight and the extremely high speed and challenging Signes corner: in the old days, journalists would spectate from there to listen out and decide which drivers were taking it flat out.

In 1990. Scuderia Ferrari’s second win at Le Castellet came in 1990, with Alain Prost giving the Maranello team its one hundredth Formula 1 victory. The French Grand Prix had been absent from the calendar since 2008, when it returned at Le Castellet last year.

At Magny-Cours. From 1991, the race moved from the south coast to the very centre of the country, at Magny-Cours. Scuderia Ferrari had a great track record here starting in 1997: Michael Schumacher took six wins in ten years (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2006). The team also won the following two years, in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen and in 2008 with Felipe Massa.

Timetable. The cars will take to the Paul Ricard circuit for the first time on Friday at 11 o’clock for the first free practice session, with the second one scheduled for 3pm. The final hour of preparation comes on Saturday at noon, while qualifying gets underway at 3pm. The French Grand Prix starts at 3.10om on Sunday 23 June.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“Last year’s French Grand Prix was our first at the Circuit Paul Ricard for many years, so returning this year we have more data to work with. The circuit has long straights and low-speed corners, although there is a wider range of corner speeds there. Most of the corners have been resurfaced since last year.
We have a one step harder tyre selection than in Montreal and it is likely to be another one-stop race. The weather can be unpredictable here and is often very hot and windy.
Last year our race was compromised by the first lap incident but I think our car can have the pace to do quite well there.”

  Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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