F1 French GP Preview
Time to be bold at Magny Cours!
French GP - Preview
Following the two races on North American lands, which saw Lewis Hamilton take his maiden win in Canada and a subsequent victory in the United States, the Formula 1 circus now returns to the Old Continent.
More precisely, France will be hosting the season's eighth round this week-end on the Magny Cours circuit - most likely the last time a Grand Prix will be presented on the track as it is widely believed the event will be moved to the Paris region.
Up to this point, Hamilton's run has been unprecedented for a rookie: seven podiums in seven races. His current tally of two victories bring him at par with double World Champion and McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso, yet his string of constant podium finishes place him in the lead of the championship by a full 10 points.
The overall results are just as good for the McLaren team, which has always managed to bring both its cars across the finish line since the beginning of the season, accomplishing three 1-2's in the process. The British team has solidly turned the page on last year's lack of success, when it was not able to claim victory on a single race for the first time in a decade as reliability issues and bad luck plagued almost every effort.
The grey cloud is above Fernando Alonso's head, who must be thinking hard about Hamilton's lead in the points, even if he is next in the rankings. With McLaren's reliability and the rookie's talent, the struggle to the top will be quite a challenge.
Similar story for Ferrari and its drivers. After a strong start, both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen have since fallen a bit behind, incapable of contesting their rivals' performances.
The solution for Alonso, Massa and Raikkonen seems to head in the same direction: it's time to start taking risks if either one wants to get ahead of Hamilton's pace. Grabbing pole position, aggressive driving, the calculated risk of an additional pit stop – all must be considered to retake the lead.
Behind the battling Silver Arrows and red cars, the BMW Sauber team is gearing up, with some analysts considering that it could regularly beat Ferrari before the end of the season thanks to its well-planned development programme. Meanwhile, Renault is slowly recovering from its slip down the grid.
With many new aerodynamic changes being fitted on the cars for the French event, a few surprises might appear. Honda in particular is reported to be in much better condition in that regard, as last week's test sessions showed relevant pace improvement. It now remains to be seen if test results will transform into race results......................