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  • Writer's pictureMDZ

2022 F1 Round 12 : The French GP

Welcome back gear-heads! Drama was on full display this time round on the South Coast of France. After three practice sessions it felt like the status quo would be maintained but during there would also be some surprises in the mix. Though the Ferrari’s were quick, they had elected to change a power unit in Carlos’s car causing him to start at the back of the grid as well as Haas’s Magnussen along with him. Qualification spun a few surprises, most notably Yuki Tsunoda making it to Q3, I believe for the first time this season but there were no shockers apart from that. Charles was on pole again, P1 for the 7th time this season followed by Max in P2 and his teammate, Sergio Pérez in P3. I know it’s just half way through the season but I have this sinking feeling that there isn’t going to be much shake up going into the second half of the season. Would Ferrari make a charge towards the top or would Red Bull squeeze the life out of this title race as they have from the start? Only time will tell.

Now, it is on to the winners of the French Grand Prix.

The Winners:

Max Verstappen:

Although the champ didn’t need to do much of anything to deserve this win, once you give Max an opportunity, he takes it. Very much like a good politician never lets a scandal go to waste, Max never lets an advantage go by the wayside. Coming into the race on Sunday at P2 and through qualifying he didn’t look as fast as the Ferrari’s, as luck would have it, Max was handed this race on a silver platter by LeClerc spinning out and crashing into the wall while comfortably in the lead. Fantastic for him and Red Bull as they pull away from the Scuderia in the Constructor’s championship and Max doubling his advantage over Charles to 63 points. It’s only just past half way through the season and the summer break is on the horizon but if the Italian Super keep handing over victories it might be time to call the fight off. I am not ready to say it’s over but this is worrying trend for the rest of the pack.

Mercedes Benz:

A huge day for ol’ reliable! Lewis and George double podium for Mercedes was a common

occurrence not too long ago but it seems that they are starting to put more consistency in their races.

Lewis started on the grid at P4 and made his way up to P2 as he crossed the finish line. To be fair he was far off the pace of the current champion by about 8 seconds but was never in any real danger of losing it. Felt like he was the benefactor along with a few other drivers that got the

safety car after Charles’s crash giving practically everyone a free pit if they hadn’t earlier, I am

looking at you Haas!

Now George had an interesting day out and took advantage of the misfortune of others and towards the end had a feisty battle with Checo Pérez towards the final 8 laps in the race. He was good and there’s no telling where he could end up; there’s just so much potential.

One thing final thing to note is the Lewis Hamilton raced for his 300th Grand Prix on Sunday and is only the sixth driver ever to do so. He’s on pace to become the greatest driver the sport has ever seen and if he were to win another championship it would place him alone at the top with 8 over the legend Michael Schumacher. This is why last year was so crushing to Lewis but never count this man out because he just plugs away and then he’s back on the podium again and again.

Carlos Sainz:

The Spaniard did everything he could this Sunday to make sure that replacing his power unit was worth the gamble. If you see the result of everything then yes it paid off with a P5 finish and the fastest lap time extra point from starting at P19. This earned Carlos ‘Driver of the Day’ award and to be honest I agree. He raced his butt off in spite of the indecision of Ferrari. At one point Sainz got a 5 second penalty for an unsafe release from the pit because he almost collided with Esteban Ocon. This is where a bit of controversy started to take place when the pit crew and Sainz had an exchange on whether to pit and serve the penalty and even what kind of penalty it was. It’s the fine margins that have seen this team appear to be confused as what to do next. And this should not happen under any circumstances.

Fernando Alonso:

This weekend saw another milestone reached by the drive from Austrias as he completed the most laps in Formula 1 history overtaking Kimi Raikkonen, who had just retired last year. This

accomplishment alone is something to behold as I feel it won’t be broken for some time if at all and the closest to that would be Hamilton.

Now Sunday was a familiar performance from the Spaniard, where he gets up to around the 5th or 6th positions and the pack starts to form behind him commonly referred to as the ‘Fernando train’, a few bunched up cars that just can’t get by him. He’s a master at slamming the door on someone trying to get by him. Starting on the grid at P7 finishing at P6 isn’t anything to write home about but the car held up and he has now scored points in 7 consecutive races, the first time since 2017-2018 and it is the tenth time he has had this streak. This is another in a long line of notable achievements that makes him a legend around the world.

Now gear-heads, off to the losers from the weekend!

The losers:

Charles LeClerc:

After the flag was dropped all I could feel was an immense sense of missed opportunity and sadness for the Scuderia and LeClerc. Leading for the entire race going into lap 18 and a mistake by Charles caused a shunt and spun his car out of control and into the barrier. Radio between the pit wall and LeClerc was quite eye opening as you could hear the screams of ‘NO!’ as LeClerc tried to reverse out of the barrier to get the car into the pit and maybe salvage what was a good race up until that point.


Due to the back of the grid penalty and just poor racing Haas’s streak of good races

came to a screeching halt. I am placing them here because Magnussen ended not finishing the

race and Mick having spun off. Unfortunately, the tyre degradation was impacting the way both

drivers performed and more curiously having them pit early for an undercut only to underperform.

It’s a shame because I think they were consolidating on the upper half of the table but this clearly set the team back. Better luck next time.

Yuki Tsunoda:

Big expectations were levied at the Japanese driver after a brave P8 in qualification and that would be the highlight for Yuki. As luck would have it he was knocked out on the first lap with a collision with Ocon. On the side of his flank was a significant hole afterwards and he couldn’t continue. Both he and his teammate Gasly have just not shown the bottle that fans imagined they would be witnessing; very disappointing.

Final Thoughts:

Okay gear-heads, round twelve in the books and Max in the lead in the championship and RedBull in command of the Constructor’s championship as well. I worry deeply for Ferrari and their chances for actually challenging further and whether they have a dilemma with their driver pairing. It is in fact Carlos Sainz who is the driver that is the leader of the pack. Quietly under the

radar as I look at the standing I see McLaren in fourth position in the Constructors but it just feels that they haven’t reach the heights of the previous campaigns. So much is expected from the men in Orange that I feel it’s a bit of a let down so far this season. I am hoping and longing for a bit of Danny and Lando up towards the podium places because I just love them as drivers.

Williams again just fail to make any noise per usual and I wonder when the new owners are going to get antsy and make some radical changes for the next season, I think Latifi’s days are numbered.

Alfa Romeo have an experienced drive in Bottas and him being the crafty veteran should be yielding more points along with the promising Zhou Guanyu from China also showing some signs of life earlier has not lived up to the expectations. The deeper we get into the season the more and more intrigue sets in and this is why Formula 1 is so interesting. I am glued.

Another race weekend in the books and it’s off to Hungary with the Hungarian Grand Prix next

weekend. Several teams have promised some addition help; most notably Haas. But it has been

report that only one driver will get the good stuff. If last year is any indication of what could be I

am sitting on the edge of my seat. Until next time gear-heads!


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