While Mercedes and Ferrari have won the last two French Grands Prix, McLaren and Ferrari have never missed a race at the track. Here’s everything you need to know about each team’s history at Circuit Paul Ricard!
WINS: 2, POLES: 2, PODIUMS: 3
2019 RESULT: HAMILTON 1st, BOTTAS 2nd
Mercedes have won the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard in both years since it rejoined the calendar. 2018 was the first time that Mercedes took part in the French Grand Prix since 1954, and the first time they had competed at Circuit Paul Ricard. They have won every French Grand Prix that they have entered. Lewis Hamilton has won in both 2018 and 2019. Valtteri Bottas could only manage seventh in 2018 as a result of being spun on the first lap by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but finished second in 2019, marking the team’s first 1-2 at the track.
Mercedes have locked-out the front row in qualifying on both visits to the French Grand Prix since 2018, with Hamilton taking pole on both occasions.
Max Verstappen gave the Red Bull team a podium finish on their first visit to the Paul Ricard track in 2018, finishing as runner-up to Lewis Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo backed up the result with a fourth place finish. Both drivers finished in the top ten again in 2019, but Verstappen did not score a podium, finishing fourth, and Pierre Gasly finished only tenth.
Both Red Bulls reached the final part of qualifying here on both visits so far. Max Verstappen has qualified on the second row in fourth place in both 2018 and 2019. 2018 is the only year that both Red Bull drivers qualified in the top five, with Pierre Gasly qualifying only ninth in 2019.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 1
2019 RESULT: VERSTAPPEN 4th, GASLY 10th
WINS: 3, POLES: 3, PODIUMS: 10
2019 RESULT: SAINZ 6th, NORRIS 9th
McLaren are the only team other than Ferrari to have been present at every F1 race at Paul Ricard. They’ve won the French Grand Prix at this track three times, including with a 1-2 finish in 1988. 2018 ended a streak of six visits where the team had finished on the podium here, while the team returned to points-scoring ways in 2019, with Carlos Sainz finishing sixth and Lando Norris ninth. McLaren have recorded one double DNF at the track, in 1983. 2018 marked the first time the team have failed to score here since then, with Stoffel Vandoorne finishing 12th and Fernando Alonso retiring from the race.
McLaren have taken pole three times at this circuit, including two front-row lock-outs in 1988 and 1989. 2018 marked their worst qualifying attempt at the circuit, with Alonso qualifying 16th and Vandoorne 18th. Both cars were eliminated in the first part of qualifying, with it being only the third race at the track where neither McLaren had qualified in the top ten. Things were much better in 2019, with both McLarens qualifying in the top six. Norris qualified fifth, while Sainz was one spot behind.
The Silverstone-based team are yet to score at the French Grand Prix since its comeback to the calendar. The former Racing Point team recorded a double DNF in 2018, as Esteban Ocon was eliminated after a first lap collision and Sergio Perez retired with engine troubles. Both drivers reached the end of the race in 2019, but neither scored, with Perez finishing twelfth and Lance Stroll thirteenth.
The team are yet to reach Q3 at Circuit Paul Ricard, with their best qualifying result being Ocon’s eleventh place in 2018. Lance Stroll’s Q1 exit in 2019 was the team’s first Q1 elimination at the circuit.
2019 RESULT: PEREZ 12th, STROLL 13th
2019 RESULT: HULKENBERG 8th, RICCIARDO 11th
2018 marked Renault’s first appearance at Paul Ricard since 1985, having missed the previous five races at the track. The French manufacturer picked up points in both 2018 and 2019. Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg scored in 2018, finishing eighth and ninth respectively, while Hulkenberg scored again in 2019, finishing in ninth. Daniel Ricciardo had finished seventh but picked up post-race penalties which dropped him out of the points. The original Renault team previously performed well at their home track, with a 1-2 finish courtesy of French drivers Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost in 1982, and another win for Prost in the following season, in which team-mate Eddie Cheever also joined him on the podium.
In the last two races at the circuit, one Renault driver has reached Q3 and one has been eliminated in Q2 in qualifying for the French Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz qualified seventh in 2018, while Daniel Ricciardo qualified eighth in 2019. Renault previously locked-out the front row here in both 1982 and 1983, and Nico Hulkenberg’s 12th and 13th places in 2018 and 2019 are only the second and third times a Renault driver has qualified outside the top ten at the track, the other time being Jean-Pierre Jabouille who qualified 11th in 1978.
In terms of the Enstone team’s history, the team appeared here as Toleman and Benetton in the 1980s. There were no races at the track in which both of the team’s cars reached the chequered flag. Nelson Piquet recorded the Benetton team’s best result at the track with fourth place. Under their Benetton guise, the team qualified with both cars in the top ten on four occasions – most recently in 1990. Alessandro Nannini recorded the team’s best qualifying result here with fourth place in 1989.
Ferrari are one of only two teams to have been present at every F1 race so far at the Circuit Paul Ricard. They’ve finished on the podium in all of the last five races at the track, with Kimi Raikkonen taking third place for the team on the track’s return to the calendar in 2018 and Charles Leclerc finishing third in 2019. From their sixteen appearances here, Ferrari have won only twice – with Niki Lauda in 1975 and with Alain Prost in 1990. Before 2018, 1982 and 1988 were the only seasons in which both Ferraris finished in the points at this track. There have been three occasions – 1971, 1976 and 1987 – in which the Scuderia have recorded a double DNF here.
Ferrari have taken two poles in Le Castellet. Niki Lauda set the fastest qualifying time in 1975, as did Nigel Mansell in 1990. Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda’s second qualifying places in 1971 and 1976 respectively are the only other times a Ferrari has qualified on the front row. Both of Ferrari’s cars have qualified in the top ten in all of F1’s last seven visits to the track. Since its return, both Ferrari drivers have reached Q3 at the track, with one car qualifying third on both occasions.
WINS: 2, POLES: 2, PODIUMS: 7
2019 RESULT: LECLERC 3rd, VETTEL 5th
2019 RESULT: KVYAT 14th, ALBON 15th
The former Toro Rosso team are yet to score at Circuit Paul Ricard. 2019 marked the first time that both cars have reached the end of the race, with Pierre Gasly having retired on the first lap in 2018. The team are also yet to reach Q3 here, with a best qualifying result of eleventh for Alexander Albon. Gasly’s fourteenth place on the grid in 2018 is the only other time that a Toro Rosso driver has not been eliminated in Q1 at the track.
The former Sauber team have scored on both visits to Circuit Paul Ricard so far. Charles Leclerc finished tenth for Sauber in 2018, while Kimi Raikkonen brought his Alfa Romeo home in seventh place in 2019. It was the first time that the Alfa Romeo name has scored here. In their appearances as a works team in the 1980s, the Italian marque never scored a point at this circuit.
One of the team’s cars has progressed to Q3 in each of the last two races at Circuit Paul Ricard, while one has been eliminated in Q2 both times. Charles Leclerc has recorded the team’s best qualifying showing so far with eighth in 2018.
2019 RESULT: RAIKKONEN 7th, GIOVINAZZI 16th
2019 RESULT: MAGNUSSEN 17th, GROSJEAN DNF
In their two visits to Circuit Paul Ricard, Haas have scored once, with Kevin Magnussen finishing sixth in 2018. Frenchman Romain Grosjean failed to score at his home event on either of his appearances with Haas, finishing eleventh in 2018 and recording the team’s first retirement at the track in 2019.
Both Haas drivers reached Q3 in 2018,with Magnussen scoring their best qualifying result of ninth. 2019 was less successful, with Magnussen out in Q2 and Grosean recording Haas’ first Q1 exit at the Paul Ricard track.
Williams have won here three times in the past, including a 1-2 finish in 1987, but have failed to score a point since the track returned to the calendar in 2018. The last two races are only the second and third times neither Williams car has scored on all of their appearances here, the other being in 1988 when the team recorded a double DNF. The team have suffered a retirement with at least one car in four of the last five races here; the 2019 race being the first time both cars reached the end of the race since their 1-2 results in 1987.
Williams have previously taken pole at the Paul Ricard track twice, with Keke Rosberg in 1985 and with Nigel Mansell two years later. 2018 marked the first time in seven races at the track where neither Williams driver qualified in the top ten. Their cars have qualified on the back row in both of the last two visits here.
WINS: 3, POLES: 2, PODIUMS: 7
2019 RESULT: KUBICA 18th, RUSSELL 19th
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. Now in its sixth 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 Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.