Kimi Raikkonen has more French Grand Prix experience than any other current driver, Lewis Hamilton has a 100% win rate at the Paul Ricard Circuit and seven drivers are yet to complete a racing lap of the track in F1. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s history at the Paul Ricard track!
🇬🇧 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton’s first visit to Circuit Paul Ricard went swimmingly, with him taking pole position and the victory. Hamilton is the only driver on the grid who finished last year’s French Grand Prix where he started it. When the French Grand Prix was held at Magny Cours, Hamilton qualified on the front row and finished third in 2007, while he qualified third in 2008 but finished only tenth.
🇫🇮 Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap of the Grand Prix last season, but finished only seventh after being spun by Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari on the first lap. He qualified on the front row, behind his team-mate.
🇩🇪 Sebastian Vettel
After qualifying third on the grid, Sebastian Vettel finished fifth in last year’s French Grand Prix following a controversial coming together with Valtteri Bottas. Vettel also contested in the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours in 2008 with Toro Rosso, where he qualified thirteenth and finished twelfth.
🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc competed in the French Grand Prix for the first time last year and scored a solitary point for Sauber. He reached the final part of qualifying for the first time in his career, beating his team-mate and lining up eighth on the grid.
🇳🇱 Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen finished as runner-up last season at Paul Ricard, gaining two places in the Grand Prix from fourth on the grid.
🇫🇷 Pierre Gasly
On his first appearance at his home Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly reached the second part of qualifying, lining up fourteenth on the grid and beating his team-mate in qualifying. The Frenchman’s race didn’t go to plan – he was out on the first lap following a collision.
🇦🇺 Daniel Ricciardo
At Red Bull last season, Daniel Ricciardo failed to beat team-mate Max Verstappen in qualifying for the French Grand Prix. He qualified in fifth place and gained one position in the race to finish fourth.
🇩🇪 Nico Hulkenberg
After reaching Q2 and qualifying in twelfth place, Nico Hulkenberg climbed three places in the 2018 French Grand Prix, finishing ninth and picking up four points.
🇫🇷 Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean finished in eleventh place, one lap down on the leaders, at his first home Grand Prix last season. Grosjean failed to beat his team-mate in qualifying at Paul Ricard last year, but reached the final part of qualifying. He failed to set a lap time in Q3 following a crash and lined up tenth on the grid.
🇩🇰 Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen finished sixth in last year’s French Grand Prix, gaining three positions from his starting place of ninth.
🇪🇸 Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz out-qualified Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg at the 2018 French Grand Prix, qualifying in seventh place. He lost one position in the Grand Prix, picking up four points with an eighth place finish.
🇬🇧 Lando Norris
In F2 last year, Lando Norris failed to score in the Feature Race, finishing in sixteenth. He finished fifth in the Sprint Race.
🇲🇽 Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez failed to finish the 2018 French Grand Prix following an engine failure on his 27th lap. He failed to beat his team-mate in qualifying, lining up thirteenth on the grid and being eliminated in Q2.
🇨🇦 Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll retired from last year’s race at Paul Ricard with just five laps of the race remaining due to a tyre blow-out. The Canadian had been put on a one-stop strategy by the team, which he called “optimistic” and believed to have contributed to the failure. He qualified last on the grid for last year’s French Grand Prix.
🇫🇮 Kimi Raikkonen
Along with Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen is one of only two current F1 drivers to have led a lap at the Paul Ricard circuit. He led only one lap after starting from sixth on the grid last season and finished on the final step of the podium. The Finn has competed in more French Grands Prix than any other driver, having been present for eight events at Magny Cours between 2001 and 2008. During that time, Raikkonen won once in 2007 and took pole position in 2008. He finished on the podium at the track five times.
🇮🇹 Antonio Giovinazzi
Antonio Giovinazzi has no past F1 racing experience at the Paul Ricard Circuit, but has done plenty of Pirelli tyre testing at the track.
🇷🇺 Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Kvyat is yet to compete in a Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard track, but has done numerous test sessions here with Red Bull and Pirelli.
🇹🇭 Alexander Albon
Alexander Albon competed at the Paul Ricard circuit in F2 last season. He failed to finish in the Feature Race but fought back in the Sprint Race to finish seventh.
🇵🇱 Robert Kubica
This will be Robert Kubica’s first Grand Prix appearance at the Paul Ricard track. He previously competed in the French Grand Prix twice when it was held at Magny Cours, qualifying and finishing fourth in 2007 and finishing fifth in 2008 having qualified seventh.
🇬🇧 George Russell
George Russell competed at the track in Formula 3 in 2016. From the three races, he finished a best of third place in the first race. He returned to the track for F2 last year, where he won the Feature Race but could only finish seventeenth in the Sprint Race.
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.