Despite losing the lead of the race after the Second corner, Max Verstappen secured victory as the Dutch Red Bull regained the lead of the race on the penultimate lap.
It was an even getaway from the two title rivals, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, but the Dutchman went wide on the exit of turn one and gifted the lead of the race to Hamilton. The leading number 44 Mercedes managed to push out a 1.5 second lead from the Dutch Red Bull, by the end of the first lap.
In the opening laps of the French Grand Prix, many drivers were already complaining of the lack of grip and balance.
“You’re doing a great job anything is possible”Ricciardo Musconi to Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
Despite starting at the back of the pack, due to being unable to set a time in Saturday’s qualifying, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was able to claw his way up five places, by lap 10, from 19th on the grid.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, became the first driver to pit as the Monegasque swapped his mediums for the hard compound tyres.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, was ordered into the pitlane, on lap 17, as the Woking outfit attempted the undercut on Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly. However, a lap later, the Australian managed to undercut both Gasly and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
Valtteri Bottas was the first driver from the front four (Hamilton, Verstappen, himself & Perez) to make his first stop for Hard tyres on lap 18. This was followed by Verstappen a lap later.
Two laps after his teammates stop, Hamilton put the hammer down as he charged towards his tyre change. However, as the seven-time world champion raced back onto the track, the Dutch Red Bull driver managed to regain the race lead into turn one.
Although the French Grand Prix was rumoured to be a one-stop race, Verstappen veered back into the pit lane on lap 32 as the Dutchman swapped his hard tyres for another set of mediums.
On lap 44, Bottas found himself staring at mirrors full of the Dutch Red Bull as Verstappen managed to catch up to the Mercedes. But, the Finnish driver outbroke himself into turn eight, and just remained within the track limits as Verstappen set himself up for an easy drag race to turn 10.
By turn 10, on the same lap, the Dutchman got his nose infront of Bottas and the Mercedes had to lift to avoid driving wide on the exit of turn 11. As a result, Bottas was a very angry driver.
“Leave me to it.”Hamilton to his Mercedes race engineer, Peter Bonnington
Verstappen managed to chase down Hamilton with three laps to go. However, on lap 52, the Dutchman managed to retake the lead following his second stop.
The two drivers raced down the back straight and, with assistance from the Drag Reduction System, Verstappen managed to take the inside line into the turn eight chicane. While Hamilton failed to put up a worthy fight for his position. With only a lap and a half left until the end of the race, the Dutch Red Bull cruised to victory.
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – Driver of the Day & Fastest Lap (1:36.404)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)