Mercedes scored their 50th 1-2 finish, Lewis Hamilton made his 200th appearance in the points and McLaren had a weekend to remember. Here are all the facts and statistics from the 2019 French Grand Prix weekend!
ANOTHER MERCEDES WEEKEND
Lewis Hamilton won for the 79th time in his career at the French Grand Prix. It was his second victory at Circuit Paul Ricard, making him only the third driver, after Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost, to take multiple wins at the track.
Mercedes secured their 95th win and their tenth consecutive victory, equalling their own personal best streak. They’d previously taken ten consecutive wins between the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix and the 2016 Russian Grand Prix, and between the 2016 Monaco and Singapore Grands Prix. They’ll have the chance to equal McLaren’s record of eleven back-to-back wins at the Austrian Grand Prix.
On Saturday, Lewis Hamilton took pole position. It was his 86th pole position and his third pole of the season so far. It was his second consecutive pole position at Circuit Paul Ricard, making him only the third driver to take back-to-back pole positions on consecutive visits to Circuit Paul Ricard, after Jackie Stewart (in 1971 and 1973) and Alain Prost (in 1988 and 1989).
Lewis Hamilton’s pole saw Mercedes secure their 107th start from the front, equalling Lotus’ tally of pole positions and putting them equal for fourth in the all time list. Impressively, Mercedes have taken pole in almost 55% of the races which they’ve entered! After equalling Lotus, they need 21 more poles to equal Williams for third in the all-time list
Lewis Hamilton became the tenth polestiter to win at the track. It’s the second consecutive year in which Hamilton has taken pole and won at the circuit, a feat which Alain Prost is the only other driver to achieve. It was his 142nd podium finish. Lewis Hamilton’s win means British drivers have had six wins at the circuit, which is a new outright record for a nation. Britain was previously tied with France on five wins apiece.
Sunday marked the 200th time that Lewis Hamilton has finished in the points in his career. Having made 237 starts, that means he’s scored points on almost 85% of his appearances.
2019 marks the sixth time a team have scored a 1-2 finish at Circuit Paul Ricard. It was also Mercedes’ 50th 1-2 finish in Formula 1.
Lewis Hamilton now leads the Drivers’ Championship by 36 points – the largest lead ever held after a race at Circuit Paul Ricard, beating the previous record of a 29-point lead for Niki Lauda in 1976. It’s also the largest lead a Constructor has had after a race at this track, and by a large margin. Mercedes lead by 140 points – surpassing the previous 59-point lead for McLaren in 1988.
ON THE PODIUM
Valtteri Bottas finished on the podium for the 37th time in his career. As a result, he overtakes Graham Hill’s tally of career podiums and equals Riccardo Patrese. It’s the third time a Finnish driver has finished on the podium at this circuit, and Bottas is the first Finn to finish as runner-up here since Keke Rosberg in 1985.
The top three finished in the order in which they started for only the second time at Circuit Paul Ricard, the other time being in 1982. With Max Verstappen also finishing where he started in fourth place, this is the first time all of the top four on the grid have maintained their order at the track.
With third place, Charles Leclerc scored his third podium finish in F1 and with him having also finished in the top three in Canada, this marks the first time in his career that the Monegasque driver has scored consecutive podium finishes He joins a club of nine other drivers to have taken three top three finishes in their careers. The list includes Mark Blundell, Alexander Wurz and Timo Glock. With Leclerc’s podium, Ferrari equal Williams on seven podium finishes at Circuit Paul Ricard.
For the seventh time in eight races, the track record was beaten in qualifying. Lewis Hamilton’s 2019 pole time was 1.710 seconds faster than his 2018 pole lap.
In 2018, both McLaren drivers were eliminated in Q1 at the French Grand Prix. In 2019, both reached the top ten shootout and qualified in the top six. Lando Norris’ fifth position marked the team’s best qualifying showing since Jenson Button qualified in the same position for the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix – though Button started third on the grid for that race due to penalties for other drivers. This weekend marked the first time both McLarens have appeared in the top six on the grid since the 2014 Italian Grand Prix.
While both McLaren drivers recorded their best qualifying results of the season so far, Sebastian Vettel, Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat each recorded their worst performances of 2019.
Daniil Kvyat recorded his first Q1 elimination since his return to the sport. His last was at the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix. He didn’t have much to fight for though – a penalty for new engine parts saw him guaranteed to start from the back of the grid.
After reaching Q3 for the second time in his career, Antonio Giovinazzi became the first Italian to start within the top ten since Vitantonio Luizzi at the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap of the French Grand Prix. It’s the 37th time he’s done so in his career, and it’s the first time he’s taken the fastest lap since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. With the fastest lap, Vettel also set a new Lap Record. It was 1.485 seconds faster than last year’s fastest lap. Vettel, Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas and Verstappen all set lap times faster than the previous record during the Grand Prix.
The 2019 French Grand Prix was the shortest race to be held at Circuit Paul Ricard, clocking in at seven minutes and 15.068 seconds shorter than the previous shortest race here in 1985.
Romain Grosjean was the only retirement from the 2019 French Grand Prix. It was his fourth non-finish of the year, making him the driver with the most failures to finish so far this season.
The 2019 French Grand Prix saw a new record for the highest finish rate at Circuit Paul Ricard. 95% of the cars which entered the race finished, bettering last year’s finish rate of 85%. With nineteen cars finishing, the event also saw a new record of most cars to cross the line – beating the previous record of eighteen, which happened in 1975, 1976 and 1978.
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclec, Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Kimi Raikkonen are the seven drivers who have scored on both appearances at Circuit Paul Ricard so far.
Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg have each gained the same number of positions in both of their races so far at Circuit Paul Ricard. Both gained three places from their grid positions in 2018, while both made up five positions in 2019.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. 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 Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.