2022 France Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Ferrari and their driver's constant ability to grab defeat from the jaws of victory is totally ruining any semblance of a champioship battle for us fans.
EVENT: Sold out crowds cheering everything. Nearly 100% of them stuck around for the F2 races and break out in a spontaneous singing of the French national anthem when Theo Pouchaire did well. These are real racing fans. Not the lot the Dutch are bringing with them lately.
TRACK: Interesting this is the first time this year with the new technical rules that the dreaded dirty air caused problems for following cars.
QUALIFYING: Leclerc gets a tow from his lame duck teammate to grab pole, Red Bull follows, Norris splits the Mercedes, while Ricciardo doesn't even make it to Q3, Magnussen plays spoiler, and Schumacher is bummed out by track limits.
RACE: Even Red Bull was disappointed they weren't able to put on an exciting race. Once Leclerc crashed out, it was over.
START: Hamilton jumps Perez, Alonso gets one of his rocket starts, Ocon bangs the curb and then bangs Tsunoda, and Leclerc pulls away cleanly.
VERSTAPPEN: Maybe he would have. Maybe he would not have. Either way, Max sure said, thanks, I'll take that.
PEREZ: An off weekend, when he should have been second.
HAMILTON: Lewis is the sixth driver to make the 300 start club. And no one has ever won an F1 race once they got to 300 starts.
RUSSELL: Talk about a well timed move.
MERCEDES: Despite a double podium finish, which circumstances helped them get, their lap speed is still well off pace, in qualifying (really badly) or the race (not so badly).
LECLERC: Let's be brutally honest. You cannot keep making driving mistakes, and we're not just talking in the race but in qualifying as well, and be considered a championship caliber driver.
SAINZ: We have to ask the question. Is Carlos the better choice for Ferrari to put all their weight behind? Much more consistent and reliable, even if at times not as quick as Leclerc. Asking for a friend.
FERRARI: Their strategy game continues to bring endless humorous entertainment.
ALPINE: They now jump ahead of McLaren thanks to Alonso...
MCLAREN: ...who we can't help think is behind held back by Ricciardo.
ASTON MARTIN: That was a very, very interesting "battle" for 10th and the last point between teammates. We would love to be a fly on the wall -- or Netflix cameras -- during that debriefing.
GASLY: The misery just continues.
ALBON: Impressive again.
HAAS: Terrible tire degradation as they got considerably slower as a stint went on.
ZHOU: Bad luck again.
F2: Japanese driver Ayumu Iwasa wins his first F2 race in a dominating performance in the feature race after starting second. Kiwi Liam Lawson took the sprint win.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Mistake.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 32 -- The number of points Charles Leclerc has admitted to losing due to unforced driver errors this year.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Aston Martin's grand prix debut was in France 100 years ago. Two cars were entered in the 1922 French GP held on public roads in Strasbourg, driven by two Englishmen, Clive Gallop (retired after 30 laps) and Louis Zborowski (retired after 19 laps), both due to engine failures. "Count" Zborowski is best known for his creation, the Chitty-Bang-Bangs cars, which were the inspiration for Ian Fleming's children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was later turned into a popular musical film.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: The BWT Alpine F1 Team tweet announcing Fernando Alonso breaking the F1 record for most career laps completed at 18,672. And counting.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: The all too often heard refrain from Charles Leclerc after yet another self induced driver error, "Aaaaargh!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Colton Herta got to test a year old McLaren F1 car earlier in the week, and like anybody who first tries an F1 machine, his reaction was quite predictable, "What a car. What a car to drive!"
SCHEDULE: One more race before the summer break. Hungaroring will truly be a test of the new technical regulations to promote passing. And the ability for Mercedes to make progress on their porpoising issue on this bumpy track.
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