PREVIEW: French Grand Prix - Start time, odds and predictions

19-06-2019 12:30
by Jake Williams-Smith
General
PREVIEW: French Grand Prix - Start time, odds and predictions

Formula 1 heads back to France after a controversial end to the duel between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Montreal. Can Ferrari restore some pride with a win at Paul Ricard or will Mercedes make it eight from eight in 2019?

Flashback

In Formula 1's first race in France for a decade, it was Hamilton who took race victory comfortably while championship rival Vettel showed the first signs of cracking under pressure in the title fight between the pair. Max Verstappen took second for Red Bull at a venue the team had not been expecting to be competitive at while then-Ferrari man Kimi Raikkonen salvaged third for the Scuderia.

Having arrived at Paul Ricard with a one-point advantage over his rival, Vettel's weekend fell to pieces at the start of the race, locking-up his brakes and piling into the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who suffered a puncture as a result. It earned Vettel a five-second time penalty and both drivers were in recovery mode for the rest of the afternoon.

Not to be outdone, it was even more chaotic in the midfield through the first few corners, with two of the three French drivers on the grid put out on the spot after contact between Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

The incident at the start left Hamilton to cruise unchallenged to a race win that would put him back in front in the title race while Vettel could only recover to fifth position.

Expectations

In Canada, Ferrari looked to finally be on fighting terms with Mercedes, snatching pole away from the Silver Arrows who had enjoyed a stranglehold on first place since the Bahrain Grand Prix. And like in Bahrain, Ferrari had the pace to fight for the win until Vettel's mistake into turn three ended up with the German being given his five-second penalty.

Can Ferrari replicate their Canadian Grand Prix form again? With more updates being brought to the SF90 once more, they could find themselves there in qualifying with the huge back straight playing into the team's hands. Whether that advantage pays dividends in the race however remains to be seen as Mercedes looked to be the much more promising race package in Montreal.

Red Bull and Honda have already announced it will be introducing another power unit upgrade for the French Grand Prix with the hopes that, with a relentless upgrade schedule through taking grid penalties all season, the Honda engine will be competitive by the end of the season. They aren't the only ones with an upgraded power unit coming too. Renault will introduce an upgrade for its home event, with team principal Cyril Abiteboul already saying the Canadian Grand Prix was a reflection of the team's true performance, the seventh and eighth places for Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg the team's best result all year.

What time is it on? (UK BST)

Friday

FP1: 10:00 - 11:30

FP2: 14:00 - 15:30

Saturday

FP3: 11:00 - 12:00

Qualifying: 12:00 - 15:00

Sunday

Race: 14:10 - +-16:10

Betting odds

French Grand Prix Winner (via OddsChecker)

Lewis Hamilton: 1/1

Valtteri Bottas: 11/4

Sebastian Vettel: 5/1

Charles Leclerc: 8/1

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