It’s been 10 long years without a Grand Prix event for French Formula 1 fans, but finally the wait is over as the French Grand Prix returns to the famous Circuit Paul Ricard this weekend for the eighth race of the 2018 season. We take a look at some of the contenders for the French Grand Prix and give our betting tips below.
After a thrilling race in Canada two weeks ago that saw Sebastian Vettel win his third race of the year, the German took top spot in the 2018 drivers championship ahead of rival Lewis Hamilton by just one point. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was fantastic in Canada, claiming second place and moving to third in the driver’s championship while Aussie Daniel Ricciardo is currently in fourth place in the championship.
The French Grand Prix was last run in 2008, when Ferrari driver Felipe Massa took out the race at the Magny-Cours Circuit. The race was held at the Magny-Cours circuit for 18 years dating all the way back to 1991. In that span, German Michael Schumacher picked up a record 8 French Grand Prix’ titles, while veterans Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will be the only drivers racing this year that have competed in a French GP before.
However, the pair have never competed at the Circuit Paul Ricard, which will be the venue for this weekend’s event. The circuit last held the French Grand Prix in 1990, when famous hometown hero Alain Prost secured his 3rd title in a row and his fifth of six total French Grand Prix trophies.
The Mercedes team will be full of confidence after a tough weekend in Canada two weeks ago. With the limited engine changes that teams are allowed to make in 2018, most manufacturers slated the Canadian GP as their first point of the season for an engine change. However, Mercedes held off for an extra week and should be coming into the French GP with a brand new engine.
This should excite Lewis Hamilton, who was a little disappointing in Canada, finishing fifth behind Vettel, Bottas, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. None of the drivers have raced the Paul Ricard Circuit before, so it’s hard to get a read on form, but with a new engine Lewis Hamilton should be extremely tough to beat here. Hamilton and Vettel start as equal favourites but we are leaning more towards the Englishman here, who will be desperate to bounce back from a disappointing event in Canada.
We tipped Fernando Alonso to perform in his 300th Grand Prix in Canada a few weeks ago but unfortunately McLaren just aren’t performing for him at the moment, as he has retired from his last two races in a row.
Alonso is now contemplating his career in Formula 1 after a win in the 24-Hour Le Mans race in the off weekend last week gave him a real shot at the coveted motor racing triple crown, which is to win a F1 Drivers Championship, the Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. Alsonso could become just the 2nd winner of the motor racing triple crown behind Brittish driver Graham Hill.
The McLaren team has been struggling mightily to produce a decent car for Alonso in recent weeks, and with his potential lack of interest starting to creep in, we think another McLaren retirement could be a value bet here.
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