After more than a decade in the wilderness, the French Grand Prix officially returns to the Formula 1 schedule this weekend and we are set for a thrilling contest at the Paul Ricard Circuit.
The French GP was scrapped following the 2008 race because of ongoing financial issues and the Paul Ricard Circuit itself has not been utilised by the category since Alain Prost saluted for the home fans in 1990.
French Grand Prix betting currently sees reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton tied on the top line with 2018 championship leader Sebastian Vettel at $2.60, from Valteri Bottas ($8) and Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo ($9).
Mercedes endured a tough weekend at the Canadian GP a fortnight ago and Hamilton was subsequently leapfrogged in driver standings by Vettel, who leads the field by a solitary point. Mercedes do continue to lead the Constructors championship, however and maintain a buffer of seventeen points over Ferrari.
The French Grand Prix looms as a terrific opportunity for Mercedes and Hamilton to re-assert their dominance on the competition, as they will move onto their second cycle of 2018 engines. That should ultimately provide the extra boost that eluded their chances in Montreal, while benefitting both Ferrari and Renault.
Ricciardo will take plenty of confidence into the French Grand Prix, particularly as he is one of the few drivers in the field with experience around the Paul Ricard.
The return to a circuit following two ‘high-risk, high-reward’ street races could play into the hands of several drivers towards the top of betting, though the likelihood of winds could allow the field’s more aggressive driver’s to find slip streaming and overtaking opportunities.
Fernando Alonso will jump back behind the wheel of his McLaren following an impressive win for Toyota in the Le Mans 24 hour earlier this week, but it would almost take a miracle for him to continue his winning form through the French GP as a $501 shot.
The McLarens have struggled to live up to pre-season hype and they won’t be given any favours on a French circuit that will almost certainly reward constructors with more efficient straight-line speed.
Tip: Lewis Hamilton to Win ($2.60)