The two practice sessions ahead of the French Grand Prix have once again yielded interesting results. Valtteri...
French Grand Prix
Circuit Paul Ricard
About the French Grand Prix
The French Grand Prix is held at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the Le Castellet area of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in France, near to Marseille.
It made its return to the calendar after a decade away from the F1 circus and took over hosting the event from the Magny-Cours Circuit, which lost hosting rights due to financial issues following the financial crash in 2008. The comeback race in 2018 was dominated by Lewis Hamilton, who took a commanding win to take back the championship lead from Sebastian Vettel.
Circuit Paul Ricard Track guide
The circuit itself is 5.842 km long and Grands Prix will be 53 laps totalling 309.690 km or 192.432 miles. The most standout feature of the track would be the Mistral straight, which is an impressive 1.8 km long but due to safety fears, is broken up by a chicane.
Another defining feature of the circuit is the huge blue and red painted areas outside of the race track. Designed using asphalt and tungsten, it is designed as a way of slowing cars down if they run over the lines due to huge amounts of tyre wear due to the abrasive nature of the surface.
The lap starts with a left-right chicane at the end of the home straight, with a slight kink as you head for T3.This is a tricky part. A right hander followed by a slow left-hander in turn 4, then followed a hairpin in turn 5. Turn 6 is a long-winding right-hander, into a flat out turn 7 onto the back straight, where DRS is activated.
Halfway through the straight, a left-right chicane, and then back onto the straight. T10 is a quick right-hander where G-forces run high, into the final sector of the track.
T11 is a very tricky one, with a double apex early and late in the corner. The three following corners are long as well, with the track ending with a hairpin to the right in turn 15.
Race history and changes
Lewis Hamilton took a dominant victory in the 2018 race, finishing well clear of his rivals. Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the podium in second and third respectively.
Hamilton’s pole time of a 1:30.029s is the fastest qualifying time clocked around the circuit however the official lap record is 1:34.225 which Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas set on lap 41 of the race.
Although there have been calls by drivers to remove the chicane on the Mistral straight and let cars fly flat out through the Courbe des Signes corner. Those plans are unlikely to materialise over safety concerns due to excessive speeds and the ability of current cars to take the corner at high speeds.
When is the 2021 French Grand Prix?
The race weekend in Le Castellet kicks off Friday June 25th, with Free Practice 1 starting at 10:30am UK time. FP2 starts that afternoon at 2pm. On Saturday, FP3 starts at 11:00 and qualifying for the French Grand Prix takes place at 2pm on Saturday.
The French Grand Prix will start at 2pm.
|Practice 1||18 June 2021||05:30 - 06:30|
|Practice 2||18 June 2021||09:00 - 10:00|
|Practice 3||19 June 2021||06:00 - 07:00|
|Qualifying||19 June 2021||09:00 - 10:00|
|Race||20 June 2021||09:00 - 11:00|
|Times are in America/New_York Timezone|
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