Hamilton Wins the 2019 French GP
Even as a long-time Formula One fan, I couldn’t get through watching the 2019 French GP without doing something else at the same time. As someone on reddit aptly put it, the race was like a podcast with cars running in the background.
As usual, Lewis Hamilton did brilliantly to put it on pole with the best car on the grid, and Valtteri Bottas had to contend himself with second place. As usual, they both took off into the distance unopposed, and it was an easy 79th career win for the British champion, who is now looking more and more likely to overtake Michael Schumacher’s record (of 91 wins) by next year.
While F1 viewers — if they’re still around — might have gotten used to the Silver Arrows taking easy 1-2 wins since 2014, the additional issue at the 2019 French GP was the total lack of action elsewhere. It wasn’t until Lando Norris had to fight a hydraulics issue just a few laps before the checkered flag that anything worthwhile took place.
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Because of the issue, Daniel Ricciardo caught up to Norris in the dying moments of the race. Behind him was Kimi Räikkönen, and behind him was Nico Hülkenberg, who had been unable to pass the Finn despite being glued to his rear end for countless laps.
Ricciardo got past Norris rather clumsily, Räikkönen took the opportunity to put himself in front, and Ricciardo regained that position by going completely off the track. In the end, all three passed Norris despite the latter’s valiant efforts at the wheel of a car that was rapidly becoming undriveable.
But Ricciardo had not escaped the ire of the stewards and was slammed with two five-second penalties for the way he had gotten past Norris and Raikkonen, ultimately dropping him back to 11th and promoting Pierre Gasly back into the points — his teammate Max Verstappen, meanwhile, finished in a comfortable fourth position with a massive time advantage. It’s not looking good for Gasly, who was probably doing his best at his home grand prix.
And that’s about everything of note there was to recount from the 2019 French GP. The FIA and FOM desperately need to take a hard look at the sport and change the regulations to contribute to better racing (and, more importantly, not allow the teams to have any say no matter how much they might whine and pout and threaten to leave the sport), else the alarming drop in viewership will get even more pronounced.
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Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.