What to expect in 2022 French Grand Prix Race?

Formula One returns to France for its 12th round of the 2022 season. Here is what you can expect at the 2022 French Grand Prix.

We are all set for the next round of the 2022 Formula one season. After a thrilling weekend in Austria, we are back at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castlette, near Marseille, for the French GP. 

Image Credits: F1.com

There are many things to expect and watch out for this weekend. From Leclerc title charge to Red Bull’s reprisal. Will Mercedes and Hamilton finally end their winless streak? Let’s look at some key factors this weekend.

The Track

Circuit Paul Ricard is a combination of low, medium and high-speed corners. It’s one of the smoothest tracks on the calendar. F1 drivers love the 290km/h right-hander at Signes and the 5g joyride of the following Beausset bend.

Image Credits: F1.com

This circuit is perfect for overtaking, so do expect a lot of overtakes this weekend. As we go, lights out, do expect some rocket starts and overtakes at turns 1 and 2. The current lap record was held by Sebastian Vettel (1:32.740) in 2019. It will be a 53-lap racing action.

Ferrari’s championship charge

Ferrari had an excellent start to the season and showed a strong pace. Then, somehow, Ferrari seemed to lose momentum, which led to Red Bull winning 6 races in a row. They started to appear off-pace.

However, the last couple of races has brought Ferrari back on track. Ferrari not only managed to show a strong pace but also won both British and Austrian GPs. Charles Leclerc won the Austrian GP, securing his third win of the season at the home of the bulls.

If Ferrari keeps their head cool and plans a good strategy, they definitely have the pace to win the 2022 French GP.

Image Credits: Moving Wheels

However, even if the Ferrari strategists keep it clean, the reliability issues are still there to haunt Leclerc and his ambitions to stand on the top spot of the podium at Le Castlette.

Ferrari has so far suffered 4 DNFs because of reliability issues, with Carlos Sainz’s retirement being the latest in the tally. Sainz was assured of a podium in Austria. However, his engine blew out while trying to overtake Max Verstappen down at turn 3 on lap 57.

Given that the reliability issues don’t trouble Ferrari, they are all set to challenge the Championship Leaders at the 2022 French GP.

Also, Carlos Sainz could probably take a grid penalty as he might have to take a new engine after the blowout in the last race. Ferrari has used all three allotted PU components of the Sainz car. Using any new will mean a gid penalty.

However, Ferrari hasn’t officially stated anything on this matter. Charles Leclerc has already taken a grid penalty back in Canada.

French Grand Prix Weather analysis

We have had a few weekends of relatively mixed conditions, most noticeably at Silverstone and Canada. However, after a dry weekend in Austria, F1 heads for another heated weekend for the 2022 French Grand Prix. The dry conditions pose their own challenges, though.

With tyre wear being a significant factor, the ones at the pit wall might have a hard time crafting the perfect strategy. Title leaders red bulls might have a hard time putting up against their rivals Ferrari, who seem to have better tyre management than the bulls. Title leader Max Verstappen has won the last French GP here at Paul Ricard.

Image Credits: GPFans.com

The hot conditions pose their own challenge for the drivers who will have to cope with the heat in their cockpits.

The conditions are expected to be hot and sunny throughout the weekend, with temperatures soaring as high as 34 degrees Celsius. There is no rain forecast, and humidity isn’t expected to be a factor.

Red Bull issues

Red Bull was the hot favourite to win the Austrian GP. However, after an early retirement of Perez following an accident with Russell, we saw Max Verstappen struggling hard to keep both the Ferraris behind it.

The RB18 tyres seemed to be degrading really fast in comparison to F1-75. Championship leader Max Verstappen pitted at lap 13, whereas Leclerc pitted almost twice the distance later on the same medium tyres.

Max seemed to be struggling a lot to manage the tyre wear. The main reason for this appears to be the weight of RB18. Verstappen had earlier pointed out that RB18 still seemed a little heavy than their Ferrari counterpart. Estimates suggest RB18 was almost 8kgs overweight than F1-75.

Overweight accompanied by hot and dry conditions contributed even more to the excessive tyre wear of RB18. As indicated by the weather analysis above, it’s going to be another heated weekend in terms of weather.

If red bull can sort out its overweight issues, it can probably go on to catch Ferrari, which arguably has the fastest car at the moment.

Is Mercedes back at the top?

The smooth track surface at Circuit Paul Ricard is expected to favour Mercedes. 

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has also warned to watch out for the Silver Arrows. Mercedes has indeed shown improvement from the start of the season. It seems they have sorted out their porpoising problem. 

Additionally, the warmer temperatures will benefit W13 typical tyre warm-up issues.

Image Credits: GPFans

Hamilton will be appearing in his 300th race at Le Castlette.

Hamilton has won three podiums in a row in the last three races this season. He is a two-time winner at Le Castlette. Hamilton will surely try his best to give a tough fight and will surely try to grab the opportunities to get the top spot at the podium.

Also, we can’t forget George Russell, who is having an outstanding first season with the Silver Arrows. Mr. Consistent did an exceptional damage control at the Red Bull ring, coming back from a collision at the start with Perez, which saw him receiving a 5=second time penalty.

At the moment, the Mercedes car doesn’t seem fast enough to fight Red Bull and Ferrari. However, Red bull’s tyre wears accompanied by Ferrari’s reliability issues could help Mercedes get another podium and probably even a win at Paul Ricard.

Final Preview

In Saturday qualifying, we can see Leclerc taking his 7th pole. Ferrari has been a beast in qualifying so far this season, taking 7 out of 11 poles. 

If red bull can solve its overweight issue, it can indeed challenge the Scuderia in qualifications which seem to have the fastest car at the moment.

Given the circuit layout, the weather and the pace, it seems that Ferrari has the upper hand. However, the field appears even when we consider Ferrari’s reliability problems. It won’t be a surprise to see another retirement in Ferrari’s next race.

With Sainz probably equipping new engine parts, thus taking grid penalty, Leclerc might become open and accessible prey for the bulls at Front.

The 53-lap racing action is expected to be uneventful as far as weather is concerned. However, do expect some exciting racing as Red Bull and Max Verstappen try to win their second French Grand Prix in a row. Also, watch out for Scuderia, who is closing the gap on their title rival red bull. With conditions being hot and dry, it might also favour Mercedes, who are yet to get their first win in their 2022 title run. Stay Tuned with The Sportsway for more updates.

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