Formula One chief Ross Brawn is happy to receive input from Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes star suggested the existing rules make the sport boring.

Defending champion Hamilton, who leads the drivers' championship again, stated after another victory at the French Grand Prix on Sunday that the drivers are not to blame if F1 fans are growing tired of his domination.

Mercedes have won all eight races this season, with Hamilton taking six of them.

"When you say 'it's boring' - I totally understand it," the Briton said. "But don't point the fingers at the drivers because we don't write the rules."

Hamilton also attended a recent World Motorsport Council meeting and described F1's situation as a "mess".

New rules are set to be implemented in the sport in 2021 and Brawn says he is keen to talk to Hamilton, insisting there has always been the opportunity for drivers to make their feelings clear.

"I'm happy Lewis has confirmed his willingness to make his own contribution in the coming months," Brawn said. "We can't wait to work with him, particularly in each of the three meetings now scheduled.

"We know well that Formula One needs to make an important change in direction if it wants to maintain its position as one of the most followed sporting spectacles in the world.

"All of the key stakeholders - ourselves, the FIA and the teams - agree on the objectives and there is broad agreement on the major principles, such as the introduction of the budget cap and a fairer distribution of the revenue.

"On the technical aspects, we and the FIA have worked together with engineers from all the teams. It will be great to have an input directly from the drivers.

"Now we have to refine the details and we are happy that Lewis has expressed his faith in the work we are doing, including on topics such as new circuits.

"For example, the new circuit in Vietnam has been specifically designed to create the conditions that promote spectacular racing and good passing moves.

"The door for drivers has always been open and it's a pity that, so often in the past, this opportunity has not been taken by all the parties. It is great to see this new initiative.

"Luckily, today we can now count on having a driver of huge experience as a member of the World Motorsport Council in Felipe Massa, the FIA-CIK President, who can also make an important contribution.

"To sum up, Lewis, we are delighted with yours and all of the drivers' contributions."

Sebastian Vettel acknowledged "we failed" after Ferrari again failed to trouble Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton reigned in France.

Mercedes have won every Formula One race so far this season and the stunning run continued with Hamilton leading a one-two with Valtteri Bottas at the French Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at least held onto third, but Vettel had been hoping the Scuderia would make up some ground on their rivals.

Having finished fifth, he admitted that did not pan out.

"We wanted to close the gap to Mercedes and we did not, so, in that sense, we have to be honest [and say] we failed," Vettel said.

"But I think we tried everything we could. And Charles' podium is at least a little satisfaction.

"Like I said, though, the big goal was to come here and eliminate the difference to them. Unfortunately, our parts did not work as we expected."

Team principal Mattia Binotto was slightly more optimistic and added: "In terms of performance, we are not yet where we want to be.

"We knew this circuit would be tough for us and to finish with Charles right behind Bottas is encouraging.

"The developments we have introduced since the Spanish Grand Prix have allowed us to close the gap and we have shown that we are on the right path.

"Some of these updates have proved to be very useful, others unfortunately less so, but we know that we have potential to improve significantly.

"At this point, we are confident, aware that there is still a lot to do, but that we have the ability to develop the car and to be competitive on all tracks."

Daniel Ricciardo was hit with two five-second time penalties after leaving the track at the French Grand Prix, falling to 11th despite a seventh-placed finish.

The Renault driver ended the weekend without any points due to a pair of manoeuvres that had contributed to a strong finish.

Ricciardo forced Lando Norris into evasive action late in the race as he returned to the track after running wide, before he crossed the white lines to overtake Kimi Raikkonen.

Race stewards deemed the first incident constituted "unsafely forcing another driver off track", earning a five-second penalty and two penalty points on his superlicense.

With the move on Raikkonen, Ricciardo was deemed to have "left the track and gained a lasting advantage". He was again punished with a five-second penalty.

The 10 additional seconds saw Ricciardo fall to 11th, behind Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Norris and Pierre Gasly.

Speaking ahead of the sanction, the Australian claimed he did not care for any penalties.

"When the track's so wide, you've got to improvise a little. It was a fun last lap," he said.

"To be honest, whatever happens, I don't really care. I think it was fun and it's better to have a fight and see what happens than to just sit behind and be a loser, so yeah, I enjoyed it."

Lewis Hamilton insists the challenge of retaining his Formula One world championship never gets old as he looks to create history with Mercedes.

Hamilton led from start to finish at Circuit Paul Ricard on Sunday, easing over the finish line 18 seconds ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The five-time F1 champion had to switch from medium to hard tyres halfway through the race in Le Castelle, though that stoppage made little difference as he claimed a fourth successive win.

With six race victories under his belt already this season, Hamilton is well on his way to defending his title with ease, but believes the real test comes in finding marginal gains after another procession to the top of the podium.

"It never gets old, it's always such a challenge out there and I just love that trying to find the edge," Hamilton said.

"I couldn't do it without this incredible team, we're creating history. I'm hyped.

"It wasn't easy at all. There's always things happening, everything's on the edge.

"Reliability is everything, I had big blisters on the front two tyres so I was a bit worried. This has been the best start so we've got to enjoy it."

Bottas sits second in the drivers' standings, with Mercedes well in front of Ferrari in the constructors' championship, and the Finnish driver lauded Hamilton's dominant display.

"Not that much happening from my side obviously," Bottas said.

"The start was the best bet for me but Lewis had a good start as well. I couldn't match his pace. He was really strong and consistent. He's not unbeatable. I just need to work hard."

Frenchman Charles Leclerc took third place, while Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel crossed in fifth behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory as Mercedes secured another one-two at an uneventful French Grand Prix.

The Formula One world championship leader led from pole to flag and eased to a fourth consecutive win - and his sixth of a dominant season.

Hamilton crossed the line 18 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, taking another step towards retaining his title at Circuit Paul Ricard.

The five-time F1 champion got off to a slick start and continued to fly after switching from medium to hard tyres on lap 25 of 53 on a warm day in Le Castelle. 

Charles Leclerc took third place in his homeland and his Ferrari colleague Sebastian Vettel crossed the line in fifth behind Max Verstappen after starting back in seventh spot.

Vettel was furious after a five-second penalty meant it was Hamilton rather than the German who won in Montreal last time out and it proved to be another frustrating Sunday for the Scuderia.

Carlos Sainz was sixth ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo on a day that lacked fireworks after the drama in Canada, with Lando Norris dropping to 10th late in the race.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas look set to be in a battle of their own at the French Grand Prix, unless Charles Leclerc can spring a surprise on Sunday.

Mercedes were expected to have the fastest cars this weekend, and they have proven that by topping the time-sheets at every practice and qualifying session.

Rival teams will have been even more downbeat when they heard the post-qualifying remarks of pole-sitter Hamilton, who was 0.646seconds faster than Leclerc in third, with fourth-placed Max Verstappen and the remainder of the grid not even getting within a second.

The Briton, who leads the drivers' championship by 29 points over Bottas, revealed his record lap of 1:28.319 could have been significantly quicker.

Hamilton won from pole last year at Circuit Paul Ricard, as the race made its first appearance on the Formula One calendar since 2008, and a repeat would see him make it six wins from eight in a dominant 2019.

"I was on for one of the best laps I'd done," Hamilton said of his second flying lap in Q3. "I was up four-and-a-half tenths coming into the second-to-last corner and I just lost the back end partly through [the wind], or maybe going too quick. 

"I was onto something really special and it would have been nice to have had that one. But it was still quicker and I'm really, really happy. 

"Through Q1 and Q2, Valtteri just had the edge. I just couldn't outpace him. I knew I had work to do and it looked like it was going to be his day but I managed to put some really good sectors together - it is always great to be able to pull everything and more out of a car."

Bottas was quickest in Q1 and Q2, as well as in two of the three practice sessions. The Finn had a difficult race in Canada after a poor qualifying, but he is more optimistic from a better starting position in Le Castellet.

"Lewis just got it better but as a team, it is good – we have a really strong package and hopefully it will be the same [on Sunday]," said Bottas.

"It is a nice long straight run down to turn one so hopefully I can get something done. The start is going to be one of the key things for me, so I will focus on that."

If they avoid an incident with each other, it is hard to see Hamilton and Bottas being beaten. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said tyre management on a hot track would be a key focus, with a one-stop strategy optimal.
 

FERRARI HOPES REST WITH LECLERC

The start may also be Leclerc's best chance to make an impact, given Ferrari's straight-line speed advantage. They have fared better in the early section of the track, while the slower corners towards the end are Mercedes' forte.

"My lap was good and the car felt good for the right moment," said the 21-year-old. "So I'm very happy as Q3 was my weak point in the last few races.

"This is the best we could have done in qualifying but the gap is still quite big so we need to work and hopefully it will be an exciting race. A good start will be very important – but it's going to be difficult because their race pace on Friday was very, very, very strong."

Sebastian Vettel will have to come through the field after qualifying a disappointing seventh, as he looks to bounce back from the controversy in Canada.

Red Bull have Verstappen, who finished second in last season's race, starting fourth and in the podium hunt again, but Pierre Gasly struggled to qualify ninth for his home race and is likely to be under pressure from the cars behind due to starting on the less durable soft tyre.
 

IMPRESSIVE MCLAREN DENY 'SECRET UPGRADE'

McLaren's magnificent performance to qualify fifth and sixth on the grid – the first time they have had two cars in the top six since 2014 - came as a surprise to many, including engine supplier Renault, who were running a new power unit in Daniel Ricciardo's car.

Ricciardo, who qualified eighth, even suggested their midfield rivals had brought some unannounced changes to their car.

"We got beat by the two McLarens and they have a little update they told no one about, I think," said the Australian. "It's impressive their pace – they really had speed all weekend - and we couldn't match that."

But 19-year-old Lando Norris, who will start fifth for McLaren, seemed as surprised as anyone, saying: "I've heard rumours now that Renault say we have a secret upgrade. I wish we did - because we'd be even quicker! 

"We have come into here thinking some of the corners are a bit like China, where we were pretty average. We thought this would be a very tough one and it's turned out to be better than we ever would have expected. To get fifth, it's probably my best achievement so far in F1."

Whether the McLarens can stay competitive under race conditions will be one of the intriguing things to watch.
 

THE GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 
6. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 
7. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 
9. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) 
10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
 
PREVIOUS WINNERS 

2018: Lewis Hamilton
2009-2017: Race not held
2008: Felipe Massa (for Ferrari)
2007: Kimi Raikkonen (for Ferrari)

DRIVER STANDINGS 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 162
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 133 (-29)
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 100 (-62)
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 88 (-74)
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 72 (-90)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 

1. Mercedes 295
2. Ferrari 172 (-123)
3. Red Bull 124 (-171)

WEATHER FORECAST 

A dry, hot and mostly sunny day is expected in Le Castellet on Sunday, with winds the only complication drivers could be faced with.

Lewis Hamilton insisted he does not feel "untouchable" despite continuing his stunning start to the 2019 season with pole position at the French Grand Prix.

On a circuit well suited to the Mercedes car, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas locked out the front row to continue their dominance from throughout practice and qualifying this weekend.

The pole-sitter has already won five of the seven races this year, with Bottas claiming the other two, and looks well placed to extend his 29-point lead in the drivers' championship.

But Hamilton - who was 0.286seconds clear of Bottas - was taking nothing for granted ahead of Sunday's race, and explained the pace of his Mercedes team-mate means he is always on edge.

"I definitely don't feel untouchable, I never have felt that way," Hamilton told reporters after qualifying on Saturday.

"I do feel strong but each weekend I come in and feel that I'm starting on the right foot, and Valtteri goes and puts in good laps every time. I'm constantly being pushed by Valtteri.

"It’s crazy because it never gets old, it never gets easier, it's always such a challenge, regardless of what position you’re battling for.

"If anything, it gets harder and harder to get these poles, Valtteri's been doing some epic laps through practice and qualifying in these first races.

"The battle within [Mercedes], if you look at a lot of the races there's been half a tenth to a tenth and a half between Valtteri and I, so I still have my work cut out. I still have to perform. I still have to deliver.

"The work ethic is exactly the same and the stress is exactly the same as if I was fighting the Ferraris."

While a dramatic and controversial race in Canada last time out saw Ferrari look like the fastest car, Hamilton acknowledged rival teams have more work to do, while sending them an ominous warning about his own form.

"The last race was a lot closer [but] there's some races where we as a team are not being pushed as hard as we'd like to be by the others," added the Briton.

"I usually get better once I get into the season and I'm definitely getting more comfortable with the car. I don't expect that to stop."

Sebastian Vettel conceded he "did not get the best out of his car" in Q3 at the French Grand Prix and will now start Sunday's race in seventh on the grid.

The Ferrari driver explained the pace of Mercedes was significantly ahead of the rest and that the upgrades to his team's SF90 car this weekend were not as positive as expected, prompting most of them to be scaled back prior to qualifying.

But as well as trailing pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and team-mate Charles Leclerc, Vettel will also unexpectedly line up behind Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Vettel abandoned his first attempt at a flying lap in Q3 after a problem with a gear shift, leaving him just one effort at the end of the session to determine his spot, but he finished a disappointing 1.480seconds off Hamilton's pace.

"I don't know what happened," Vettel told Sky Sports about his first run. "I lost so much momentum there was no point to finish that lap."

Of the session as a whole, the German added: "Not great. It was up and down, some laps I felt really good and others I didn't. 

"Obviously in the end I didn't get the best out of the car which is not satisfying. But it was difficult for me as some laps were really good and just coming, then other laps I don't know why I didn't have the grip I seemed to have the runs before.

"It's a shame it happened in Q3, it would have been better if we were slower and it had happened in the other segments.

"We reverted on most of [the upgrades] so obviously it was not the step that we had expected. 

"But we have good pace to have a good race. Obviously Mercedes are far away but we should be in the mix with Red Bull."

A poor qualifying session was not what Vettel needed as he looks to bounce back from a controversial Canadian Grand Prix last time out, where a time penalty following a battle with Hamilton cost him what would have been a first victory of the season.

Lewis Hamilton eased to pole position at the French Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Sebastian Vettel struggling to qualify just seventh.

Mercedes locked out the front row in comfortable fashion, with Hamilton's time of 1:28.319 never looking like it would be challenged.

The championship leader was ahead after the first runs of Q3, then improved with his second attempt, although his initial time would still have proven enough as Bottas could not go quicker than his opening effort.

Bottas ended the session 0.286seconds adrift for Mercedes, who have looked dominant all week in topping every practice and qualifying session.

The Mercedes cars were the first to reach the chequered flag, but there would have been few nerves on the pit-wall about whether they would be caught as the other cars completed Q3.

Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari after finishing 0.646s behind, with Max Verstappen over a second adrift in fourth to complete the second row.

"It's not an easy track, Valtteri's been quick all weekend and I just kept chipping away," said pole-sitter Hamilton. "I'm happy I got the potential out of the car." 

Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr made up an all-McLaren third row to continue a tremendous weekend for the team.

A despondent Vettel - attempting to respond to his controversial time penalty in Canada that cost him victory last time out - starts seventh, having briefly lost control of his Ferrari by missing upshift in his first run, meaning he did not complete a flying lap. 

That left everything to his second attempt, which was a poor 1.480s off the pace.

Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for Renault, one place ahead of Pierre Gasly, who again looks short of speed for his home Grand Prix, with Antonio Giovinazzi making up the top 10.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:28.319
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.286s
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.646s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.090s
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.099s
6. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1.203s
7. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +1.480s
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1.599s
9. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +1.865s
10. Antonio Giovinazzi +5.101s

Lewis Hamilton has avoided punishment for an incident in French Grand Prix practice that forced Max Verstappen off the track at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Stewards investigated an incident when the Formula One drivers' championship leader rejoined the track following an error that saw him wipe out a bollard, causing Red Bull's Verstappen to take evasive action.

It occurred on Friday afternoon in the second free practice session, after which Hamilton and Verstappen were summoned to see the stewards.

They were examining whether a breach of overtaking regulations had taken place but later issued a statement saying there would be "no further action", meaning no possible grid penalty or any other punishment for Hamilton.

The stewards said, in a statement released by world governing body the FIA, that Mercedes driver Hamilton and Verstappen "agreed that the situation was not particularly dangerous and did not give Verstappen a lasting disadvantage".

They added: "Both drivers agreed that the limited rear visibility and the angle of car 44 [Hamilton] made it difficult for Hamilton to see the approaching car and agreed that Hamilton re-joined slowly."

The statement added stewards "could observe from the on-board video that Hamilton looked in his mirrors at least twice before attempting to re-join the circuit".

Valtteri Bottas was quickest in the day's second practice session after Hamilton set the pace in FP1.

Hamilton said of his performance: "It’s been very hot today, but we got through most of the programme. 

"It’s been a bit difficult with the balance of the car; maybe that’s to do with the new tarmac they have here and the high temperatures, I think the track reached 55 to 60 degrees today. 

"In general, the car pace is really good, we just have to fine-tune the balance."

The FIA has rejected Ferrari's attempt to overturn a penalty that denied Sebastian Vettel victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel was furious after he took the chequered flag in Montreal ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but missed out on a first win of the Formula One season after being given a five-second penalty.

The four-time world champion was deemed to have hampered Hamilton when he returned to the track after running win at turn four on lap 48 of 70.

Vettel argued he had "nowhere to go" but race stewards on Friday denied the Scuderia's request for a right to review the punishment, which the team initially decided not to appeal against.

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies provided what he described as "overwhelming" evidence to the same stewards ahead of the French Grand Prix this weekend, but Hamilton's victory will stand.

 

 

 

 

Ferrari are set to hold a meeting with Formula One officials in a bid to overturn the penalty that stripped Sebastian Vettel of victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The German was first to the chequered flag in Montreal but missed out on his maiden win of 2019 due to an earlier incident involving Lewis Hamilton, who triumphed despite coming second.

Vettel ran wide at turn four on lap 48 and almost pushed Hamilton into the wall when he re-entered the track.

He protested he had "nowhere to go", but race stewards deemed his actions unsafe and a five-second time penalty saw the four-time champion drop to second.

Ferrari subsequently launched an appeal and team representatives are due to meet stewards from the Canadian GP on Friday, ahead of this weekend's race in France.

"The stewards of the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix request that team representatives attend a hearing on Friday 21 June at 14:15 in the F1 stewards room, to hear a request from the entrant of Car 5, Scuderia Ferrari, to review the decision in Document 42 from that event," read an FIA statement.

"The request was lodged in accordance with Article 14 of the FIA International Sporting Code."

Hamilton's victory in Canada saw him extend his lead over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the drivers' standings to 29 points, while Vettel is a further 33 points adrift in third.

The French Grand Prix looks a tough race in prospect for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, who was stripped of victory in Canada last time out and has been told the Circuit Paul Ricard does not suit his car.

Vettel was hit with a penalty for dangerous driving in Montreal, allowing Lewis Hamilton to claim the win and extend his lead in the drivers' standings to 29 points.

Hamilton will be optimistic that another successful weekend lies in store after Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto admitted the track was "a tricky circuit" for his team in 2018.

The championship leader dominated in France last year while Vettel collided with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner, but Ferrari remain the most successful team at the French GP, winning 17 races and taking 17 poles.

As the race draws near, we shed some light on Le Castellet using Opta numbers.

 

3 – Bottas needs just one win to take his 2019 tally of victories level with the rest of his F1 career combined (three).

5 – The French GP is a source of home comfort for Renault, who have won more times here (five) than at any other race.

8 – Michael Schumacher is the French GP's most successful driver, winning the race eight times, but Alain Prost has the most wins at its current home with four.

9 – The winner of nine of the last 15 races at Circuit Paul Ricard has started in pole position.

15 – It has been a torrid run for Vettel, who has finished 15 grands prix without winning – the worst sequence of his F1 career, excluding retirements.

16 - Max Verstappen is enjoying his best run of F1 finishes, having completed 16 grands prix in a row.

26 – Vettel will equal Kimi Raikkonen's record of being the driver with the most podiums in different F1 grands prix (26) should he achieve a top-three finish on Sunday.

300 – This will be Raikkonen's 300th GP, making him the fifth driver to surpass the milestone after Rubens Barrichello (323), Fernando Alonso (312), Michael Schumacher (307) and Jenson Button (306).

Pierre Gasly hopes the "special" experience of racing at his home grand prix in France can lead to a positive result that will kickstart his Red Bull career.

Ahead of this week's race at Circuit Paul Ricard, Frenchman Gasly is yet to record a top-four finish in 2019, having stepped up from Toro Rosso to partner Max Verstappen.

The 23-year-old will be able to count on extra support at Le Castellet, though, and has fond memories of a track which only returned to the Formula One calendar following a nine-season absence last year.

"I'm fully focused and dedicated to get the best result I can and it would be a special moment to do well in front of my home fans," said Gasly. 

"Quite a lot of people are coming to support me, which makes the weekend extra special. It brings good vibes and creates a special atmosphere. I'm really excited to be on track there with all the fans and extra support.

"Paul Ricard is a track I quite like because I had really strong results there in the past. I raced there for the first time in 2011 in F4 and won. To go back there this year with a Red Bull, in a competitive car, makes me excited and I'm ready to give it my all!"

Verstappen came second in last season's race and is expecting to compete at the front again this time around.

France follows a Canadian Grand Prix where Verstappen had to battle through the field to finish fifth – his worst result of the season to date – after a red flag meant he was unable to progress from Q2.

"We maximised things in Canada and we are working hard to improve all aspects," said the Dutchman.

"I feel comfortable in the car so I hope we will be able to challenge the frontrunners more closely in France.

"Last year was good for us, we got the strategy spot on and finished second on the podium, which was a good team result. It's still a very new grand prix for F1 which makes it naturally more of a challenge for all teams and I had not raced there before 2018. 

"It's good to have a grand prix in France. It's a historic track, which is well known for its safety, it also attracts lots of fans who love the sport, which is great to see, especially for Pierre."

Mattia Binotto acknowledges Ferrari could be in for a tough week as they head to the French Grand Prix incredibly still looking for their first win of 2019.

Mercedes have dominated Formula One so far this season, with Lewis Hamilton claiming five victories and team-mate Valtteri Bottas triumphing in the other two races.

Ferrari's wait looked set to end last time out in Canada, but Sebastian Vettel's dramatic incident as he battled Hamilton led to a five-second penalty which handed the drivers' championship leader another win.

Vettel's drive might have otherwise provided a confidence boost heading to France, yet Binotto believes it will prove a tricky circuit for the Scuderia's package.

And while there will be some further changes to the SF90 car, it is not anticipated they will have a huge immediate impact on the team's fortunes.

"Following Canada, we definitely want to get back on track and go racing with our rivals once again," Binotto said.

"In France, we will have a few small evolutions, elements that represent for us a useful step in defining the direction we will take in developing the car.

"What we will be bringing won't be the solution to our problems, but the technical feedback we get from these evolutions will be important for the next steps we take.

"Paul Ricard has been a tricky circuit for us last year and we know that this kind of track isn't particularly favourable for our package, but nothing is impossible so we will be ready to do our best."

TALK OF THE PADDOCK

The clash between Vettel and Hamilton in Montreal continues to dominate conversation in F1, with Ferrari this week exercising their right to request a review of the incident.

Regardless of the outcome, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff this week insisted he is keen to see wheel-to-wheel racing remain in the sport.

"I'm not happy with rules that prevent hard racing," he told Speed Week.

"My understanding is that the fans should experience the racers as gladiators in their high-tech machines. I want to see tough wheel-to-wheel fighting out there."

Wolff was confident about Mercedes' chances of making it eight straight 2019 wins in the upcoming race, adding: "The circuit features some similarities to Montreal and the long straights will present a challenge for us.

"However, unlike Canada, the corner characteristics are spread across a range of speeds, which should play to our advantage. We're looking forward to the chance to put a few things right again."

 

RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)

Friday
FP1 (11:00-12:30)
FP2 (15:00-16:30)

Saturday
FP3 (12:00-13:00)
Qualifying (15:00-16:00)

Sunday
Race (15:10-17:10)

F1 FACT

Ferrari have won 17 races and taken 17 pole positions at the French GP, more than any other team in either category.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Lewis Hamilton
2009-2017: Race not held
2008: Felipe Massa (for Ferrari)
2007: Kimi Raikkonen (for Ferrari)

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 162
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 133 (-29)
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 100 (-62)
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 88 (-74)
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 72 (-90)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 295
2. Ferrari 172 (-123)
3. Red Bull 124 (-171)

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