Hamilton takes French Grand Prix victory

Lewis Hamilton reclaimed the championship lead following a masterclass drive at Paul Ricard while title rival Sebastian Vettel clashed with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.

Hamilton finished comfortably clear of the Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen to move into a 14-point lead over Vettel, who came home off the podium in fifth.

That was one place ahead of Bottas, who was spun around by Vettel at Turn 1 on a chaotic opening lap.

Vettel got a great start and drew alongside Bottas on the run into the first corner, but backed out on the inside only to lock his front-left and clatter into Bottas.

That broke Vettel’s front wing and gave Bottas a left-rear puncture, with both limping back to the pits to change to soft tyres – Vettel tried to carry on racing into Turns 3 and 4 and lightly tagged Romain Grosjean’s Haas, although both continued.

At the same corner, Pierre Gasly lost the rear of his Toro Rosso and slid into the back of Esteban Ocon’s Force India, putting both French drivers out of their home Grand Prix on lap one.

That prompted a safety car, under which Hamilton led from Verstappen, who had taken to the run-off to avoid the Bottas-Vettel clash, and Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr, who swept around the outside of Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 2 when the Red Bull ran deep into the first corner.

Hamilton started to build an immediate lead when racing resumed on lap five, with Verstappen a comfortable second as Ricciardo had to wait a few laps to reclaim third from Sainz.

The Renault slipped back further as Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a trip to the run-off to the avoid the first-corner mess.

He ran fifth for the next dozen laps or so before Vettel, who had switched to soft tyres and carved his way through the order after rejoining the tail of the field behind the safety car, made it back into the top five.

Vettel’s strong pace on fresh tyres briefly put him in a podium position when Ricciardo and Raikkonen stopped around mid-distance, but with his tyres fading away – and a five-second time penalty hanging over his head for the Bottas collision – he was a sitting duck.

After half a dozen laps Ricciardo, on softs, took back the podium spot by holding a tighter line through the fast double-right at Turns 10 and 11, and a further six laps later Raikkonen used fresh supersofts to clear his team-mate for fourth.

Raikkonen used his tyre advantage to arrow in on Ricciardo with seven laps remaining, then launched a couple of unsuccessful attacks at the outside of Turns 1 and then Turn 3.

He made the move stick by drafting the Red Bull down the back straight into the Turn 8 chicane to steal the final podium place.

Ricciardo finished half a minute clear of Vettel, who was struggling with tyres but gifted a free pitstop when Mercedes called in Bottas for an unknown reason.

That dropped Bottas down the order but he recovered back to seventh on fresh supersofts as Kevin Magnussen resisted late pressure to bag sixth for Haas.

Both drivers passed Sainz in the closing stages as he slowed with a reported loss of power, although he managed to hold onto eighth, one place ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg at Renault’s home race.

Qualifying star Charles Leclerc completed the point scorers for Sauber having run inside the top six after the first lap action.

Lance Stroll was a late non-finisher after his front-left tyre gave up at the high-speed Signes right-hander, having completed 47 laps following an early stop under the safety car.

Sergio Perez was the only other retiree, having challenged for the points before a suspected engine problem, though Fernando Alonso stopped on the final lap reporting a suspension issue while running last. He had earlier spun while being overtaken by Vettel.

So a perfect Sunday afternoon drive for Lewis Hamilton. Scoring victory at the sport’s return back to the French Grand Prix after 10 years. Can Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari strike back? The Austria and British races are next up. Game on.

French Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1h30m11.385s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 53 7.090s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 53 25.888s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 53 34.736s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 53 1m01.935s
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 53 1m19.364s
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 1m20.632s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 53 1m27.184s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 53 1m31.989s
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 53 1m33.873s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 52 1 Lap
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
14 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1 Lap
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 52 1 Lap
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 50 3 Laps
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 48 Tyre
– Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 27 Power Unit
– Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 0 Collision
– Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 0 Collision

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 145
2 Sebastian Vettel 131
3 Daniel Ricciardo 96
4 Valtteri Bottas 92
5 Kimi Raikkonen 83
6 Max Verstappen 68
7 Nico Hulkenberg 34
8 Fernando Alonso 32
9 Carlos Sainz 28
10 Kevin Magnussen 27
11 Pierre Gasly 18
12 Sergio Perez 17
13 Esteban Ocon 11
14 Charles Leclerc 11
15 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Marcus Ericsson 2
18 Brendon Hartley 1
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 237
2 Ferrari 214
3 Red Bull-Renault 164
4 Renault 62
5 McLaren-Renault 40
6 Force India-Mercedes 28
7 Haas-Ferrari 27
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
9 Sauber-Ferrari 13
10 Williams-Mercedes 4

9 thoughts to “Hamilton takes French Grand Prix victory”

  1. French Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Mercedes brought their delayed engine upgrade to France, complete with “added goodness” and Lewis Hamilton took full advantage on Sunday, converting pole position into a commanding victory in the returning French Grand Prix as his chief title rival Sebastian Vettel made life hard for himself…

    Hamilton was back to his brilliant best in qualifying and proceeded to dominate the race, crossing the line seven seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completing the podium. With Vettel finishing down in fifth, Hamilton convincingly reclaimed the lead in the drivers’ standings.

    The world champion avoided the chaos that unravelled behind him at the start, with Vettel locking up and sliding into Valtteri Bottas, spinning the Finn’s Mercedes and puncturing his tyre while breaking his own front wing. There were groans in the grandstands as further back, Pierre Gasly got out of shape and clattered into fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon, forcing both out on the spot.

    With debris scattered across the track, the Safety Car was called into action with Hamilton leading from Verstappen, who bailed out to avoid the chaos and rejoined in second, and Renault’s Carlos Sainz, who had gained a remarkable six places. At the restart, Hamilton comfortably retained the lead.

    Vettel and Bottas, meanwhile, were on a charge. The duo, having been fitted with a new front wing and right rear tyre respectively plus fresh soft tyres, carved their way up through the field. As they would not theoretically have to stop again, after fitting soft tyres, they soon found themselves in the top 10 as others dived into the pits to rid themselves of the ultrasofts or supersofts.

    Up front, Verstappen was the first of the leaders to blink, diving into the pits for soft tyres. Crucially, he rejoined ahead of Vettel, who had battled up to fourth. His team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who had passed Sainz for third, pitted a couple of laps later, couldn’t repeat the trick and rejoined in fifth.

    Noting Vettel’s good progress, it was ‘Hammertime’ for Hamilton, the four-time world champion pumping in a succession of fastest laps to rapidly quadruple his lead to around eight seconds. It meant that by the time he pitted, he could comfortably rejoin ahead of Verstappen, momentarily handing the lead to Raikkonen, who had chosen to run deep into the race.

    When the Ferrari driver pitted he took on the supersoft tyres, with all of his rivals on the more durable soft rubber, and rejoined in fifth, ahead of Bottas, who Mercedes reported was running with damage to the floor that subsequently led to a loss of downforce and shift in balance.

    Ricciardo made the most of his fresh tyres to outbrake Vettel into Turn 11 and snatch the final podium position back. The German then lost another position to his team mate Raikkonen, who was a couple of seconds a lap quicker on the supersofts.

    Mercedes opted to pit Bottas and fit the supersofts, but they had a problem removing the right rear that significantly delayed him. The Finn rejoined in ninth, losing three places. Vettel followed suit on the next lap, but took the ultrasofts and his five-second time penalty for colliding with Bottas, and still stayed fifth to set up a grandstand finish.

    Both Ferraris were lighting up the timesheets, but while Vettel was too far adrift, Raikkonen smelt a podium as he homed in on Ricciardo, who was struggling with front wing damage from debris, according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner. The Finn quickly caught the Australian and after swarming all over the Red Bull’s gearbox, he pulled the trigger into the chicane.

    Ricciardo took fourth, well clear of Vettel, while Sainz was set for a brilliant sixth before suffering a power problem with three laps to go. Kevin Magnussen in the Haas and Bottas slipped by but Sainz held on to eighth, ahead of Renault team mate Nico Hulkenberg.

    Charles Leclerc, who had made Q3 for the first time in his career, rose as high as sixth at the start and though his challenge faded, he drove brilliantly to take 10th for Sauber – his fourth points finish in five races. Romain Grosjean was the best-placed home driver, finishing just outside the points for Haas in 11th, the Frenchman having picked up a five-second time penalty for contact with compatriot Ocon on the run to Turn 1 at the start. His wait for a first point of 2018 continues.

    Force India’s Sergio Perez retired with an engine problem, while Williams’ Lance Stroll’s front-left tyre failed with a couple of laps remaining, spraying debris across the track and sparking a virtual safety car that ended with just half a lap to go.

    “I’m so happy for England, it’s a beautiful Sunday,” said Hamilton on team radio as he crossed the line, referencing England’s commanding 6-1 victory over Panama in the football World Cup earlier in the day.

    It was win number three of 2018 for Hamilton, who now leads the championship by 14 points from Vettel, while Mercedes’ advantage over Ferrari in the constructors’ standings swelled by four points to 23 with 13 races still remaining.

  2. This was a disappointing race for the French racers Ocon and Gasly. Formula1.com provides the news story.

    There were three home drivers on the grid for the first race in France since 2008 – but unfortunately for the locals only one of them survived a chaotic opening lap at Le Castellet…

    The drama involving the French trio began when Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Haas’s Romain Grosjean clashed approaching the first corner in an incident for which the latter driver was subsequently handed a five-second time penalty.

    Both men survived the collision, but later around the lap Ocon, who was carrying some damage, clashed with his other countryman – Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly – with both cars suffering heavy damage and being eliminated on the spot. The incident is being investigated post-race by the stewards.

    With neither driver having raced on home soil before, both Gasly and Ocon were understandably gutted to suffer such early exits – and both had clear feelings on who was to blame….

    “I had a good start – I was alongside Romain for half of the straight and already I was on the edge of the track, one wheel outside the white line,” explained Ocon.

    “He had nobody on his side on the right and suddenly he turned into me. It was a massive hit which launched me on the kerb and damaged my side. I think I would have retired from that actually. And then I keep going and in Turn 3 Pierre ends the job.

    “It’s been so long since I wanted to race here. We prepared very hard and it ends after 3 corners. It’s just silly.”

    Gasly, however, was adamant he’d done nothing wrong, instead pointing the finger at his rival.

    “I was behind Esteban and I saw he had damage on the car,” explained Gasly. “And then in Turn 3 I went on the inside and thought he had seen me and would leave me space, and he just took the corner like there was nobody (there) and it was impossible to avoid the contact.

    “I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose, but it’s just a very difficult moment now, especially to have a collusion between two French drivers of the comeback of the French GP.”

    Grosjean, who also crashed in qualifying did at least reach the chequered flag, though the 32-year-old finished a lap down in P11, taking his pointless streak to 12 races.

    No doubt all three Frenchman will be glad there’s another race next weekend at which to quickly make amends…

  3. Niki Lauda was left feeling unimpressed by Sebastian Vettel’s first lap collision with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas which resulted in the Ferrari only receiving a five-second time penalty. Lauda slams Vettel penalty as too lenient. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Mercedes chief Niki Lauda has slammed the decision by the FIA to hand Sebastian Vettel just a five-second penalty for his first corner collision with Valtteri Bottas in the French Grand Prix.

    Vettel locked up going into Turn 1 and collided with the back of Bottas, hitting the Finn’s left rear tyre and pitching the Mercedes off the track and into a spin.

    The FIA looked at the incident and ruled that Vettel was guilty of causing the crash, handing the German a five-second penalty that he served at his second pitstop.

    But after Vettel was able to recover to finish fifth – two places ahead of Bottas – Lauda was far from impressed about how things played out.

    Asked by Sky F1 if a 1-2 had been on the cards for Mercedes, its non-executive chairman said: “I think we could have done, and why Vettel only gets five seconds for this enormous mistake I don’t really understand. It is too little.

    “There is more time they can give them. That is what I mean. Five seconds is nothing. He destroyed the whole race for himself and Bottas.”

    Lauda’s comments came after Hamilton was clear about Vettel being at fault for the clash when he watched a replay prior to the podium ceremony.

    “Jeez, he took him right out,” said Hamilton was he was filmed. “Oh, man, that’s crazy.”

    When asked later by Motorsport.com about what he felt about the incident, Hamilton said: “I’ve not seen it in detail but I saw something played back there.

    “For me, I’m disappointed because we had a chance to get a one-two finish. That’s the ultimate goal within the team and Valtteri had done a solid job this weekend, as he has all year.

    “We all went into Turn 1 as hard as we could. When someone destroys your race and then gets a tap on the hand, pretty much… they shouldn’t be able to come back and finish ahead.”

    Bottas himself was quite calm about the crash after the race, with his recovery drive having been compromised by floor damage sustained in the incident.

    “We were going kind of side by side to the braking zone and I went for the outside,” said the Finn.

    “I braked quite a bit later, left enough room for him to be inside still, but I think he just went and hit me. I got a puncture and from the puncture I got a decent damage from the floor which really compromised the race.”

  4. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says he had “nowhere to go” in Bottas crash on the opening lap. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel says he had “nowhere to go” in his Turn 1 collision with Valtteri Bottas at the French Grand Prix, because his start was “too good”.

    The Ferrari Formula 1 driver made a better getaway than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Bottas on the front row, but he ended up tucked behind Hamilton in the braking zone for the first corner, where he locked up and slid into Bottas, spinning the Finn and damaging his own front wing.

    Vettel was given a five-second penalty for causing the incident and recovered to finish the race fifth, and while he accepted it was his error, he said there was nothing else he could do in that position.

    “My start was too good,” Vettel told TV crews. “Then I ended up with nowhere to go.

    “It was my mistake, I tried to brake early and get out of it, but I had no room and no grip, being so close to the car in front and also next to me.

    “Valtteri tried to get his position back [on the outside], which is fair enough, but then I had nowhere to go – the turn goes left.

    “I tried to slow down but with that little grip, I could only open the radius [of the steering] and that meant I had to unfortunately make contact to Valtteri.”

    Vettel believes he could have challenged Hamilton for the win, but he said the nature of his race following the incident made it difficult to judge what was possible.

    At his pitstop for repairs on the opening lap he took a set of soft tyres for a long stint, before then stopping again for a short final stint on ultrasofts.

    When asked if Ferrari had the pace to win, he said: “I haven’t seen enough of the race, you have seen more than me.

    “We had good pace, I tried to hammer through the field to recover and damaged the tyres, therefore it is a bit difficult to say.

    “You are always on different tyres and in the end I had a lot fresher tyres [than the rest].

    “I think we had decent pace to at least go with Mercedes.”

    Vettel now trails Hamilton, who won the race comfortably, by 14 points in the drivers’ standings.

  5. Daniel Ricciardo says his hopes of a podium finish in the French Grand Prix were dashed after his car was “wounded” by damage sustained to his front wing.

    The Australian had been running third, a few seconds behind teammate Max Verstappen, ahead of the tyre change phase of the race.

    But during the stop, his team discovered that parts of his front wing had come away and, almost immediately, Ricciardo’s pace began to suffer as he encountered understeer because of the loss of downforce.

    In the end, Ricciardo fell away from his teammate and was overtaken in the closing stages of the race by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

    Speaking about the race, Ricciardo told TV crews: “Disappointed I guess. We had pretty good pace towards the end of that first stint and we were catching Max, and pulling away from Kimi at the time.

    “Then when I pitted, the boys said the front left part of the wing was damaged and they think it happened just two laps before the pitstop.

    “I started to all of a sudden get quite a lot of understeer. I don’t know if it was a failure or we hit some debris and that broke it.

    “Already with the soft tyre we were struggling when we left the pits, and then a few laps later the team said the right part broke, so both parts identically seemed to break. Whether it was a failure or debris I don’t know yet.

    “But it happened and we were slow because of that. We had a lot less downforce and understeering, so with Kimi he was always going to catch us with that pace…we were a wounded car from just before the first pitstop.”

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky that the team did not know if the front wing parts had come unbonded due to an impact or something else.

    “The top two elements of the flap became ‘disbonded’,” he said. “I think maybe some debris or something like that has hit it.

    “But it has been a good haul of points for the team today would have been nice to have both of them on the podium.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  6. Renault’s Carlos Sainz says VSC saved points finish after MGU-K failure. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Carlos Sainz believes the virtual safety car spell at the end of the French Grand Prix rescued a points finish for him after his Renault Formula 1 car’s MGU-K failed.

    The Spaniard was on course to finish sixth at Paul Ricard, having run as high as third early on after avoiding the incidents in the opening few corners.

    But he fell to eighth after complaining of “no power” on the radio, and only avoided slipping further back because the next few laps were completed under virtual safety car conditions following Lance Stroll’s tyre blowout at Signes.

    While the race briefly went back to green flag conditions just before the finish, Sainz was able to hang on without losing more ground, despite missing what he believes was 160 horsepower.

    When asked about the virtual safety car, Sainz told TV crews: “I owe that… it saved us the points finish.

    “It’s very difficult to digest, this P8. It’s a good result, but when you are the whole race running P6, easily, comfortably, then suddenly five laps to the end this happens, I feel bad for the team, and for myself.

    “It’s a shame, because it was the perfect weekend. A sixth place after a perfect qualy, a perfect start, very good pace all race.

    “Then finding yourself with this problem, knowing how hard it is to score points, is a shame.

    “It’s a shame for the team as well because we deserved this sixth place at home.”

    Sainz’s MGU-K was on its final race, so was due to be replaced by Renault for the next grand prix in Austria anyway.

    The Red Bull loanee enjoyed his brief spell among the leaders, even if it was inevitable he would fall back.

    “It happened last time in Barcelona 2016 that I got a really good start and got into the podium places,” he said.

    “It was a while since I was last in those places. I enjoyed it. It didn’t last very long, but I tried my best.”

  7. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen hits out at media after Sebastian Vettel crash. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Max Verstappen has hit out at the criticism Formula 1 drivers receive for mistakes like Sebastian Vettel’s in the French Grand Prix.

    Vettel hit Valtteri Bottas at the first corner of the Paul Ricard race, damaging both cars and forcing them into the pits before mounting a fightback.

    In the post-race conference, the top three drivers – Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen – were asked by Motorsport.com about Vettel’s clash and the penalty he received that allowed him to finish fifth, two places ahead of Bottas.

    Verstappen replied jokily, saying: “I think next time you see Seb, maybe you should tell him to change his style, because honestly it’s not acceptable.

    “That’s what they said to me in the beginning of the season so I think they should do the same [to him].

    “And of course, Seb shouldn’t do anything, and just drive again, and learn from this, and go on.

    “That’s my advice to everyone in this room.”

    Verstappen’s comments were misinterpreted by some as criticism of Vettel.

    He was pressed on his answer later by television broadcasters, and made it clear he was frustrated with drivers getting criticised for making mistakes.

    Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Verstappen said: “We are all human. I hope that when we get to Austria the journalists won’t ask him if he’s going to change his approach, because that’s what I’ve heard for so many races and it really annoys me.”

    Verstappen said his frustration was over “all of the stupid comments on social media, journalists”.

    “It’s really, really stupid,” he added. “I’m not going to hold back on it because I really feel like that.”

    Verstappen’s run of incidents at the start of 2018 left the youngster under intense scrutiny, with suggestions from his team and from pundits that he should change his approach.

    He told Sky: “You have to learn from mistakes, but you can’t change your approach.

    “You can fine-tune it, but ‘change your style’, all these sorts of things, it’s nonsense.”

    Verstappen was credited by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner with a slightly modified approach in the previous race in Canada, where Verstappen finished third.

    After scoring his second consecutive podium in France, Verstappen said he has not changed his approach and suspects Vettel will not get the same negativity he received.

    Asked about getting treated differently when drivers are criticised, Verstappen said: “They shouldn’t do it at all. Mistakes happen, and it happens to the best of us, as you can see today.

    “It just makes me angry, because for sure it won’t be as bad on him as it was for me.

    “All the time they came to me [saying] that I should change my approach and all these stupid comments.

    “But I didn’t change a thing, and now everything is going right. At the end of the day they will never get the last laugh because I know what to do. It’s just annoying.”

  8. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso commented that his radio apathy was prompted by “overexcited” from the team. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso felt his McLaren Formula 1 team got “overexcited” on the radio during a French Grand Prix in which he was on course to finish last.

    Alonso ultimately pitted from the back of the field on the final lap with a rear suspension problem.

    He had taken on new tyres during the first-lap safety car in a bid to run to the end but made little progress and returned to the back after stopping for ultrasofts in a fruitless attempt to set the fastest race lap.

    Early in the race, Alonso’s engineer Will Joseph was heard over team radio informing him of the prospect of rain to come and that there was a chance Carlos Sainz Jr – then running fifth – would drop behind him when he pitted.

    But Alonso fell away from the higher midfield group and later declared on the radio that he “didn’t care too much” what happened in the race.

    Asked afterwards to clarify the radio conversations, Alonso said he had just felt the team was being unrealistic.

    “On the radio the team was definitely overexcited, telling me the gaps with the fifth guy, the sixth guy,” he said.

    “I was last after the safety car and I had a problem with the brakes overheating, I had one set of tyres for the whole race because we stopped on lap one to fit the yellow tyres so I think it was a defensive race.

    “It was not frustration but we know that this weekend we’ve been quite uncompetitive.”

    Alonso said he had been “on the back foot” from the outset because none of the drivers who had dodged the first-lap accidents by going over run-off areas were penalised.

    “From the start we had to avoid a lot of accidents in front of us,” he said.

    “People seemed to shortcut the circuit and nothing happened. We stayed on the circuit and we became last doing that.”

    He then spun while battling with Sebastian Vettel shortly after the restart and felt the Ferrari driver should have given him more space.

    “It worked out well for him this time, but other times it won’t work out so well,” Alonso suggested.

    Paul Ricard was McLaren’s least competitive weekend of a so-far poor 2018 season, with both cars eliminated in Q1 and Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne only finishing 12th.

  9. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly have both been reprimanded for their accident on the opening lap of Formula 1’s French Grand Prix.

    Toro Rosso driver Gasly looked to challenge down the inside of Ocon at the Turn 3 right-hander but lost the car under braking when the Force India driver darted to the right.

    Sideways on corner entry, Gasly hit the right rear of Ocon’s VJM11, both cars retiring after the incident.

    Both Gasly and Ocon were summoned to the stewards in the aftermath and were subsequently handed their first respective reprimands of the season.

    “The Stewards reviewed video evidence, heard from the driver of car 10 (Pierre Gasly), the driver of car 31 (Esteban Ocon) and the team representatives,” the decision read.

    “The driver of car 31 was optimistic in his move from the left of the track across to the apex of the corner.

    “The driver of car 10 was also overly optimistic in his late braking into the corner.

    “The Stewards are of the view that both drivers made errors which contributed to the collision.”

    Speaking after the race, Gasly suggested his compatriot didn’t notice him going for the overtake at Turn 3.

    “He came completely from the left, he didn’t see me, and he came across the track to take the apex. I didn’t have anywhere to go so I couldn’t avoid a collision.

    “I saw that he hadn’t seen me and he was going to cross completely to the inside, so I tried to brake even more – I could see already what was going to happen.

    “I tried to cut as much on the inside as possible but I couldn’t disappear.”

    Ocon, meanwhile, reckoned that the hit from Gasly was not the decisive moment in his short race, as his car had already been damaged in a clash with Romain Grosjean on the run down to Turn 1.

    Haas driver Grosjean squeezed Ocon to the left side of the track, and was assessed a five-second time penalty and two penalty points on his license for making “a sudden and significant move to the left” that led to the collision.

    “I took a good start, I was alongside Romain, I had one wheel already over the white line so I was already on the edge of the track,” Ocon recalled.

    “There was nothing, nobody on the [other] side of Romain and I got a massive hit, so from that I think I would’ve retired already, the hit was so big that all my side and probably the radiator were damaged.

    “And after that, Pierre lost it on the brake and hit me from the back.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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