Hamilton dominates to take French GP win
Hamilton cruised to a comfortable victory...    Credit: Getty Images

Hamilton dominates to take French GP win

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton extended his advantage at the top of the Formula One standings with a processional Mercedes 1-2 in the 2019 French Grand Prix

jaquobcrooke
Jaquob Crooke

In a race that was deprived of action and entertainment, Lewis Hamilton dominated from start to finish at the 2019 French Grand Prix to chalk up a comprehensive victory and further consolidate his championship lead.

Hamilton's supremacy was overshadowed by the dull complexion of the race itself, as 53 laps of the Circuit Paul Ricard did little to inspire an audience that have grown apathetic to modern Formula One's repetitious nature.

Yet for all of the sport's contemporary troubles, Hamilton continued his immense form to record his sixth triumph of 2019 - which includes four wins from the last four races - and also maintain Mercedes' 100% winning record this year.

Valtteri Bottas finished second to ensure yet another one-two for the Silver Arrows, despite being subjected to a late assault by Charles Leclerc in the closing stages as the Monegasque completed the podium for Ferrari.

Hamilton masterclass

After holding just a small margin over his team-mate Bottas at the start of his opening stint, Hamilton excelled on the medium compound tyres and eked out maximum performance from his W10 to move into the distance prior to the first set of pit-stops.

In an attempt to recover lost time Bottas blinked first, and Hamilton followed suite a lap later to rejoin ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who had opted to extend his spell on the medium tyre.

Hamilton remained unchallenged for the remainder of the race and relinquished his stint on the hard tyre, opening up a healthy 18-second gap over a muted Bottas.

The five-time World Champion had looked set to complete the perfect treble - pole position, race win and fastest lap - as he slammed in the fastest lap of the race with two laps remaining, however, the bonus point was snatched by Vettel on the final lap.

Leclerc late charge

After initially spending the opening stages of the Grand Prix observing his rear-view mirrors, Leclerc hung onto the tail of Bottas' Mercedes and hounded the Finn to the line as he scored his second podium in a row.

Leclerc maintained a consistent pace throughout and will be upbeat after holding off an early charge from the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who secured another top four finish with a mature drive.

Verstappen had slipped down the outside of Leclerc as the pair headed down to T3 side-by-side, though the Ferrari driver defended superbly to edge clear and gradually open an advantage over the Dutch sensation.

Verstappen himself was observant of those behind him during the race but was quick enough to starve off the threat of a subdued Vettel, who did little to unnerve the Red Bull as he struggled for pace.

Valiant Norris denied points haul

A tremendous qualifying session from McLaren was rewarded with an impressive double points finish, though their tally could have been even larger had it not been for a severe hydraulic issue that hindered Lando Norris' final third of the race.

Carlos Sainz finished P6 for the Woking-based manufacturers as Norris trudged home to finish P10. It could have been an excellent P7 for the British rookie, however Norris' MCL-27 was diagnosed with a hydraulic and differential issue and the McLaren driver performed admirably to even finish race.

Norris ran seventh till the very last lap, when his braking and steering problems were too much to overcome and was eventually swamped by the loitering trio of Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg heading into the final sector of the circuit - the trio finished 7th, 8th and 9th respectively.

Gasly woes continue

A disappointing P11 has only served to exacerbate Pierre Gasly's nightmare season as the Red Bull driver comes under increasing scrutiny for yet another dismal performance.

Gasly's initial stint had looked promising as he looked to undercut the two McLaren's through the first pit-stops. But the Frenchman's afternoon soon spiralled and was made complete with the ignominy of being overtaken by Ricciardo - the man he was brought into replace - just after the first pit-stops.

It leaves Gasly cutting a forlorn figure as the Formula One season enters the busy summer schedule, and one must wonder if the leading figures at Red Bull might soon make an abrupt change in their driver department.

The Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll finished 12th and 13th respectively. Perez had been dealt with a five-second penalty after a lap one incident which seen him gain track position, despite lawfully using the run-off area down at T3 and T4.

The Toro Rosso pair of Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon followed in P14 and P15, whilst Haas endured yet another torrid day as Kevin Magnussen slumped to 16th and Romain Grosjean was the sole retirement from the race.

There was an unusual feature at the bottom end of the classification as Robert Kubica beat his Williams team-mate George Russell for the very first time this season, although that will do little to satisfy the Pole as Williams once again crossed the finishing line last.

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