2021 France Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Could it be? That Red Bull really does now have the best car on the majority of tracks? Or, did the tire pressuse mandatory changes play into Red Bull's favor? And what about the whole bendy wing saga? Everything was still legal after the new tests.
EVENT: Fans. In Europe. Fans. Fantastic.
TRACK: The track everybody loves to hate.
QUALIFYING: Verstappen carries his FP3 momentum to pole, Bottas redeems himself, Perez remains close enough for Sunday, Sainz continues to show he was a correct choice for Ferrari, Ocon losses speed, and Mick and Yuki crash ... again.
RACE: As expected, Paul Ricard did not offer the type of on track action from previous races. However, watching the intriguing strategy play out between the leaders kept your attention.
START: It was looking good for the front row until Verstappen pulled a Hamilton, everyone else remains steady, Alonso gets fiesty, Norris drops, and Stroll marches forward.
RED BULL: Their strategists learned a lot from Mercedes at Spain. This time, they turned the tables and outsmarted the Silver Arrows.
VERSTAPPEN: Though Max had to be calmed down at times, he executed the strategy perfectly.
PEREZ: Sergio's tire management allowed his team to split their strategy to a double podium finish.
MERCEDES: Asleep at the switch. Twice.
HAMILTON: Pretty calm for a guy who lost a race he probably expected to win when he arrived in France.
BOTTAS: Valtteri called the proper strategy. His team didn't listen.
MCLAREN: In the constructor's fight for third place, McLaren turned a disappointing Saturday into a fantastic Sunday.
FERRARI: While after a decent qualifying, Ferrari disappeared on Sunday.
GASLY: Yet again, a fine performance for Pierre, despite a bit of a sloppy race for the Frenchman.
ALONSO: Definitely getting back into the groove.
VETTEL: Yet again, Sebastian came alive in the race.
STROLL: Another solid comeback.
RUSSELL: Like George said, a great race unrewarded because of no attrition.
TSUNODA: Nice comeback after starting from the pit lane.
OCON: The Renault contract extension was the only good thing for Esteban this weekend.
FIA: Once again, a driver "makes out" by causing a red flag in qualifying to his benefit. This time it was Mick Schumacher who made it past Q1 for the first time thanks to crashing, causing two other drivers to abort obviously faster laps. For the love of the sport FIA, penalize these drivers by taking away their fastest lap.
F3: Australian Jack Doohan took the feature race in difficult wet to drying conditions while championship leader, Norwegian Dennis Hauger, came in second, extending his points lead to six. Meanwhile, the younger Leclerc, Arthur, won the second sprint race.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Undercut.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 3 -- Consecutive number of Red Bull wins, first time in the turbo-hybrid era.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: As Sergio Perez took another podium with Red Bull, it also marked the anniversary of the last podium for fellow countryman Pedro Rodriguez on June 20, 1971. Rodriguez started and finished second in a BRM as only he and winner Jacky Ickx completed all 70 laps at the Dutch GP in Zandvoort. The following race would be his last in F1 which happened to be at Paul Ricard as he crashed out of the French GP. After that, Rodriguez was killed in a sports car race at the Norisring.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: We don't know why Haas tweeted this, other than perhaps nobody likes Toto Wolff. After it was apparent Mercedes was going to lose the race, Haas tweeted, "*cuts to Toto in garage*" as the cameras showed a despondent Wolff.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: The Finn went full blown English cussing as Valtteri Bottas screamed over the radio after the race, "Why didn't you listen when I said we needed to be on a two-stopper? Bloody hell!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: When a reporter stated during a post race interview it feels like we got the old DR back, Daniel Ricciardo said, "I never left. I just moved aside for a little while."
SCHEDULE: Two in a row at Red Bullring.
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