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Why Gasly needs more of Leclerc's steel
France is the home of grand prix racing, though for much of the past decade it has contributed very few drivers to the Formula 1 grid. That's all changed now, with four drivers flying the flag on the current grid - but some of them have their work cut out to fulfil their potential, says Ben Edwards
French as a first language is far more abundant among current continental-born Formula 1 drivers than it was a few years ago. Pierre Gasly, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon sit at different levels on the F1 pyramid and make up a fifth of the grid, and all are intriguing competitors with varied ambitions for 2020 - when the season eventually gets underway.
Leclerc is a proud Monegasque yet his career began on a kart track in the south of France, and the support he generates from French fans at Paul Ricard implies he is their adopted son. He carries the greatest potential of the group with his exploits at Ferrari last year setting him up to be a potential title challenger this season.
OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season
The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...
The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score
The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull
Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.
After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again
Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes
OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot
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