The race is over.
First place: Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari have the chance to avenge their frustrations in Canada as the European season resumes with the French Grand Prix.
Amidst all the controversy of Sebastian Vettel’s penalty last time out, the story should be one of a resurgent Ferrari who now have an excellent opportunity to close the gap in the standings.
Mercedes have won all seven Grands Prix so far.
Part of what makes the French Grand Prix so intriguing is that no driver can claim to be that familiar with the Circuit Paul Ricard, which was out of action for several years.Upon Formula 1’s return in 2018, Hamilton earned a victory that would prove a pivotal moment in the season as it saw him go top of the standings above Vettel. That was a relatively rare instance in recent years of three different teams on the podium, Hamilton having been joined by Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen
The one factor that might derail the world champion is the hot weather that is expected in southern France, with no rain forecast. If anything, Hamilton seems to thrive in wet conditions and has found excessive temperatures off-putting in the past.
Despite its modifications in recent years, Paul Ricard is still a complex track to navigate. Since the change back to over three miles, lap times are longer and the asphalt in the ‘Blue Zone’ is designed to reduce speed and punish any driver who makes a slip-up rounding the corner.
Both Vettel and Charles Leclerc made a measured improvement in Canada and rightly so, because Ferrari’s engine power ought to be give them the upper hand.
There was a genuine sense among Ferrari that Vettel was robbed of victory, though the reality is that for the German, his season has been strewn with errors and he will have to shoulder much of the responsibility for that.
The Prancing Horse’s best option may be to adopt the same one-stop strategy that Hamilton utilised in France in 2018.
Most teams have made similar tyre choices again, with the exception of Red Bull who are moving Verstappen onto medium tyres.
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As the pace-setter goes in search of his fourth consecutive Grand Prix triumph, though some sportsbooks have Hamilton at evens.
The 31-year-old is by no means the favourite, and with good reason given the season so far, but should inspire more confidence than in previous weeks.
A real dark horse, but one who might tempt some racing fans given Renault’s aero updates which will be ready in time for France.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams