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Leclerc shines, Hamilton leads Mercedes F1 front-row lock-out at Paul Ricard
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Posted By: Editor   |  23 Jun 2018   |  5:15 pm GMT  |  156 comments

Lewis Hamilton claimed his 75th Formula One pole position – and his first in France – by narrowly defeating team-mate Valtteri Bottas by one tenth of a second in tricky qualifying conditions at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

Star of the day was Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, who progressed into the third part of qualifying for the first time in his career. The F2 reigning champion, who is increasingly linked with a Ferrari drive in 2019, ended up eighth on the grid ahead of both Haas cars in Q3.

Mercedes made the perfect start in their bid to rectify their shortcomings from the Canadian Grand Prix. The threat of rain – which prevented any meaningful running in free practice three – never materialised into anything more than a light drizzle, and the duo were able to extract the full potential from their upgraded power units to take the second all-Mercedes front row of the season.

Bottas – who missed out on any qualifying simulations in FP2 and FP3 – will be pleased to have pushed his team-mate hard for pole position. The Finn also out-qualified championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who made a mistake on his final flying lap to put himself out of contention for pole position.

“It’s a difficult one to get the right balance. I tried to push everything in the last attempt, but looking back, I pushed too hard,” admitted Vettel.

“I knew that with a really amazing lap I might have a chance, but it didn’t come.

“In the end, P3 I’m happy with because we should have a good car for the race.”

The two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo completed the qualifying hour in fourth and fifth respectively, finishing ahead of an out-of-sorts Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Renault’s Carlos Sainz took seventh.

Qualifying Session 1

Lewis Hamilton was able to give the first indicators into the life of the ultrasoft tyres; the Briton was able to set the fastest lap of Q1 on his second flying lap on the same set of tyres. Many attempted a third lap, but were unable to improve further.

Following their frustrating performance in Montreal two weeks’ ago, McLaren’s form failed to improve. Both cars were eliminated in the first part of qualifying, with Fernando Alonso in sixteenth and Stoffel Vandoorne in eighteenth, separated by Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley.

“Nothing went wrong, I think the performance is what it is,” said Alonso after qualifying.

“This morning in the meeting, we predicted to be between P14 and P15, so it’s where we are.”

Hartley’s qualifying session was made redundant before it even began. Thanks to his power unit problems in free practice two, the Kiwi was forced into taking new components.

His car was given a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, turbocharger, MGU-K, control electronics and energy store, which added up to a 35-place grid penalty.

However, the updated regulations for this year mean that if a driver is handed a fifteen-place grid penalty or higher, he is automatically sent to the back of the grid.

Another disappointing qualifying session for Williams ended with both cars at the bottom of the timing sheets, with Sergey Sirotkin out-qualifying Lance Stroll, who had a big bump over the kerbs after he ran wide at turn two on his final flying lap.

Qualifying Session 2

With rain making an appearance in the dying seconds of Q1, drivers were queuing at the end of the pit lane to try and beat the wet-weather conditions.

The track was more than dry enough to complete lap times on slick tyres, and the briefness of the rain spell meant that all drivers had the opportunity to run through the entire session and have multiple attempts to progress.

In an anticipated alternate strategy, both Mercedes and Red Bull drivers completed their Q2 laps on the super soft tyres, with all four drivers comfortably fast enough to go through.

With the track evolving, Hamilton, Bottas and Ricciardo all threatened to complete a final flying lap on the ultrasoft tyres, but all three drivers backed off in order to keep their laps with the supersoft tyres.

The Mercedes, Ferraris, Red Bulls and Haas’ were comfortably through to Q3, along with Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, who set a remarkable lap to send Sauber into the final part of qualifying for the first time since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.

The other Sauber of Marcus Ericsson progressed beyond Q1 for the first time this season, but he finished at the foot of the time sheets in Q2.

Also eliminated were the two Force Indias, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Qualifying Session 3

Spots of rain were once again threatening to disrupt the session, which encouraged another queue at the end of the pit lane. However, the rain eased and all drivers were able to complete a ‘normal’ Q3 session.

There were minor errors for many of the drivers on their first flying laps, but Hamilton set the initial benchmark of a 1:30.222, followed closely by Bottas and Vettel.

Despite the weekend showing a lot of promise for Haas, Romain Grosjean once again was involved in an incident which hampers the team’s weekend.

The Frenchman lost control of his Haas VF-18 on the exit of turn three and skated off into the barrier, damaging the front-end of the car and bringing out the red flags. This affected his team-mate Magnussen, who was unable to complete his lap.

With the session restarting with seven minutes to go, all drivers except Grosjean were able to rejoin and start a final flying lap.

The only front-running drivers to improve on their final laps were the two Mercedes drivers, who both completed impressive final sectors, but Hamilton edged Bottas to take the Silver Arrows’ first pole position at the French Grand Prix.

An error at turn three for Vettel meant the Ferrari was unable to challenge for pole position, whilst Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen failed to improve on their final attempts.

Sainz took seventh ahead of Leclerc, who profited from Haas drivers being unable to extract the maximum from their respective qualifying sessions.

“It’s just unbelievable. Its probably the best recovery I’ve done in my career, from one day to another,” said Leclerc.

“Yesterday was a disaster. The car didn’t feel great, I was not driving very well and we completely changed the car today and I felt a lot better.

“I went to bed very late as I spent a lot of time with the engineers to find out what were the issues. They’ve been very good in identifying the exact issues and they understood what I wanted from the car.

“We should all be proud – the team and I – of what we’ve achieved today.”

By: Luke Murphy

FRENCH GRAND PRIX, Qualifying

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.029s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m30.147s 0.118s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m30.400s 0.371s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m30.705s 0.676s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m30.895s 0.866s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m31.057s 1.028s
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m32.126s 2.097s
8 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m32.635s 2.606s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m32.930s 2.901s
10 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari No Time
11 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m32.075s
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m32.115s
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m32.454s
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m32.460s
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m32.820s
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m32.976s
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m33.025s
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m33.162s
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m33.636s
20 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m33.729s

All images: Motorsport Images

What are your predictions for the French Grand Prix? Leave your comments in the section below.

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1

Always loved the French Grand Prix, and loved Paul Ricard (so long as the Mistral is in tact).

Welcome back/home.

2

Merc’s Special compound Pirelli tyres from Spain are doing the trick nicely. As they will in silverstone too.

3

My overriding emotion after watching qualifying is what a hideous track this is. All those huge run-offs with eye watering stripes make the cars look insignificant. I’m all for a French GP, but not here, especially as the current layout does nothing to allow or encourage overtaking.

4

Is this the year when we see the last time two of the greatest drivers of the last decades in F1? I mean of course Fernando and Kimi.

5

Fingers crossed – it will free up some slots for some fresh blood such as Giovanizzi, Norris or give a second chance to the likes of Wherelein and Kyvat.

That said, Ericsson, Hartley and Grosjean should be shown the exit first!

6

Wow, Lewis on pole and front row lockout by Mercedes. That’s so exciting.

7

and unexpected!!!

8

Pleased for Sauber and le clerc that new funding/engine/structure is starting to make some difference on track.Shame that sauber are gradually turning into Ferrari B team but at least they are showing why they are needed in F1.

Double edged about le clerc i would like him to stay at sauber if not going to Ferrari next season.Going to HAAS would be a mistake i think.

Lastly what can Ericisson be thinking? Rookie driver highlights his lack of speed.Sauber be wise to move him on even with his investors attached.

9

“We should all be proud – the team and I – of what we’ve achieved today.”

Instantly, I have much more respect for Leclerc for showing correct use of the english language, instead of the low intelligence -me and the team-, plus he drove very well to get into Q3.

Why was Vettel’s time not disallowed, considering his abuse of the track limits.

His car was completely off track & should be starting P10 beside Grosjean.

Sainz is a second behind Kimi, showing that Renault still have work to do & are perhaps justifying Red Bulls decision to go to Honda.

Whilst on Honda, it will be interesting to see if all the new components will allow Hartley to make significant progress from the rear.

10

Gro should be replaced for the next race… Too many oportunities and no good results.. Time to go somewhere else and another driver ti take the seat.

11

Looks like the midfield battle will be very tight. Still a chance of rain for the race could make things interesting.

12

Another poor performance by mclaren. Is any other result possible from a team that rewards it’s blood-sweating mechanics with chocolate frogs – strictly one per person?

13

Great effort by Leclerc. From interviews he seems like a pretty decent and humble guy too. Such a refreshing contrast to Crashtappen’s arrogance.

14

Yeah, chalk and cheese.

15

Not really sure why Ricciardo gets all the attention when Verstappen, when the monkey is off his back, can usually blow Ricciardo’s doors off?

16

Probably because Max controls the monkey and it attracts the most attention.

17

Not really sure why some people think that less than .2 of a second is blowing doors off.Get a grip man

18

Verstappen en Ricciardo were on different set-ups. Ricciardo changed from high downforce from low downforce but was, due to the rain, not able to really test that in FP3. They decided to not try qualifying with an unknown setup. Thus the difference between the two. Dan is not really happy with his aero settings, wanting a more aggressive setup. Max also said that he felt he could have done better. Not sure what that has to do with “blowing doors off”.

19

“blow Ricciardo’s doors off”, settle down Craig, Ricciardo was caught out in qualifying having a high downforce setting on the rear wing, compared to Verstappen having a very “skinny” rear wing setup. That’s 2/10’s right there.

20

Daniel Ricciardo suspects he may have gone the wrong way on set-up after Red Bull ran different downforce levels on their cars in qualifying for the French Grand Prix.

The rain in final practice prompted Ricciardo to stick with his higher downforce set-up which did not pay off in qualifying.

“We split the cars yesterday on downforce levels,” Ricciardo explained. “Max [Verstappen] went low, I was higher.”

“Obviously we were pretty evenly matched yesterday but it looked like the low was worth trying for sure so we put that on for this morning to try it out in FP3. [But I] didn’t get to try it because of the weather.”

Ricciardo and his engineer decided to stick with the higher downforce set-up they were familiar with, but that became a problem in qualifying due to the limited scope to make adjustments.

“We still had a lot of front wing in hand because with more downforce you’re probably going to understeer and you’re going to need more front wing. But at the end of Q1 we’d already used every bit of front wing we had and we still had understeer.

“It was a little bit slow on the straights but also we couldn’t balance it. With what you could do in qualifying that was it. A frustrating session because obviously if you’ve got understeer you know you can do other things with the car but in quali your hands are tied.”

His set-up may still pay off if the rain returns tomorrow, said Ricciardo.

“On paper we’re going to be pretty slow on the straight compared to the guys in front. But if it rains than we might be the lucky dogs.”

21

that colgate smile.

22

Different setup. Max had a different setup probably different strategy to Ric. Great drive by Max – he just goes for it, at least he didn’t crash. Nearly everyone was making mistakes here and there. The star of the show was Leclerc. If he ends up with Ferrari – I hope he thrashes the butt of Vettel. Seb was making many mistakes on this track. Plus rain wan’t helping with balance.

23

Just as well McLaren got that Renault donk.

24

Same old same old. Ferdie’s not wrong when he complains about predictability.

I was rather hoping Ricard might throw up something better being a ‘new’ circuit for this generation of cars.

No don’t but I’ll sit through the highlights tomorrow, I always do but it’s getting harder to maintain any real enthusiasm.

25

On lap 34 of 53, Alonso is running 14th with Vandoorne 9th. If I had to place a bet I think Alonso will retire the car before lap 47.

26

Didn’t Fernando say that McLaren always qualified between 7th and 12th? Well they didn’t. Unpredictability!

27

Maybe it’s not the place but Hamilton is right. He left 3 tenths in the middle sector but more important was his commit over the pit lanes. They could have moved the pit lane back and solve a lot of problems.

Right now it looks like the pit exit to Darlington. Now that’s a very hard NASCAR one. I think a wreck could happen right in front of the Mercedes pit. They are in the worst stall. This normally doesn’t matter in F1 but this place is different.

I don’t like a bus stop halfway down the straight either.

I think they will be fixed next time. If RG for HAAS keeps wrecking a good car I would try to get someone better. Kmag has shown it’s fast but rule one finish the race. Then again his crew ought to be really good by now. Boy back in the day was a good race. Putting a little more wing on one side can help here. It only hurts in sector 2.

28

Jdr, the pit exit isn’t great either. It looked like one of the Ferraris was hampered by having to brake for t1 in the middle of the track as someone was coming out of the pits.

29

Goodness, this must be a new low for Williams.

What will it take to get back where we’d all love to see them?

Hoping for change but experience points to a long and winding road ahead…

30

Change in team principal would be a good start

31

wow! it must take a special effort to be half a second slower than third last!

32

Even half a second slower than a McLaren? Ouch

33

i wonder how many f1 drivers have scored over 70 pole positions in the history of the sport.

34

This is what a dominant car, diluted 21 race seasons and party modes give you.

Poll tally is just another stat rendered meaningless by modern F1.

35

So is your comment . Absolve yourself Absolude…see a party priest and expell the beast “domni partridge party poppers” 🤯 get a petrol enema if needed 😂

36

is that why you are stepping aside?

37

Who cares?

38

You would if Danny Ric managed it…..

39

Yep its a whole new ball game if oh Lordy Redemption Ricci gets a pole. Then the whole world is redeemed from its slumber. The roses smell like Starburts and the Walt disney animation animals are all playfully singing and dancing around Ricci. There is even a Red Bull sermon on the mound … where Dr.Marko is standing with 2 stone tablets …. which are the Renault 2 energy recovery cells “MGU-Kor blimey these are heavy” he says😂.

Meanwhile Christian Horner is now a walt disney Chip munk and Redemption Ricci looks like Goofy. Newey has become Donald Duck with a clip board😂🤣😊🤣.

That’s how absurd it gets with the negative comments about Mercedes. But never Ferrari or Red Bull hey.

40

all f1 fans do dm.

if you are not an f1 fan i suggest you don’t pay attention to any of it.

41

Well I think the raw number is not as important if you take into account the length of time it has taken Hamilton to achieve that. I would think that Clark and Fangio had at least as good a pole position record taking into account the length of their careers.

If you take into account the number of F1 races per season then I would think they were considerably better.

42

JohnH, Lewis is fifth on the pole percentage list with 34.42% behind;

Fangio 56.86

Clark 45.83

Ascari 43.75

Senna 40.37.

43

Thanks.

44

I wonder how many people will count the ones in such a dominant car

45

Scott, do you do the same for all the drivers on the list? How many of Lewis’ poles are valid according to you?

46

It’s tosh TimW.

Most poles are in fast cars. I mean the only side issue would be rain affected Poles. That also means Lewis normally is good in rain as is the other top champions who get pole on a fast car in the wet.

The prime thing is…. the driver skill set. Fast car means jack in the hands of a mediocre driver.

47

Agree TimW.

Seems alot are sucking sour lemons .

Tooo sour to palate 😂

Maybe some Vegimite or Bavarian alcoholic brew spread will make things taste better …

Probably not. But it’s all realtive. Any other driver and its open house atthe church jumble sale 😂

48

Bk flamer, Rosberg spent as much time as Lewis in a dominant Mercedes, and his pole percentage is 14.56…..

49

So far only Ham. However Vet might join him one day. And perhaps Ric and/or Ver as well? Maybe Lec too? The more races future seasons wil have, the better the chances a fast driver in a dominant car, like the Mercedes for example, can equal that achievement.

50

WOW! get in there Charles LeClerc. Very exciting to capitalize on Hass’ struggles. Cue the constant belly aching from the Beechams Powder crowd re McLaren who have proved beyond a shadow of any doubt they can’t cut it with Mercedes, Honda and now Renault pu’s and Williams who have managed to drop like a stone from an exciting and punchy fourth to last in the peking order!

51

Magnussen (or Grosjean without the crash) could easily have placed their cars in 7th and 8th on the grid. Try and check Magnussen’s quali time for Q2! Which was much quicker than his Q3. But his first attempt in Q3 was spoiled by Grosjean’s crash as he had to slow down on that lap. And next he was blocked by Kimi Raikonnen. Kimi was asked after the quali to come to the stewards, where he was given a warning “for without a doubt”
blocking Magnussen, as they wrote in their report. And as always with the top-3 teams’ no penalty was handed out to Kimi, while the top-3 team are always quick to blame ‘the rest’ when they consider being blocked and typically also get them a penalty as result. A real shame, as Magnussen swapped multiple times fastest lap times with Grosjean and at end of Q2 only 0,040 secs separated them. But Magnussen did so without crashing, so clearly the French driver felt squeezed hard to perform better than his teammate. And with the overdrive ending in the wall as result.

52

isn’t it a shame ifs never happen?

53

What disaster for Mclaren. How come this team have Zak Brown as its head ? A marketing guy and relatively novice in F1 world. Boullier too came into F1 post 2010. These two should be booted out ASAP by Mclaren.

54

you’d break your foot trying, have you seen the size of them?

i’d put them on a strict diet first, get them down to ocon’s size, then have a go.

55

THIS! Should be a subject for some research and article by JAonF1-team after this next race, as severe bad rumors have circulated this week about how exactly these two McLaren individuals allegedly have been named by a large group of very disgruntled McLaren factory workers that have gone to Martin Whitmarsh to ask for his help to reach out to the owners Mumtalakat Holding (Bahrain Kingdom) and Mansour Ojjeh to get both Zak Brown and Eric Boullier fired for incompetence.

There is no smoke without fire!

56

alonso should be telling them what he wants from the car to be competitive but it looks like whatever he asked them t change is not bringing competitiveness of any kind.

57

It’s that time of the year now that we no longer really need to watch qualy and races. Mercedes has finally turned up the wick and will go full attack. They will dominate 90% of races going forward while Ferrari fumbles through with their strategies. Kimi won’t be any help too. He’s just there to keep the seat warm until Ferrari head honcho decides he’s had enough of listening to Seb’s second deiver advice.

The signature every big team needs to secure asap is Leclerc. He’s a one of a kind talent. As soon as he got used to F1 cars, he’s taken the same vertical learning curve that Max showed early in his career. Except Leclerc seems more level headed and makes little mistakes so far. 8th in a Sauber?! They’re supposed to be perennial back markers!

Mclaren has slumped every single weekend. Such a shame. Fernando will definitely leave F1 and it will be a sad shame. Whatever Ricci decides, DO NOT SIGN A MCLAREN CONTRACT!!!

58

@ Rockman…despite ll the early hype around Leclerc you need to remember that they are running the latest iteration Ferrari engine.

59

f1 tends to have the twists and turns so wait until the start of the second half..

60

Leclerc is already under contract with Ferrari.

61

Well said. Leclerc is currently the best thing in F1, but I would not discard Max yet. Indeed, Mercedes reloaded, for years all this show has been a travesty. The car is a monster and I am afraid the ace has been up their sleeves from the begining of the year, next races will prove that. Competition, what a joke.

62

I’ll admit to not being that impressed to hear that the French GP was to return to the Paul Ricard circuit but I’ve been proved wrong. The track seems to be proper challenge for the drivers, witnessed by the amount of spins or crashes through practice and qualifying with the barriers in easy reach in some places. I think on a circuit like this it highlights how much the drivers are pushing rather than the more modern slow corner – long straight – slow corner layouts. Just hope it serves up a decent race tomorrow rather than a field of cars trying to hyper mile and stretch 2 sets of tyres out for the duration.

I can’t help thinking that the only way to force the teams into truly racing flat out would be to reintroduce refuelling as well as the new aero regs for next year. I know that didn’t always produce stunning races in the past but it did throw up regular unexpected results.

63

I’m really enjoying Charles Leclerc’s journey, surely one that’ll lead to Ferrari. He’s fast, solid, and has his head down. I certainly prefer that approach to Mad Max’s. Anyway…

GREAT To be back in France again. It’s part of the DNA of F1 and should never have been dropped in th first place. In fact, the current run of races takes me back to the early nineties with Mansell, Senna etc. It was Monaco, then Canada, then in quick succession France, GB and Germany.

The photo I’ve included shows what I think F1 lacks a little these days….colour. Something about that Scarlett Ferrari and the multicoloured banners/adverts on the walls. Definitely looking back at races from that period, there’s more colour.

64

you mean, the exciting period when the red cars won everything?

65

Anything is better than the battery/DRS era.

66

Not sure the red cars won that much in the early nineties…the picture is from 1990. Great looking F1 car though!

67

Outstanding drive by Charles Leclerc who is looking more likely to replace Kimi at Ferrari. Valtteri Bottas almost matching Lewis’ time, therefore likely to be given another contract at Mercedes. Therefore where to for Dan Ric who obviously is not too keen on staying at RB?

68

raikkonen stepped aside for alonso to drive his ferrari without a single bad word about ferrari. we all heard those words alonso had for ferrari before he left. ferrari respect raikkonen so much i will not be surprised to see him at ferrari until vettel moves on.

69

Oh yeah… expect LeClerc to be on a different team next year, likely Ferrari, but also possibly Haas; at least one Haas driver will be going at the end of this season; don’t rule out a Ricciardo (Ric-key-ardo) change to Haas this year; I think it makes more sense than most people think, if he doesn’t in fact get the McLaren drive, which I think is the most likely scenario for him for 2019 (also may not be as ‘bad’ as some people think). The difference will be FA’s plans, if he stays, …. well, … I think the DR management team will see the ‘spear-catching’ nature of such a move, from way back!

70

Firstly: the gloves are finally off at Mercedes… just about exACTLY ON FORECAST BY… me, before the season started.

Mercedes are finished with their wily, pretending it’s a competition.

Look for Merc to solidify their advantage over the next fastest team, steadily dominating and then annihilating everybody else, (but especially Ferrari) at… Monza. By then the writing will be on the wall, and everybody will know the season’s conclusion will be in doubt only by a low probability challenge from the Merc Finn.

Kimi out of sorts… Kharma would see him win this one… we’ll see!

Since the only competition is likely to be for the third step, and with track position Vettel will be tough to beat.

The most intrigue may come from the battle at the ‘Bulls’; this race could be seen as decisive. Max was … finally… exacerbatingly slow for some… on!

It would be a problem for ANY team mate, if/when such a situation occurred.

If The Max can establish the trend (three in a row) … he’ll be tough to beat!

So, if he beats DR in this race, he’ll definitely have the momentum for Austria, and that will be tough … for the team mate.

Renault :

Clearly upward trends with this team; I believe the shedding of Red Bull, while they did indeed blow-off the longstanding… and extended… deadline to decide to go with Renault, is ultimately a blessing, and we can expect them to come up towards RB by the end of the season.

Also, Sainz, starting to pull it together at the same time as the Max.

Right now, for the ‘young guns’ with journeyman experience, these are the two to watch; within as little as two seasons we could have a Max v. Carlos WDC battle.

(you read it here first)

Carlos is coming along nicely; I rate Hulkenberg as a very strong benchmark.

The turning pint/milestone to watch for: Renault are closer to the top six than to being lapped by the top six. We could see that this weekend!

71

i’ll leave you to champion the prediction game..

72

Aveli, before reaching for the keyboard how about engaging your brain and considering if it’s adding to the discussion? You’re flooding the message board with inane sh*te.

73

PaulD, did you read the comment Aveli was replying to?

74

Dean, just about exactly on forecast by you?! That’s not how I remember it, as I recall you made an incredibly vague prediction that Mercedes would win some races, but also lose some. Why not make a more precise one and tell us which races you think they will win?

75

Please stop counting Sainz as serious Championship material. He has choked every time Alonso was close – and it wasn’t even for the win. Not enought heart.

76

Karma would see Kimi when this one ?

Why ?

He is in a great car and driving like he knows he is out next year (Ferrari strategy favouring Vettel has not helped either)…sadly on his way back to Rallying…and racing Skidoos. Leclerc is heading into Ferrari. I doubt if Vettel would be bothered if Leclerc joins. It’s the likes of Ricci and Lewis or Max he’d really worry about. The Use by Date on Kimi is now expired. The Ferrari Fridge needs a ckear out.

77

@deancassady

The mittens of fan hope will be worn again! 🙂

You’ll see Mercedes pull back again. It’s too early, they want us to watch their exploits and belive it is all glorious and organic.

Zetsche came in, so no holding back here. But they will let Ferrari have a few more to maintain the illusion a while longer.

78

Sebee, I wonder what would have to happen for you or Dean to say “my prediction was wrong, actually it looks like Meredes aren’t controlling everything”. I guess if you keep everything vague enough, and conveniently forget the ones that completely bomb out, then it shouldn’t be an issue….

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