Circuit Paul Ricard plays host to the 87th French Grand Prix on Sunday night as championship favourite Lewis Hamilton looks to claim his sixth win of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
After a ten-year hiatus before returning last year, the French Grand Prix is easily one of the most anticipated racing events on the calendar. Paul Ricard, one of the seasons longest tracks, is a speed demons’ playground that should suit both Mercedes and Ferrari nicely.
Best Bet: Lewis Hamilton @ $1.80
Since there’s very little form to go on ahead of Sunday’s race, you might be best served to try and compare Circuit Paul Ricard to similar tracks on the F1 calendar.
Barcelona comes to mind, another track well known for its long straights but also, it’s downforce requirements. Lewis Hamilton was successful at Barcelona back in May and after a dominant season, he’s been installed as the rightful favourite this weekend.
Last year’s French Grand Prix was also won by Hamilton in front of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari’s engine upgrades should keep them competitive on Sunday, but they’ll only stand a chance if they make it through unscathed – something Vettel failed to do on the opening lap last year.
Either way you look at this, Mercedes looks to be worth your money. Bottas could potentially throw a spanner in the works as he’s so far claimed poll three times, but still, all signs point towards another strong Hamilton victory.
Podium Finish: Max Verstappen @ $2.90
As previously mentioned, chaos ensued on the opening last year thrusting Max Verstappen into second – a spot he held on to for the entirety of the 87-lap race.
The speed over the opening sector in France always makes things interesting in the early goings, which could easily shuffle a few wildcards towards the front of the pack.
Of course, you can’t go as far as calling Verstappen a roughie. The Belgium superstar owns a pair of podium finishes this year, and with things looking a little more encouraging at Red Bull recently, Verstappen could find himself top three in France yet again.
Fastest Lap: Pierre Gasly @ $3.75
It’s a home Grand Prix for Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who previously set the fastest lap in China and Monaco earlier this season.
Gasly is one of few modern-day drivers familiar with Paul Ricard after winning in F4 back 2011. He’s successfully finished inside the top ten in his last three races and looks a worthwhile favourite to set the pace on Sunday.