Lewis Hamilton secured his 86th pole position as Mercedes took their sixth front row lock-out of the 2019 season. We take a look at all the stats and stories from Saturday at the French Grand Prix!
Q U A L I F Y I N G R E C A P
- Mercedes dominate qualifying, Hamilton beats Bottas by 0.286s
- Vettel starts only seventh
- Verstappen fourth, Gasly down in ninth
- Norris and Sainz record their best qualifying positions of the year as McLaren’s pace impresses
- Giovinazzi reaches Q3 for the second time in his career
- Russell out-qualifies Kubica despite missing two practice sessions
The Ultimate Pace
Lewis Hamilton couldn’t be stopped in Qualifying, setting the fastest sector time in all three parts of the track. Despite being only seventh fastest overall, Sebastian Vettel was the second fastest driver in Sector 2 during qualifying. The middle sector was a weak point for both Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen – Bottas was second fastest in Sectors 1 and 3, but only fourth fastest through the middle sector, while Verstappen was fifth fastest in the first and final sectors, but only ninth fastest in the middle sector.
Hamilton’s pole lap could have been 0.063 seconds quicker if he’d put all three of his best sectors into one lap. By adding each drivers’ best three sector times together, we can get an idea of who put a lap together when it mattered, and who failed to pull all three sectors into one fast lap. Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat, Robert Kubica and George Russell all achieved their best three sector times on their final qualifying lap. Kevin Magnussen was the furthest away from his best potential time. The lap times are compared in the table below:
|Quali Pos||Driver||Lap Time||Ultimate Pace||Difference||Ultimate Pace Pos|
The team-mate battles
Charles Leclerc beat his team-mate in qualifying for the second time this season, while Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and George Russell all maintained their impressive performances against their team-mates in 2019. Perhaps most eye-catching was Russell, who was half a second quicker than Robert Kubica, despite the Brit missing two practice sessions – the first a result of Nicholas Latifi taking his place in Free Practice 1, and the second due to him missing running in Free Practice 3 because of mechanical issues.
Largest gaps in each session:
Q1: Sergio Perez 0.762s faster than Lance Stroll
Q2: Max Verstappen 0.322s faster than Pierre Gasly
Q3: Charles Leclerc 0.834s faster than Sebastian Vettel
Gap between team-mates in last session where each driver set a time:
Looking at each driver’s ultimate pace also offers an interesting glimpse into who was fastest in each sector in each team. The results can be found in the table below. Interestingly, while Antonio Giovinazzi reached Q3, based on the Alfa Romeo drivers’ best sector times, Kimi Raikkonen was actually faster overall. This can be explained by Kimi Raikkonen not putting all of his best three sector times together when it mattered, and the fact that Giovinazzi’s time in Q3 was slower than his lap in Q2.
Find all the team-mate battle statistics for the 2019 season here!
While Mercedes were fastest in every sector, Ferrari were second fastest through all three sections of track. Red Bull could manage only fourth fastest of the teams overall, with the third fastest sectors being shared between McLaren (in Sectors 1 and 3) and Renault (in Sector 2). As in every race weekend so far this year, Williams were the slowest of the ten teams through all three sectors.
|GAP TO POLE|
About the above table: the ‘gap to ultimate pace’ column shows the gap between the team’s best three sector times added together and the overall best three sector times added together. The ‘gap to pole time’ column shows the gap between the team’s best three sector times added together and the lap time of the polesitter.
Improvements between 2018 and 2019
Every team was faster in qualifying at this year’s French Grand Prix than they were at the 2018 event. The Renault powered teams were most improved – McLaren over 3.5 seconds faster than they were last season, and Renault two seconds up on last year. Haas and Williams’ gains were minimal compared to the other teams. You can see the full data below:
All set for Sunday:
Will Lewis Hamilton take a second win in a row at the French Grand Prix, or could Valtteri Bottas close down the gap to his team-mate in the championship battle? What can Sebastian Vettel do from seventh on the grid? Red Bull’s race pace looked impressive on Friday – will it aid Max Verstappen to another podium finish? Will McLaren be able to convert their strong qualifying showing into a double points result? There are plenty of questions to be answered in the 2019 French Grand Prix!
In the Lucky and Unlucky Grid Positions:
LUCKY: Pole: Lewis Hamilton 4th: Max Verstappen 5th: Lando Norris 7th: Sebastian Vettel 16th: Romain Grosjean 17th: Lance Stroll
Pole: Lewis Hamilton
4th: Max Verstappen
5th: Lando Norris
7th: Sebastian Vettel
16th: Romain Grosjean
17th: Lance Stroll
UNLUCKY: 3rd: Charles Leclerc 10th: Antonio Giovinazzi 12th: Kimi Raikkonen 13th: Nico Hulkenberg 18th: Robert Kubica 20th: Daniil Kvyat
3rd: Charles Leclerc
10th: Antonio Giovinazzi
12th: Kimi Raikkonen
13th: Nico Hulkenberg
18th: Robert Kubica
20th: Daniil Kvyat
Find out what makes each grid position lucky or unlucky here!
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.