2018 France Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: And now Mercedes is back in the dominant position. No surprise. But, it would be nice if both Ferrari and Mercedes hit their peaks at the same time.
TRACK: Lines that hypnotize you. Seemingly 50,000 different possible configurations so you never could figure out when the cars were going to turn. No features to ground you. For a TV viewer, it was terrible.
EVENT: Great that the French GP is back. And great they got a super crowd. But, how long did they have to plan this and they still were caught off guard with traffic control, causing an absolute nightmare for the fans? They made attending Silverstone a walk in the park.
QUALIFYING: Mercedes unsurprisingly is back on top, Grosjean unsurprisingly throws it away, Raikkonen unsurprisingly makes mistakes on the crucial hot laps, McLaren unsurprisingly stinks up the joint, and Williams unsurprisingly does nothing.
RACE: Even disregarding Vettel and Bottas' run through the field from the back, there was a lot more passing, mainly among the midfielders, than anyone expected.
START: Vettel screws up another start, all three Frenchmen go banging into each other eliminating two, as apparently having a ton of room makes drivers go more crazy than tight confines like Monaco.
HAMILTON: What is there to say? Give Lewis a fast car combined with when he is on, and no one touches him.
BOTTAS: Unfortunately, someone did touch Valtteri, sending him into catch up mode.
MERCEDES: A fantastic upgrade to their engine. Don't they get one more opportunity for an upgrade...?
VERSTAPPEN: So now Max is all huffy, puffy because people won't criticize Vettel as much as him. Hey Max, when you win four world championships and stop living in a glass house, then we'll listen to your complaints about unfair treatment.
RICCIARDO: Even if Daniel didn't suffer wing damage dropping him to fifth, he probably would not have gotten by his teammate. Though, it would have been fun to watch him try...
RED BULL: To Honda they go. 2019 will be very interesting.
RAIKKONEN: Once again, when Kimi is on the verge of seemingly being replaced, he starts turning it on. This script is getting old.
VETTEL: And Sebastian cracking under pressure at the start is also a script which is getting old.
FERRARI: Now, it's their turn to have their work cut out for them.
MAGNUSSEN: Kevin is the star for Haas.
GROSJEAN: Talk about tired, old scripts. Romain looks great in practice. Makes a mistake in qualifying putting him behind the eight ball. Makes another dumb ass mistake at the start, putting him behind another eight ball. And in the end, he still has zero points on the season.
HAAS: They have got to be so frustrated this year. They managed to move ahead of Toro Rosso, but just think how high they should be if they hadn't thrown away a gazillion points.
SAINZ: Even with an engine problem at the end, he still beat his teammate.
RENAULT: No more Red Bull tirades to deal with. Now they can just focus on their factory ... oh, and McLaren, if they are still considered an F1 team.
LECLERC: First, an amazing qualifying run. Then, a very strong race for another rare Sauber point. Come on Ferrari, stop with this 'we don't take young drivers' shtick and promote Charles next year.
ERICSSON: His practice crash was like a blast from the not so great past -- car erupts in flames upon impact, driver does not get out right away, and marshals take a while to get the fire extinguishers there.
HARTLEY: Safe for this season. But Brendon is probably wise to start looking for a 2019 driving contract in another series.
FORCE INDIA: It's been a long time since this team had a double DNF. More importantly, who is going to own this team?
MCLAREN: How much worse can it get? They are past the beyond dismal state.
STROLL: Stretching a tire that far, especially one with a thinner carcass to begin with, just wasn't going to work.
BRUNDLE: Martin went from the most cringe worthy grid walk at Montreal in the history of the sport to a completely blah one. He doesn't hold a candle to Will Buxton or before that James Allen.
LE MANS: Yes, winning Le Mans under any circumstance is a feat to be proud of and Fernando Alonso did drive a brilliant night stint. But come on Alonso, your greatest victory ever? As long as the car didn't break, where was the competition?
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Hypnotize.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 23 -- The number of different countries Lewis Hamilton has won in. A record. He has also won at 26 different tracks, also a record.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: England may be the spiritual home of Formula 1, but France is the birthplace of the Grand Prix. The 1906 Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France started it all. It was run on public roads in Le Mans and surrounding towns over a 64.11-mile course. It ran for two days, with six laps completed each day. The total race time was over 12 hours. British and American manufacturers boycotted the race fearing it was nothing more than a French propaganda event. France did indeed win when Renault took first with Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz. FIAT (Felice Nazzaro driving) took second followed by another French manufacturer, Clément-Bayard (Albert Clément). Only 11 of the 32 cars finished.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: It's refreshing to see a driver be honest and admit fault as Vettel did of the first lap incident, "It was my fault."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Alonso can spin things all he wants when he's out of the car, but when he's in it, the truth comes out when he responded to information from his engineer, "Mate we have no brakes, we have no tires, we're out of the points... I try to do whatever but I don't care too much."
SCHEDULE: From one hard to get to track to another.
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