French Grand Prix

2019 French Grand Prix Preview

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton extended his advantage at the top of the World Championship standings to 29 points with a controversial success in the Canadian Grand Prix a fortnight ago. It looked like Sebastian Vettel had claimed his first victory of the 2019 Formula One campaign but he was denied the win after a steward’s enquiry following the race.

But that was then and this is now – all of the focus and attention is on this weekend’s Grand Prix event in France. Hamilton is the early market leader with most bookmakers, with many firms going odds on for the Mercedes man to assert his dominance at Circuit Paul Ricard. At the time of writing, Betway are offering Evens for Hamilton to secure his sixth win in 2019.

Hamilton dominated last year’s race and a second successive French Grand Prix victory looks likely. The British driver looks destined to go close in his pursuit of a sixth world title and it would take a brave man to back against him here. With his well-documented engine issues a thing of the past, Hamilton is consistently fighting for top spot on the podium.

However, anything can happen in sport and it would be foolish to put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to the French Grand Prix. In fact, there hasn’t been a repeat winner in back-to-back years since Michael Schumacher emerged victorious in 2002. Without a doubt, Hamilton is worthy of his place in the betting but punters should be wary of an upset.

Next best with the bookmakers is Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. After failing to win a single race in 2018, Bottas already has two victories under his belt this season and plenty of punters will fancy the Finnish driver to pip Hamilton to the world title. Ladbrokes are pricing Bottas at 15/2 to secure a shock World Championship success.

First and foremost, Bottas will be focused on this weekend’s French Grand Prix. He laboured to a disappointing seventh placed finish in last year’s race and Mercedes will be demanding a much-improved performance this time around. Expect Bottas to push for pole position in qualifying on Saturday and 11/4 with Betfred to start from pole is a decent price.

We’re now seven races into the 2019 Formula One campaign and Mercedes have won seven races. With that in mind, motorsport betting punters will be tempted by the 3/10 available with 888sport for either Hamilton or Bottas to win the French Grand Prix this weekend. We could see Mercedes celebrating another 1-2 come Sunday evening…

But Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will be looking to put an end to Mercedes’ incredible run of victories. The German was left frustrated by the decision in Montreal and he didn’t exactly hide his feelings post-race. Vettel will be fired up and ready to go all out to try and secure a first Grand Prix success of the 2019 season.

max verstappen

Max Verstappen

According to the latest betting odds with Sporting Bet, Vettel is a 9/2 chance to claim victory in the French Grand Prix this weekend. With the full backing of Ferrari, he is likely to push from start to finish after his misfortune in Canada. If anyone can defy the odds to break the period of Mercedes dominance, it is four-time world champion Vettel.

After a blistering start to 2019, Charles Leclerc has fallen behind his Ferrari teammate in the pecking order. At one stage, Leclerc was vying to take over as the team’s number one driver but Vettel has raised his game in recent months. Still just 21 years old, Leclerc has a bright future in the sport though and Ferrari won’t be hitting the panic button just yet.

For Leclerc, a podium finish this weekend would signal an excellent result. Coral are going 19/20 for Leclerc to finish in the top three on Sunday evening and this could turn out to be one of the best French Grand Prix betting tips of the week. Leclerc is still very hit-and-miss when it comes to performing against Formula One’s elite names and he is by no means a certainty to feature at the business end of the race.

Outside Mercedes and Ferrari, there is no real standout contender. Should one of the ‘big four’ fail, Max Verstappen may be the driver waiting in the wings to swoop in. Labelled as Formula One’s next big superstar, Verstappen has already achieved so much in such a short space of time. With two podium finishes already this season, he could feature prominently.

The 5/2 available with Betway for Verstappen to finish in the top three is worth considering despite Red Bull Racing’s struggles in recent months. Capable of giving anyone a torrid time at his brilliant best, Verstappen is one of the sport’s more aggressive drivers but his style is exciting and entertaining – hence his fan favourite status across the globe.

If we’re looking for an outsider to set the fastest lap of the race, Verstappen is worth a small punt. However, it may prove prudent to look at Pierre Gasly. Currently available at 7/2 with Unibet, Gasly has been firing out quick laps for most of the 2019 campaign. His speed in the closing stages of races has attracted some of Formula One’s bigger teams and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him get a move ahead of 2020.

Formula One fans, strap yourselves in – it could be a thrilling ride. With a circuit that favours straight line speed, we could see plenty of overtaking at the French Grand Prix this weekend and Mercedes will be quietly confident of getting the job done. Bottas is due a big effort but it is almost impossible to look past Hamilton at this moment in time.

The Mercedes star looks destined to make it six world titles later this year and Evens for the British driver to finish top of the podium once again is a solid price. Punters looking for value ahead of the French Grand Prix weekend should consider Pierre Gasly in the fastest lap odds or Max Verstappen to sneak a top three finish.

RACE WINNER: Lewis Hamilton (Evens with Betway)

PODIUM FINISH: Max Verstappen (5/2 with Betway)

FASTEST LAP: Pierre Gasly (7/2 with Unibet)

About French Grand Prix

History

One of the oldest motorsport events on the planet, the inaugural French Grand Prix race was held in 1906. Since then, France has hosted 87 Formula One races across an incredible 16 venues – a sensational statistic. In terms of history and prestige, the French Grand Prix ranks highly with Formula One followers across the globe.

Prior to the 2018 Formula One campaign, the French Grand Prix had been off the calendar for a decade; largely down to financial circumstances and lack of suitable venues for present day motorsport. However, it made a return ahead of the 2018 season and Formula One fans will be looking forward to the 2019 race on June 23rd.

Now held at Circuit Paul Ricard near Marseille, Formula One novices should not confuse this event with the Monaco Grand Prix. The race has a rich history in motor racing and you’d be hard pressed to find many Formula One fans who want this particular race to be taken off the calendar. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the French Grand Prix…

Winners

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher has an incredible eight French Grand Prix wins to his name – two clear of Alain Prost’s tally of six victories. The German won this race four times in the space of five years in the mid-1990s and Ferrari will be hoping that Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc can follow in Schumacher’s footsteps at the 2019 event.

With 17 race wins, Ferrari have been the most successful team in French Grand Prix history – which is hardly a surprise taking Schumacher’s record into account. They failed to inspire confidence in the race last year though, with Kimi Raikkonen snatching third and Vettel back in fifth. Lewis Hamilton won this race for Mercedes in 2018 and they look primed to finish top of the podium once again after winning seven from seven so far this season.

At the time of writing, Hamilton is priced at evens with Betway to claim back-to-back French Grand Prix wins later this month. Mercedes have been inch-perfect so far in 2019, recording wins in all seven Grand Prix races on the calendar. With that in mind, backing against 2018 champion Hamilton or teammate Valtteri Bottas would be foolish to say the least.

Fastest Lap

Speaking of Bottas, the Mercedes man set the fastest ever lap at the French Grand Prix in 2018 and plenty of punters will fancy him to show blistering speed in Marseille again this time around. Beating Hamilton will be his primary objective but recording the fastest lap time for the second year in succession will also be on his mind.

Recording a fiery lap time of 1:34:225, Bottas will be a popular bet with Formula One fans to do the same this year and William Hill customers will be keeping a close eye on the latest motorsport betting odds ahead of this year’s race.

With over a decade off the calendar, it would be unfair to look at the pre-2018 French Grand Prix’s fastest lap times. The dynamics of Formula One have changed somewhat since then, with rules changes and car design allowing much quicker speeds. Watch this space, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the fastest lap time smashed in 2019.

Interesting Facts

french grand prix circuit

French Grand Prix Circuit

As previously mentioned, the French Grand Prix is regarded as the oldest in the sport. There is a rich history of motorsport throughout the country – Formula One has always been at the forefront of French sport. Expect another memorable race down in Marseille on June 23rd.

The course itself encourages fast straight line speed; this is the race you want to watch for entertainment and overtaking. In fact, the French Grand Prix circuit is ones of the older tracks in existence and that more traditional style of racing venue usually encourages an exciting race style for competitors.

The Future

With the French Grand Prix confirmed on the Formula One calendar until 2022, there are no immediate plans to replace the race. Having said that, organisers haven’t confirmed if there is a contract extension in the offering so Formula One fans are currently in limbo over this great race.

Without a doubt, the majority of supporters will want the French Grand Prix to remain on the F1 calendar. A traditional track and history surrounding the event, the French Grand Prix appeals to the masses and ticks all the right boxes – both for new Formula One fans and for older followers of the sport.

Excitement and entertainment when it comes to overtaking are only going to help appeal to younger viewers. Marseille is a fantastic venue to host the French Grand Prix and long may it continue. Let’s hope for an exciting yet safe 2019 event and fingers crossed for a positive future for motor racing in France and beyond.